Cyclones gearing up for CSCHL playoffs

Several Cyclone Hockey players watch as the team plays in the ACHA National Tournament on March 27. Iowa State fell in the championship game.

Nash Vanbibber

After a successful regular season of play, No. 19 Cyclone Hockey moves onto the CSCHL playoffs, beginning Friday.

The playoffs are hosted at the University of Illinois and are held March 6-9. The Cyclones still play in the CSCHL playoffs after not getting a spot for the National Championship tournament which will be hosted in Dallas, Texas, on March 19-24.

This is the first time the Cyclones have missed the National Championship tournament under Head Coach Jason Fairman who started as an assistant coach in the 2013-2014 season, then was promoted to interim coach in 2013.

The Cyclones ended their regular season with a record of 20-15-3, this is an improvement from the 2018-2019 season which the Cyclones ended at 17-11-3.

The Cyclones will face Robert Morris University on Friday at 7 p.m. and No. 3 Lindenwood on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. if the Cyclones get the win to advance to the second round.

Assistant Head Coach Brian Gibbons is looking forward to his first CSCHL playoffs. The team’s preparations include staying mentally prepared and knowing what to expect.

“We don’t need to work on anything this week, I think our guys have done a good job this week preparing for this weekend,” Gibbons said.

Cyclone Hockey has beaten Robert Morris in every meeting, back in December the Cyclones only won by one goal in each meeting.

“Robert Morris is a good team, they’re out of the National Title race as well and they’re going to play for something as well. It is tough to beat a team three times in a row, we are prepared for that challenge and I think on Friday we will be just fine,” Gibbons said.

The Cyclones have swept Robert Morris twice in the regular season. Last time the Cyclones faced the Eagles, the Cyclones won in a shoot-out with a final score of 2-1.

The culture of Cyclone Hockey has been to hold players accountable, according to Gibbons. The Cyclones fought for their lives and their season last weekend against No. 20 Oklahoma, tensions rose as the team who won the weekend were sent to the CSCHL playoffs.

The offense has seemed to find its stride, as they scored three goals in the first meeting between Oklahoma and a 4-0 shutout the next night.

Gibbons is in his first year as an assistant coach for the Cyclone Hockey team. Gibbons has a lot to look forward to and offers some new perspectives that the team has not had in some time.

“Playoff hockey is like Christmas,” Gibbons said.

Gibbons is looking forward to the playoff atmosphere and the opportunity to win a CSCHL playoff title.

Junior forward Dylan Goggin has his mind focused on bringing back a trophy and a banner to hang up back in the Ames.

Goggin said he wants the team to know the importance of the CSCHL playoffs and play like a top team in the country. Goggin is trying to keep the guys in check on and off the ice and staying focused.

Goggin is excited to get to Illinois and get onto the ice and face Robert Morris, understanding the Cyclones have to set the tone for the weekend. Cyclone Hockey has to start and play extra versus the extra teams in conference play. Goggin said he wants to get his feet moving right away and to set himself up for the rest of the weekend.

If given the chance to make it to the second round to face Lindenwood, Goggin believes it will be nothing less than an exciting match.

“We have proven that we can play at their level, it is exciting for the guys if we can beat the No. 3 team in the country and bring a trophy home,” Goggin said.

Goggin has been telling the team to enjoy the moment, treat this weekend like every other game, try not to look past Friday’s matchup between Robert Morris and focusing on the task at hand: winning the CSCHL trophy.

Goggin said the team has had many improvements towards the end of the season. Goggin believes the team is skating with confidence, puck movement has been improving in practices and in games.

“I think we are ascending in the right direction,” Goggin said.

Goggin is disappointed that the team has been eliminated from National Championship competition but is excited with all the young talent that has developed throughout the year. Goggin and the team are treating the CSCHL like it’s a national title. The CSCHL is a renowned tournament in the country and is treated to a high standard.

“It would still mean something if we brought back the title, it would be a nice consolation if we won. We are playing with a chip on our shoulder,” Goggin said.