Hockey scrimmage to establish roster

Noah Schmelzer

Shortly after 7:30 p.m. Friday, the Ames/ISU Ice Arena will become the final proving ground for dozens of hockey hopefuls trying to become part of Cyclone Hockey.

The annual intersquad scrimmage caps off a week of tryouts intended to whittle down the number of applicants to the final roster of 26 – 21 of which are allowed to dress for each game.

This year the intersquad game will pit the returning players from last year’s club team against the class of rookies. Coach Al Murdoch feels this recruiting class is rife with talent and intends to spend his time on the bench of the rookies throughout the scrimmage.

“The 46 guys know we’re cutting to 26,” Murdoch said. “So it wouldn’t surprise me if it gets pretty physical, if it gets pretty rugged. I don’t know if there will be any fights, but it’s going to be physical. They’ll really be competing hard.”

Replacing players will be the key to this year’s club team. After winning last year’s conference tournament championship, the players have no intention of giving up the title. The first obstacle facing them is filling the holes left by the six seniors, including Central States Collegiate Hockey League Tournament MVP and starting goaltender Trent Baker.

“You just reload, reload with as good if not better players, and I know we’ve got them.” Murdoch said.

While the coaches use the intersquad game as a tool for selecting the players they need to succeed, the veterans seem to view it a bit differently.

“Bragging rights is what it’s about,” said senior forward Jeremy Stegall. “The coaches have a steak-and-beans deal going with us: steak for the winners, a can of beans for the losers. Last year I got beans, hopefully not again.

“Besides the bragging rights, it’s just a great opportunity for the new guys to see what’s going to be expected from them if they make the team. It shows them the level of play that will be needed to compete.”

The event will feature NCAA officials and be treated like any other game on the official schedule.