ISU’s winning streak `on ice’

Gabe Davis

The ISU Hockey club suffered its first loss of the season this weekend at the Ames Ice Arena against hard-hitting Minot State.

Both teams have been preseason ranked in the top five, but Minot State swept the series.

“They’re definitely a national contender,” ISU head coach Al Murdoch said about Minot State. “I thought we adjusted to them [Friday] night pretty well. It took awhile for us to get into the swing of play on Friday night, but I thought we played really well.”

Minot State swept the Cyclones with a 6-3 victory on Friday and an 8-4 win on Saturday.

The losses dropped Iowa State’s overall record to 7-2-1.

“It’s one of those bittersweet things where you hate to lose one game, let alone two, but I think that our team is one that can adjust to it,” Murdoch said. “I think midterm week is upon us and our team does have a tendency to play a little bit flat maybe, midterm week. Hopefully we can pop out of this for the Illinois series because that will be a huge series.”

The Cyclones got off to a slow start on Friday night, and spent the rest of the night trying to catch up, Murdoch said.

“They lead us 3-0 at the end of the first period, and then 5-1 at the end of the second. Then we grabbed two quick goals to make it 5-3, and it was anybody’s games at that point in time and they got a goal to make it 6-3,” Murdoch said. “Friday was actually a closer game than the score indicated.”

The Cyclones came out with a new zeal on Saturday night and played Minot State straight up for two periods.

“The first period, both teams scored three goals. Minot scored first, then, Iowa State came back strong with three consecutive goals. Then Minot State took over again and finished out the period with two more goals,” Murdoch said.

The second period produced another goal by each team, and with one period remaining, the score was tied 4-4. Then in the last period, Minot State scored four unanswered goals to close the game out 8-4.

“Tonight, I thought we had an edge in the first and second period, but just couldn’t quite put them away,” Murdoch said. “We led them at one point in time 3 to 1 and I thought, all right, we’re rolling now. But they’re a good team, they’re a strong team.”

The rivalry is long from over. Iowa State will play Minot state at its home in January, and they will probably ultimately end up facing each other in the finals as well, Murdoch said.

“My Iowa State teams in the past have tended to play almost better on the road than at home. So our guys are already looking forward to that series,” he said. “They’ve got kind of a grudge match; they’ve got to even the match here before we go to nationals.”

Although they were disappointed with the losses, the Cyclones are already looking ahead to this upcoming weekend and hoping to get back on the right foot, Murdoch said.

The Cyclones are next in action Friday night when they host Illinois.

The two teams will meet each other again on Saturday.