Cyclone Hockey’s Song and Goggin provide much-needed versatility

Sophomore Anthony Song attempts to score as the Cyclones trail the Bobcats in the second period. Iowa State goes on to lose to Ohio 1 to 6.

Spencer Suckow

There’s a mentality that surrounds the Cyclone Hockey team.

It’s one where every player puts the good of the team ahead of everything else, even if that means making some sacrifices.

“You’ve just got to play the role that you’re asked to play and you’ve got to do your best at it,” said sophomore Anthony Song. “I think it’s expected of everyone.”

With the Cyclones facing depth issues all season, Song, along with freshman Dylan Goggin, have embodied that mentality just as much as anyone else on the team.

Both players are forwards by trade, but because of injuries and off-ice issues, they’ve been forced to spend time moonlighting as defensemen on the Iowa State hockey teams, at times, depleted blue line.

While that may seem like a drastic transition, particularly in-game as it’s been at times, it’s made easier by the fact that both Song and Goggin have previous experience on the back end. The two each spent some time as defenseman growing up and while playing junior hockey.

On top of that, each player’s individual skill set makes them ideal candidates to make the switch when needed, according to the team’s coaching staff. Song’s abilities as a skater and passer have been brought up by the coaching staff in the past, and head coach and general manager Jason Fairman mentioned Goggin already has a defensive mindset at his position.

While both players were recruited as forwards and not exactly with this versatility in mind, Fairman said it’s nonetheless an asset to have players that can reliably play a different position when depth gets challenged.

“It’s like being a utility infielder in baseball to some degree,” Fairman said. “The more things that you can bring to the table, the better and the team can benefit from that.”

Though having prior experience and the correct skill set helps, both players will also tell you having good teammates is just as important when transitioning to a new spot.

Goggin says defensemen like senior Kody Reuter and juniors Nick Sandy and Jake Arroyo provided him with advice and tidbits throughout the season to help shorten the learning curve even further.

This willingness to help isn’t a surprise, given the three are set as leaders on the team with Reuter and Sandy specifically acting as captain and assistant captain, respectively.

That advice is especially helpful when you’re one of the youngest members on the team, though it usually doesn’t have to be anything major given Goggin’s background.

“Just little play things, different reads and being able to see where guys are coming in,” Goggin said. “Mentorship from the older guys helped out a lot.”

That mentorship, combined with their specific strengths and prior experience, allows the two to play the position fast and without hesitation when the situation calls for them to switch.

According to both, that ability to play fast is ultimately the most important factor to having success as a defenseman. The two insist making the change isn’t that big of a deal to them, but admit that when they do make mistakes, it’s often to slow play caused by overthinking.

“You’ve just got to flip a switch,” Song said. “You can’t think about it too much.

“When you think about it, that’s when you mess up the most.”

Luckily for the Cyclones, Song and Goggin haven’t had to make the switch in recent weeks. After some particularly brutal stretches in the season that saw the team consistently dress only three lines of forwards and five defensemen, the team has gradually started to get more players back.

This allows both players to play their natural forward positions, which in turn makes them and the team more successful.

Since switching back, Song and Goggin have both seen upticks in their scoring (highlighted by a two-goal performance by Song against Missouri State a few weeks ago), and the team as a whole has rebounded well from a six-game losing streak to end the fall semester with some solid wins against top competition.

Still, both players know things can change in an instant, and the two are prepared to move back-and-forth as needed when the Cyclones play in the American Collegiate Hockey Association national tournament in less than two weeks.

Obviously, that wouldn’t be an ideal scenario for the Cyclones, but with a short bench this season and the possibility of having to play several games in consecutive days during the tournament, it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

If that does happen, you won’t hear any complaining from Song or Goggin. After all, they know what’s expected of them and everyone else on the team, and they share the mentality.

“You’ve got to be a 200-foot player,” Goggin said. “That’s the power to having a successful season.”