Cyclone Hockey drops series opener against Illinois 4-2

Freshman defenseman Justin Paulson skates in his own zone during the Cyclones’ game against Illinois on Jan. 26, 2017. Paulson and the defense allowed only one goal in the previous two games heading into the night.

Spencer Suckow

After sweeping a team from the state of Illinois last weekend, the No. 10 Cyclones dropped a 4-2 affair against the No. 9 University of Illinois Fighting Illini in controversial fashion.

Illinois struck first at the 8:07 mark in the first period with a power play goal after a penalty from the Cyclones’ Justin Paulson. 

Junior forward David Kellner got the credit for the score with assists on the play from Drew Richter and Grant Stueve.

Not even two minutes later at the 9:43 mark in the first, Cyclones’ junior forward Tony Uglem tied it up at one with a goal of his own. 

The goal was Uglem’s team-leading 15th of the season, with junior forward Aaron Azevedo and senior defenseman Kody Reuter tallying assists on the play.

The second frame featured only one score, an unassisted goal from the Illini’s Richter to give Illinois a 2-1 lead less than four minutes into the period.

The score would stay the same until late in the third period, when sophomore forward/defenseman Anthony Song tied things up at two with 5:05 remaining in the game. Skokie, Ill. native Trevor Sabo got credit for the assist on the play.

The controversy came late in the third period, Uglem of the Cyclones was hit in the head by a late blindside hit from an Illinois player. Uglem left the ice bloodied from the hit.

No penalty was called on the Illini, but the Cyclones went down two players after Aaron Azevedo took a slashing and game misconduct penalty in retaliation, while Justin Paulson took a tripping penalty.

That 5-on-3 chance came back to haunt Iowa State, as the Illini scored two power play goals with Azevedo and Paulson off the ice. 

Defenseman Joe Nolan and Richter scored the two goals for the Illini, which gave the game its 4-2 final. The win was the Illini’s first in three games against the Cyclones this season.

The two teams will be back in action on Saturday night at Ames/ISU Ice Arena at 7:30 p.m. for the second game of the series.