HOCKEY: Difficult schedule continues with showdown with conference foe

Sophomore forward Brian Rooney and the Cyclones play host to Robert Morris this weekend at the Ames/ISU Ice Arena. Photo: Rebekka Brown/Iowa State Daily

Rebekka Brown

Sophomore forward Brian Rooney and the Cyclones play host to Robert Morris this weekend at the Ames/ISU Ice Arena. Photo: Rebekka Brown/Iowa State Daily

Blake Schultz —

Iowa State has one of the toughest schedules in its conference, and this weekend the opponent will get no easier. The Cyclones will face off with conference foe Robert Morris on Friday and Saturday in Ames.

Due to strength of schedule, Iowa State is ranked second in the computer rankings, but fifth in the coaches’ rankings.

“The CSCHL is the best league in the ACHA, so if you don’t produce every night, you’re not going to get the win,” sophomore forward Brian Rooney said.

The Cyclones’ main goal this weekend is to win both games, but the wins will help the Cyclones immensely. Each game is worth four points toward moving up in the rankings, and if the Cyclones want to move up, they need these points.

“With those two loses against Kent State, it kind of knocked us down a bit,” Rooney said. “We really need to win both of these games so we can get those points.”

So far this season, Iowa State has been up and down in terms of its offense. The sweep versus Kent State could explain that perfectly.

“We need to start finishing around the net and on the other side, playing defense around the net without penalties,” coach Al Murdoch said.

Murdoch was impressed with the team’s improvement on penalties last Saturday. He liked that although the team had a couple of penalties, it was still able to win the game.

The play of goalie Eric Hudson was also key in the win. Both Hudson and Paul Karus will need to play well for the Cyclones to pick up a pair of wins this weekend.

“I’m coming into this week with a little more confidence,” said Hudson. “I worked hard all summer on my work ethic and pushing myself to be the best I can.”

Robert Morris comes into this weekend with a 5-7 record. Last season, the Cyclones swept Robert Morris, and through that sweep, Iowa State learned a couple things about them.

“They are a very scrappy team, and they like to play hard,” Rooney said. “We’ve seen a lot of weaknesses in some of their systems, though. Our shooters have great shots, and I know they’re goaltending can’t match our shots. If we put the puck on net like we have been, we shouldn’t have a problem.”

Throughout the season, Iowa State’s defense has been what has been keeping the team going. Murdoch stresses the importance of a good defense every week. Last Saturday, the Cyclone defense and goaltending played a great game, not allowing a goal until late in the third period on a power play.

“Our defensive guys are playing excellent in front of both me and the other goalies,” Hudson said. “The forwards have been right there with them as well.”

Moving along in the season, staying consistent will get more important each week. This weekend will be another chance for the Cyclones to prove what they are made of.

“We all know we are a good team, and we all know we can play,” Hudson said. We just need to prove we can be consistent.”