Cyclone hockey squad sweeps weekend set with Illini

Jerod Bruner

The past weekend was a big one for the Iowa State men’s hockey team-big shots, big hits, big scores and a big sweep over the University of Illinois.

In front of two sold-out crowds at the “Big Pond” in Champagne, the Cyclones won Friday evening’s game 8-4 and didn’t slow up on Saturday night, notching a 5-2 win.

Mike Anderson led the Cyclones on Friday night, scoring four goals as well as delivering some physical punishment to the Illini. One solid body check even left an Illinois forward unconscious.

After delivering a cross-ice pass, Anderson lowered his shoulder and skated right through the Illinois forward, leaving him motionless on the ice.

“I was glad to see that he was OK, but it’s hockey, and hits like that happen,” Anderson said. “I haven’t had too many games like Friday night’s game where, every time I shot the puck, it just seemed to go exactly where I wanted it to go.”

“Anderson was dominating this weekend. It was a big-league hit and it was clean,” Murdoch said. “There were no penalties on the play and it definitely got the team going.”

American Collegiate Hockey Association scoring leader Glenn Detulleo chipped in with one goal as did Brian Paolello, Jeremy Meyer and Andrew Murdoch. Freshman goalie Phil Popp garnered 24 saves in securing the 8-4 victory for the Cyclones.

“Our defense has really stepped up and Popp was a wall in front of the net for us,” Coach Murdoch said.

Saturday night’s action saw much of the same stingy defense as the Cyclones limited Illinois to only two goals on 25 shots.

Jeff Smith scored two goals in the first period and Detulleo notched a hat trick on Saturday night, giving him four goals over the weekend.

Saturday night’s win kept the Cyclones’ record against Illinois unblemished this season, marking the fifth time they’ve beaten the Fighting Illini.

“Very few teams win at Illinois,” Murdoch said, “so to go in and sweep them at their arena is a big confidence boost for our team.”

The Cyclones, ranked no. 5 in the ACHA, practically solidified an invitation to the ACHA national tournament by beating Illinois, ranked no. 11.

“We’ve fought and clawed our way up to that fifth spot,” Murdoch said. “Now, we just have to wait for the final rankings and the invitations to come out on Thursday.”

This weekend, the Cyclones face an improved Wisconsin-Whitewater squad at the Ames/ISU Ice Arena. The Cyclones swept the first series in Wisconsin.

“They will definitely be an improved team from when we saw them the first time,” said senior co-captain Paolello. “They are a little bigger and stronger than Illinois is, so we will have to be ready for a close series.”

The two wins over the weekend improved the Cyclones record to 20-10-1 in the ACHA and 8-6 in the Central States Collegiate Hockey League.