Cyclone Hockey faces difficult schedule with experienced players


Junior forward Mark Huber fends off a member of the Arizona Sun Devils. The Cyclones lost 3-4 in overtime to second ranked ASU on Oct. 5, 2012.

Will Musgrove

Since their overtime loss to Ohio in the American Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs last year, the Cyclones have been itching to get their sticks back on the ice.

The Cyclones will get their chance to lace up their skates soon, though, as they play the team’s season opener Friday against Waldorf College. This game will be the start of a long season that is sure to have its ups and downs. But ISU coach Al Murdoch, who enters his 45th year as a coach, is optimistic the team will find success this season.

“We feel pretty good about where we are at,” Murdoch said. “The team is looking great. The team is looking super.”

Waldorf might seem like a warm-up compared to some of the stiff competition that the Cyclones will play this year. The schedule is filled with many top teams within the ACHA, such as Minot State and Lindenwood, making it one of the toughest in the league.

Moreover, the Cyclones will also play more games this season due to the addition of extra exhibition games.

A new but familiar face will be leading the Cyclones on the ice, with Mark Huber, senior in management and last year’s assistant captain, being promoted to team captain in the off-season.

Huber believes unselfish play and team chemistry are the key factors to having a successful season.

“Nobody is really selfish. Everyone is here to win; everyone is here to do it together,” Huber said. “Either you are on the train, or you are off the train.”

Luckily for Huber, team chemistry shouldn’t be hard to come by, as one resource the Cyclones have is an abundance of experience together. Twenty-one players from last year’s team will be returning, helping to build a more mature team on the ice.

However, there are still some holes to fill in the lineup. Six significant players graduated last season, including last year’s team captain, Brandon Clark, now an assistant coach for the team. Filling these players’ shoes might be difficult to do for the Cyclones.

“Will they be missed, oh you bet,” Murdoch said. “Six rookies can’t come anywhere near replacing them, but I think we have had a pretty good recruitment year. I think we have ten or twelve rookies that will be fighting to fill those six spots.”

Clark thinks that with time these rookies will develop.

“I want us to get better as the season progresses,” Clark said. “I want to see guys get better from day to day.”