Hockey tightens defense for Bison

Noah Schmelzer

With a quality opponent coming to town, Cyclone Hockey is hoping the phrase “what a difference a week makes” proves true once again.

Five days after being swept at No. 9 Lindenwood, the Cyclones are planning on showing North Dakota State just how much progress can be made in the short amount of time.

After giving up 14 goals in two games against Lindenwood last weekend, coach Al Murdoch put extra emphasis on some weak points in the defense this week at practice.

Tightening up in transition and working on eliminating second shot opportunities are considered keys to improving on the overall performance for this weekend, Murdoch said.

“Scoring is fun to watch,” Murdoch said. “We had seven goals last Saturday. But defense wins championships.”

The MDSU Bison come to town playing the part of underdog against the twelfth-ranked Cyclones, in what could be taken by as a potential letdown game for the Cyclones (2-4). Landing between two weekends of away games against ranked conference opponents, it would be easy for the Cyclones to get caught looking ahead to bigger matchups.

Senior defenseman Jeremy Stegall doesn’t think that will be the case for Iowa State.

“You don’t want to take anybody too lightly,” Stegall said. “That’s not a good way to go into a weekend, we’ve got to take it seriously. They’re going to come out guns blazing and coming for the win. We need to have the same attitude.”

Murdoch shares the sentiment of his senior defenseman and feels you have to respect any opponent that comes to town and cites the impressive pedigree North Dakota State has had in the past.

“We’ve had a good rivalry with North Dakota State for a good 20-plus years,” Murdoch said. “They have an excellent tradition. They’ve had some coaching changes in the last couple years, which makes them a bit vulnerable, and they haven’t played as many games as us.”

The team is hoping they can take advantage of the extra playing time they have logged this year. So, early in the season, that edge could be an important factor for a Cyclone Hockey win.

“I think we’ll have an edge in conditioning and experience but, at the same time, they’ll bring a good team to town,” Murdoch said.

The games will be held at the Ames/ISU Ice Arena at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.