Cyclone Hockey has been able to win the winnable games as of late. The Cyclones swept Colorado State on its home ice last time out, and swept a solid Robert Morris squad this weekend.
They won 3-2 on Friday and 2-1 on Saturday, with Saturday’s game going all the way to sudden death.
That means four straight victories for the Cyclones, and a good feeling heading into the holiday break. They won these two games behind the offense of Ray Zimmerman and Dylan Goggin, as well as the goaltending of Nikita Kozak.
Zimmerman and Goggin produce
Ray Zimmerman was the hero on Friday night, scoring the Cyclone’s first two goals. Zimmerman has 10 goals on the season—which leads the team—and is tied for the points lead with the other weekend hero, Dylan Goggin, with 12 points each.
Zimmerman has been finding the back of the net all season long, but Goggin has six goals on the season, and half of them came within the span of two games. He had the game-winning-goal on both nights and tallied another one on Saturday.
Both players are juniors this year and have stepped up in the absence of all the scoring that departed after last season. If the team can continue to depend on these two skaters for offense, as well as Kozak on the defensive end of things, there’s hope for the Cyclones to find the success they had last season.
Home ice makes the difference once again
The Cyclones have a 7-4 record in Ames this season, and two of those losses came consecutively to Lindenwood. There’s a different level of comfort playing on the ice you practice on, but Iowa State has been able to use that comfort as an advantage.
The Cyclones alternate having a home series and an away series for the rest of the way, starting on the road at Alabama in early January. The Cyclones won’t be spending any extended time on the road, which should help them put together more wins and compete later in the year.
Two straight sweeps are an early Christmas present
The Cyclones did not have the start to the season that they hoped, but it may be the one they expected. After a trip to the championship game last year, they lost a lot of scoring. Almost half their team is freshmen, and Kozak was only in net for six games last year.
The continued success year-to-year is a product of good coaching and good culture. Head coach Jason Fairman knew that this team would not be nearly the same scorers as last, but that doesn’t mean the record has to reflect that. Four straight wins going into the long break shows that.
The Cyclones had a very tough schedule to start the season, facing teams like Lindenwood, Minot State and Jamestown in the first couple of months. The path wasn’t easy, but now they are benefiting from all those early challenges and look like a dangerous team in the potential postseason.
As stated, Iowa State is off for the holidays, and open the pivotal second half of the season on the road at Pelham Civic Complex in Alabama against the Crimson Tide.