HOCKEY: Duo splits time in the crease

Cyclone Hockey goalie Jim Stenson. Photo: Logan Gaedke/Iowa State Daily

Logan Gaedke

Cyclone Hockey goalie Jim Stenson. Photo: Logan Gaedke/Iowa State Daily

Jordan Wickstrom

Cyclone Hockey is one month into the season and is 8-2 thanks in large part to the stellar play of sophomore goalies Erik Hudson and Jim Stenson.

Combined, the goalies have allowed 24 goals on the season, giving up an average of 2.4 goals per game.

The two say they have found success in large part because of how hard they work to make not only themselves better but each other, as well.

“Stenson has a lot of drive and will to play,” Hudson said. “He pushes me to be a better goalie. I also believe that both of us, working as a team, will continue to make each other better.”

Stenson had nothing but positive things to say about Hudson.

“He’s been good at winning close games,” Stenson said. “He’s able to step up against the power plays and get some saves when we needed them. He works hard in practice and uses his size to his advantage, and I believe some of those things are all good attributes.”

Despite the success, Stenson understands it’s still early in the season, and the team needs to focus on one thing — consistency.

“Our overall consistency needs to be better,” Stenson said. “We have to pick up where the team leaves off and be there for when the team breaks down. The bottom line is we have to put our team in a position to win.”

One recurring theme this season has been the youth with which the Cyclones have played, and the goalie position is no exception. Both Hudson and Stenson are sophomores.

“As long as they’re working hard, they do it,” goalies coach Scott Jobgen said. “Experience goes so far, but if you’re playing at the level that you know you can play at, it doesn’t matter if you’re a freshman, sophomore, junior or senior. These two are definitely leaders.”

This past off-season, the two goalies took different paths to improving both their play and leadership.

“Toward the end of last season, going into the playoffs, I started playing down to the level of the opponent, which affected me and the team’s morale,” Hudson said. “I started developing my mental game; I actually went and saw a sports psychologist. We talked about me being a team player and keeping my head in the game, no matter how good the other team is.”

Stenson, on the other hand, approached his off-season differently.

“I was on a pretty strict weight lifting [regimen]. I skated twice a week. Me and my brother would go down to the rink and work on some things,” Stenson said. “He would just fire some shots off at me. I’d work on breakaways, rebound control and seeing the puck.”

Hudson and Stenson said if the team wants to win the National Championship, they should play together.

“We have to win the big games,” Stenson said. “We have to be able to go into Illinois, for instance, and win on their ice.”

Hudson said the team showed flashes of that mentality last weekend.

“We have to be clicking on all cylinders,” Hudson said. “[The St. Louis series] was a prime example. Friday night we skated hard, buried shots and played solid defense. Saturday’s game, again we played a solid game, we buried shots and put them behind.

“It’s going to be consistency like that and hard work that’ll lead us to a National Championship.”