Cyclones win overtime thriller in Champaign against 12th ranked Ilinois

Freshman Stuart Pearson brings the puck up the ice during Iowa State’s 3-2 victory over Robert Morris at the Ames Ice Arena on Dec. 6.

James Powell

Iowa State and Illinois have a physical, very contested history and that was certainly bound to continue in this weekend’s tilt in Champaign, Illinois.

Both teams got out to a fast and, at times, sloppy start. Lots of offsides and icings, but the physicality was certainly there with lots of hits coming from both sides.

Aaron LaChance was in goal for the Cyclones tonight after getting the nod in the previous game, when he picked up a shutout.

Illinois got on the scoreboard first off a rebound for Kacper Ryba. Iowa State couldn’t take advantage of a penalty on the Fighting Illini just minutes before.

It didn’t take long for the Cyclones to respond, however, as Blake Ramsey scored just his second goal of the year off a deflection out front. Jonathan Moskaluk answered back with about eight minutes left, going through two Cyclone defenders to put Illinois up 2-1 after one period.

Matty Moran found Brooks Mitzel on a feed to tie the game at two, then Mitzel went to the box later in the period, leading to another Ryba goal to take another lead after the second period.

The third period saw an early penalty taken by Ryba for roughing, and the Cyclones were able to tie the game back up with a shot on a wide open net by Payton McSharry, his fifth of the season.

Some time went by, and with about nine minutes remaining in regulation, Bryan Bandyk put a backhander past the Illinois netminder to light the lamp, and give the Cyclones the lead for the first time. That lead would disappear with about four minutes left, as Robert Ernsting snuck in a shot past LaChance to tie the game at four apiece.

Each team committed a penalty in the waning seconds of the final period, so the game was headed to overtime with three skaters aside. A too many men penalty put Iowa State in a 4-3 shorthanded situation, but Aaron LaChance certainly proved he belonged with a lot of glove saves to continue the game.

Max Kamper has certainly been the story as of late, two goals last Saturday and he squeezed one past Elliot Gerth to give the Cyclones a shorthanded goal, a win in a riveting, back-and-forth game.

This game clearly meant a lot to both teams, as it seemed there were more hits than shots on goal. A player even flew into his own bench to try (and fail) to make a hit on his opponent.

The Cyclones and the Fighting Illini do battle again Saturday night, and if Friday’s game was any indication, it will be hard fought once again.