Cyclone Hockey looks for revenge against Robert Morris

Cyclones score their second goal against Robert Morris on Jan. 27. The goal was made by sophomore defense Jake Arroyo during a power play.

Spencer Suckow

The Robert Morris University Eagles are a high-flying team that can score in bunches.

That much was on full display when the Cyclones met their Central States Collegiate Hockey League (CSCHL) rival in Bensenville, Illinois, last November, when the then No. 5 Eagles swept Iowa State and scored a combined 12 goals in two games.

Now up to No. 4 in the nation, according to computer polls, the Eagles and their high-octane offense come to Ames for the final series of the season between the two division rivals.

“They’ve always been a really strong program,” said head coach and general manager Jason Fairman. “They’re well-coached and I have a lot of respect for their coach, their team and their program.”

The No. 12 Cyclones are coming off a series split against Ohio. After a five-goal third period from the Bobcats that sunk Iowa State on Friday, the team responded nicely with a 5-4 win on Saturday.

This marked the second straight weekend the Cyclones took one of two games on the road, an impressive feat considering the length of both trips and the fact that both the Cyclones’ opponents were top seven teams.

“Central Oklahoma and Ohio are both highly ranked teams, so it was good to get a split,” said junior forward Colton Kramer. “It was really good for the team, especially coming off the break.”

Iowa State now returns home for their first series in front of their home crowd since Dec. 9.  In fact, the team will be spending the next five weeks in Ames, where it’ll play divisional opponents in all but one of those series. Then, it’ll be off to the CSCHL tournament in Athens, Ohio on Feb. 23.

While the team won the CSCHL regular season and tournament championship last year, the Cyclones currently own the worst record in the division at 12-11-1 and are the lowest ranked team in the CSCHL as a result.

However, the Cyclones know these next five weekends can do plenty when it comes to gaining momentum and improving their ranking going into the conference tournament.

“They’re all big games from this point on,” Kramer said. “They’re all going to be much-needed games, especially coming down to the end of the season with rankings.”

It all starts with Robert Morris, however, and the team will have to be much improved on the defensive end if it hopes to get revenge this weekend.

Junior forward Tony Uglem, who had a big series offensively last November against the Eagles with four goals, is confident those improvements will come. 

Uglem said the team’s defense has drastically improved since its last meeting with Robert Morris, and he expects much different results this time around as a result.

“We’ve tightened up defensively,” Uglem said. “We’ve had people held more accountable and we’re not letting those little things fly that happened in the beginning of the year.”  

Uglem went on to add he believes the team’s young players and their continued development will play a key role not only in avenging their sweep against the Eagles this weekend, but also in making a run at division title down the stretch as well.

“We’ve had all of our young guys playing a lot more,” Uglem said. “They’ve gotten so much better in the last couple of months.”