ISU corrals Buffs

Gabe Davis

A strange feeling of d‚j… vu swept over the Cyclone hockey team Saturday night at the Ames Ice Arena as they beat Colorado with one second left on the clock.

Two weeks earlier the Cyclones battled out a tight 2-1 victory in overtime against the Buffaloes at their home in Boulder, Colo.

“Saturday night was a carbon copy of the two-game series at Boulder in that their goaltender got real hot in the second game, and even though we took around 46 shots on net, he saved them all except for four,” head coach Al Murdoch said.

On Nov. 16, the Cyclones started a four-day series in Colorado.

They played Nov. 16 and 17 night in Fort Collins, Colo. against Colorado State University, and then played Sunday and Monday at Boulder, Colo. against Colorado University.

After losing 6-5 on Nov. 16 against Colorado State, the Cyclones turned around and beat the Rams 3-2 on Nov. 17.

On Nov 18, the Cyclones faced off against the Buffaloes and beat them 8-2. The following day they pulled out the 2-1 victory in overtime after Mark Krueger scored the game-winning goal.

After the big road trip, the Cyclones came out Friday ready to play and pulled off a big 9-1 win over Colorado.

“Everybody had a little itch to play. We were a little fired up to be home again and came out and put some numbers up on the board,” Cyclone forward Nat Little said. “Everything was just going our way. We were just getting the bounces the whole game so, that worked out and it turned out to be a 9-1 game.”

However, just like their series at Boulder, on Saturday night the Cyclones got off to a slow start.

“Saturday night, we came out pretty flat, and of course they traveled all the way over here, and they didn’t want to go home with two loses,” Cyclone forward Jeremy Meyer said. “So they played really well, and they never gave up.”

With one second left in the final period and the goal tied 3-3, Meyer scored the winning goal.

Murdoch said that when it came down to it, he knew who to put in the game.

“Andrew Murdoch had already gotten a couple of goals. Jeremy Meyer had a goal, so I wanted to put my best goal-scorers on the ice for the last shift,” he said. “Andrew got a great shot from the point, the goal tender made a super save. The puck was laying there ,Jeremy Meyer poked it in with one second left on the clock. That was a huge come-from-behind victory.”

Meyer said the Cyclones were just slow to get into the game on Saturday after a big win the night before.

“Well, it’s just hard after you beat a team 9-1 to come back and come out flying. They came out really strong and kind of put us back on our heals and it just took us some time to get flying again,” he said. “We also had a couple key guys out. Tory [Larson] was out Saturday night and Rob [Rose] was out all weekend.”

Murdoch said home court advantage helped, but that there were many other variables that went into their wins.

“I think both teams were pretty rested. Maybe the Cyclones were a little more rested, and of course Colorado traveling that 12 hour bus ride here, they might have had bus legs the first night, but we won Friday night 9-1. We got real balanced scoring from four different lines, and Ryan Westbrock played real well in the nets,” he said.

The fact that all the lines are balanced is due to the work that coach Murdoch does behind the bench, Meyer said.

“He did a good job of moving guys around and putting them where they should be,” Meyer said. “And when the guys were moved around, they just went out and played hard; they didn’t worry about who they were playing with or what was going on.”

Last week the American Collegiate Hockey Association announced the national rankings, and the Cyclones came in at fourth in the nation. With the wins this past weekend, Iowa State’s record stands at 19-4-2.

“The team right now is kind of at a peak. I think everyone’s doing well,” Little said. “The younger guys are stepping up and playing a lot more and a lot better. As a whole, we’re still coming together and hopefully it keeps going.”

Murdoch said the team is coming together and is ready to take on the University of Wisconsin-White Water in the upcoming weekend series.

“We’re fairly healthy right now; we’re skating real well, and we’re getting very good goal tending,” he said. “The defense is stepping it up, playing good solid body. I’m pleased with where we’re at. I just have to convince the players they can take it up another level still.”