Zimmerman, defense ignite Cyclone Hockey to triumph over Missouri State


Several Cyclone Hockey players watch as the team plays in the ACHA National Tournament on March 27. Iowa State fell in the championship game.

Zach Martin

Ray Zimmerman gave Cyclone Hockey the lead late on. The defense kept it that way.

Zimmerman skated through the Missouri State zone uncontested and fired a wrister past its goalie Bailey Stephens to break a 2-2 tie. Then, down a man until 50 seconds left in the game, the defense kept the Ice Bears off the scoreboard.

It all added up to a thrilling 3-2 Iowa State triumph over Missouri State Friday night inside the Ames/ISU Ice Arena.

“It shows the character of the team we have here,” Zimmerman said. “We have a lot of grit and tenacity.”

The freshman from Highland Lakes, New Jersey was surprised he was left alone in the heart of the defensive zone. He saw an opening glove side and fired it for his third goal of the season. It’s his first game-winning goal since playing last year for the D2 squad.

“I did hesitate for a second there, I assumed someone was going to be right on me,” Zimmerman said. “I hit the crossbar earlier off the glove side, so I figured try to go back to it. I just took the shot. I had a lot more time and space than I originally thought I would.”

After calling just one penalty in the first two periods combined, three were called in the third, including a big one against the third-ranked Cyclones.

Andrew Lee, with 1 minute, 58 seconds remaining in regulation, was called for a two-minute minor holding near the boards. For the remainder of the third period, Iowa State was down a man.

Dylan Goggin expressed confidence in the unit that hasn’t allowed a goal this season.

“You got to battle through the adversity,” Goggin said. “We were feeling good about it. Having a veteran PK, very helpful. A lot of guys know what they’re doing, just comes down to execution.”

Missouri State registered one shot on the power play and with 50 seconds left, Josh Bell went to the penalty box and the rest of the contest was played four-on-four. The Cyclones didn’t allow the a shot in their defensive zone and celebrated their second straight game in which they scored the game-winning goal.

“We dominated from a possession standpoint, we dominated from a territorial standpoint,” head coach Jason Fairman said. “We’re going to win in both areas.”

Zimmerman believes this win can be a tone setter for the remainder of the season. Iowa State will play 14th-ranked Missouri State tonight at 7:30 to wrap the weekend series.

“Our second game last week was a little bit weaker than our first game,” Zimmerman said. “We have to string multiple good games in a row.”

Bryan Bandyk ended a stalemate of a first 20 minutes when he buried a rebound from Justin Paulson at the side of the net for his first goal of the season at the 10:10 mark of the first period. Stuart Pearson was also credited with an assist.

Goggin wasted little time to nab his third goal of the campaign, sneaking the puck past Stephens at the 1:03 mark of the second period to double the Iowa State advantage.

Missouri State, who averaged nearly four goals a game a season ago, refused to go down without a fight.

After cranking up the offensive pressure in the final four minutes of the first period, the Ice Bears persistence paid off in the second as Nikita Salnikov, Missouri State’s leading goal scorer from a season ago, cut the deficit in half with a goal at 7:10.

Missouri State couldn’t convert its first wrister of the final period. It had no problem putting away the second chance as Jordan Bratton went top shelf at the 7:48 mark to tie the game at two apiece.

It wasn’t enough against a veteran Cyclones defense.

“I’m pleased with the effort, I thought we had good poise,” Fairman said. “It was a big win, but all our games are like this, it’s the way we play.”