Cyclone Hockey falls for the first time this season, losing 4-1 to No. 20 Oklahoma

Member of the Cyclone Hockey team skates down the ice during the game against Oklahoma Oct. 6. The Cyclones defeated Oklahoma 3-1.

Spencer Suckow

It took until roughly 10 p.m. to happen, but the Sooners were finally able to beat the Cyclones in something on Saturday.  

The fifth-ranked Cyclone hockey team saw their perfect start to the season come to an end at the hands of No. 20 Oklahoma on Saturday, who took the back half of this weekend’s series by a score of 4-1.

After the game, Cyclone hockey head coach Jason Fairman was noticeably disappointed in the team’s performance and had some critical words for his team as a whole.

“We’re not very good,” Fairman said of his team after the game. “I knew that we had some deficiencies and they got exposed and I don’t think (Oklahoma) is that particularly strong either, so this could be a long year.”

Fairman went on to say of the game itself, “That wasn’t a good effort on our part. We weren’t very good.”

Things initially started off very positive for the Cyclones, as the team jumped on the Sooners right away by getting an excellent scoring opportunity right off the opening face-off. Shortly afterward, the Cyclones continued to apply pressure in the Oklahoma zone and ended up drawing an early penalty.

Although they didn’t score on the subsequent power play, the way the Cyclones started the game made it appear that goals would be inevitable soon enough.

Oklahoma goaltender Brenden Manquen, however, had other ideas. The transfer from Lebanon Valley College was fantastic all night for the Sooners and was at his best in the first period, stopping multiple great chances for the Cyclones and 14 shots in total throughout the frame to keep things at 0-0 heading into the first intermission.

“It’s tough, and you’ve just got to get bodies to the net, keep crashing and keep getting pucks to the net,” said Cyclones leading goal scorer Tony Uglem of Manquen’s performance. “We did that tonight, I thought, but he made some big saves when they needed him to.”

The second period started out with much of the same from Manquen, as the senior made a spectacular diving save across the crease to keep the score tied at 0-0 early on in the period.  A few minutes later, the Cyclones committed back-to-back penalties within 16 seconds of each other to give the Sooners a 5-on-3 opportunity for almost two full minutes.

Unlike the last two games where they killed off 5-on-3 penalties, the Cyclones weren’t able to come away clean from being down two skaters this time, as the Sooners scored two goals within a minute of each other to give ISU a 2-0 deficit, their largest of the season.

Penalties hurt the Cyclones all night, with the team committing a total of 6 in the game, including a game misconduct that ejected starting center Aaron Azevedo late in the second.

“Anytime you take on penalties, it’s going to kill you,” said Fairman. “Especially when you get put on a 5-on-3.  That’s a golden opportunity for any team.”

With 9 seconds remaining in the period, the Cyclones got a 5-on-3 opportunity of their own after Kody Reuter took a hit into the boards that briefly sent him to the locker room. Oklahoma got a 5 minute major penalty on the hit and with Zachary Pard already in the box, the Cyclones had a golden chance to try and get back some momentum.

They did just that, too. Tony Uglem scored a buzzer-beating goal with 0.3 seconds remaining off a feed from Jake Arroyo to cut the Sooners lead to 2-1, and with 4:51 remaining on the other power play at the end of the period, the Cyclones seemed to be in prime position to tie the game in the third period.

The Sooners penalty kill came up big, though, and shut down the Cyclones’ power play unit for almost five full minutes to start the third. This took the wind out of the sails of the Cyclones, and the Sooners got two insurance goals later in the period from Charlie Shepard and Alex Macinnis respectively to put the game away and hand the Cyclones their first defeat of the season by a score of 4-1.

Senior goalie Matt Goedeke, who had only allowed one goal in two games coming into tonight, was uncharacteristically off his game on the evening. Although the same could really be said about the entire team, the Cyclone net-minder managed only an 88 percent save percentage against the Sooners due in part to both penalties by the Cyclones and traffic created by the Oklahoma in the Iowa State zone.

“Three of their goals were through heavy traffic,” Goedeke said. “(I’ve) just got to do a better job of finding the puck. Pretty simple.”

The Cyclones will now have to try and rebound next week when they travel to Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri to take on a Lions squad that’s ranked sixth in the country. While it’ll be a tough challenge for a team coming off their first loss, Fairman said that the Cyclones will prepare for the road trip no differently than they would any other weekend, focusing primarily on themselves. Fairman also had a simple message for his team heading into this upcoming week of practice.

“I told the guys after the game that they need to become ready to get better on Monday,” Fairman said.