Hockey team swept

Jerod Bruner

The Cyclone men’s hockey team, a pre-season CSCHL favorite, didn’t get the start in conference play they’d hoped for as the Eastern Michigan Eagles swept them in a two-game weekend series.

The Cyclones dropped the first of the doubleheader, 5-2, and were edged out in Saturday’s contest, 2-1.

Friday evening’s game began with a bang as Cyclone sophomore Jeff Smith netted a slap shot only 34 seconds into the first period.

Unfortunately for the Cyclones, that would be the extent of the their scoring until a late goal by sophomore Mike Gilbertson in the third period.

“We can play a better game than we did,” Gilbertson said after Friday’s loss. “They were a smaller, more finesse team and we needed to play our type of game, and that includes being more physical.”

The Eagles were led by Dane Dresch’s two goals, while David Cairns, Mike Yor and Seth Lavender each added a single score. Sam Horton, a freshman for the Eagles, stopped 26 shots in the net for EMU.

“They came out ready to play and we just didn’t get enough shots on him,” sophomore forward Eric Tofte said. “And [their goalie] played real solid for them.”

“The deceiving thing with Eastern Michigan is they were a very solid team last season but didn’t have good goaltending,” head coach Al Murdoch said. “Now, they have a good goalie.”

Saturday night’s action saw a much closer battle, as sophomore Glenn Detulleo scored in the first period which ended in a 1-1 tie.

The score stayed tied until the Eagles scored on a power play goal in the third period, giving them the 2-1 margin of victory.

“We just had a defensive breakdown in the third period,” Murdoch said. “We out-shot them, pretty much outplayed them, but just couldn’t get the puck in the goal.”

Murdoch said he isn’t worried about the weekend losses because there is a lot of the season ahead and a lot of coaching left to do. He believes the team needs to finish off their plays, which usually comes with practice.

Murdoch also said the team’s defense is beginning to gel together and they are getting outstanding play out of all three of the Cyclone goalies.

“I felt we started to pull things together at the end of Friday night’s game, and Saturday’s game could have gone either way,” Murdoch said. “I was real pleased at how we bounced back on Saturday night.”

The Cyclone’s have two home exhibition games coming up this weekend against the Minnesota Steers, a Junior-A professional team.

“These will be age 20 and under guys,” Murdoch said. “Some are former teammates of some of the guys on our team that are from Minnesota.”

After this weekend, the next home stand won’t be until late October.