Cyclone Hockey to see what the team’s true identity is on long road trip

Will Musgrove

This Thursday, when most ISU students are getting ready for Fall Break, Iowa State will be departing on a six-day road trip to face two ranked teams in the American Collegiate Hockey Association.

The No. 8 Cyclone Hockey team (16-3-1, 6-2 CSCHL) will leave Thursday morning to travel to No. 12 Arizona (10-8-0) on Friday and Saturday and No. 1 Arizona State (19-0-0) on Monday and Tuesday.  

ISU assistant coach Brandon Clark believes four games against ranked opponents will test the team’s character.

“I think the biggest thing is we go in there and play with discipline,” Clark said. “I would like to see what the team’s identity is and what kind of team we really are. I think this trip will be a huge test.”

The first part of this test is Arizona, which has been climbing the American Collegiate Hockey Association ranks after recently beating Minot State and Central Oklahoma.  

Then it’s off to Arizona State, which features some of the top players in the ACHA, including goalie Robert Levin and forward Kale Dolinski.

Levin leads the ACHA in save percentage with .96 and has the best goals against average with 1.03. Donlinski is Arizona State’s most potent offensive threat. He is second in points (38) and first in assists (27) in the ACHA.

ISU forward Nate Percy said Iowa State might not be on the same talent level as some of the players they will face this weekend, but good systems by the Cyclones will even the field.

Percy also said that the Cyclones can’t let frustration get to them if they perform poorly at times throughout the trip.

“We need to keep every game positive,” Percy said. “If we lose a game we can’t let it affect us the next night. We just need to keep trying to win.”

To avoid this frustration, Percy said Iowa State needs to score more goals this weekend to ease the pressure on goalie Matt Cooper.

After sweeping No. 2 Minot State last weekend, forward Alex Stephens hopes that this road trip to Arizona will show the Cyclones true identity is No. 1 in the ACHA.

“We just swept the No. 2 team in the nation,” Stephens said. “So we are on a little high right now, and that’s going to help us out. But it’s the little things that are really going to help us win in Arizona. And if we get a couple more statement wins, we can show to the league we are here to do some damage this year.”