Cyclone Hockey goes “HAM” on the Hogs, blows out Arkansas 7-0

Junior Colton Kramer warms up before the game against Illinois State University on Sept. 23. The Cyclones defeated Illinois State 4-1.

Spencer Suckow

Last weekend, Cyclone Hockey struggled to get any sort of consistent offense going against a physical and fast Lindenwood Lions team.  In the first game of their series against the Arkansas Razorbacks, however, there were no such offensive issues to be found.

Thanks in large part to a first period in which they scored four goals. The Cyclones dominated the Razorbacks on Friday night to the tune of a 7-0 blowout in front of a near capacity crowd at Ames/ISU Ice Arena. 

Using a mixture of both younger players and upperclassmen, the Cyclones put together what was arguably their most complete performance of the season to date.

“They’re a growing program and I think their coach has done a really good job, but we did, for the most part, play within our systems, which is good,” said Cyclone Hockey coach Jason Fairman of the team’s performance. “We’ve played games like this before where we’ve gotten individualistic, and I think we avoided that for the most part. So yeah, I’m relatively pleased.”

Sporting special pink jerseys for their annual “Pink in the Rink” night to support breast cancer awareness, the Cyclones got the scoring underway early when freshman Andrew Lee scored his first goal as a Cyclone to give Iowa State a 1-0 lead less than three minutes into the game. Lee was able to bank the puck off of the left crossbar from just outside the right face off circle to put it in the back of the net.

This was a welcome sight for a Cyclones team that hasn’t seen nearly as much production from their underclassmen as in years past to start the season.  After the game, Lee said that he believed that his night could help serve as a spring board for both him and other freshmen on the team.

“We’re playing, we’re developing more confidence as a line, all freshmen I think,” said Lee. “We had a good game today and a good weekend last weekend, so we’re definitely building off of this.”

Coach Fairman agreed with that sentiment, and also offered praise for the team’s freshmen after tonight’s game. Specifically, he singled out the all-freshmen line of Lee, Dylan Goggin and Bryan Bandyk as playing especially well over the past three games, which in turn has rubbed off on the older members of the team.

“I don’t think they lost a shift all night, and that goes back to Lindenwood,”  Fairman said. “They’re hungry, they do what’s asked of them and they hustled, and I think some of the upperclassmen took to that.”

After the score remained 1-0 for roughly 10 minutes, the Cyclones managed to score three goals in the span of six minutes to turn the game ugly for the Razorbacks in a hurry.

The first came from Anthony Song and the last two came from Trevor Sabo, who was able to match his goal total on the season within just two minutes and 23 seconds of game time. This brought the score to 4-0, which it stayed at until the horn sounded to end the first period. 

While they usually don’t score this many goals in the opening frame, hot starts have been relatively typical occurrence for the Cyclones this season.  However, the issue coming into the game on Friday had been maintaining that momentum and carrying it over into the rest of the game. This was especially true after last weekend, when the team was shut down in the second period of both games against Lindenwood.

Although the Cyclones only had one goal to show for it, momentum definitely carried over for the home team. The Cyclones applied consistent pressure all period and got several chances, one of which was eventually converted by Colton Kramer to make the score 5-0 after Arkansas committed a bad turnover in their own zone.

Also notable in the second period was sophomore goaltender Nikita Kozak seeing the ice for the first time this season. Kozak is normally third on the depth chart for the Cyclones at goalie, but with the game reaching blowout territory early on and the other net minder Matt Goedeke not suited up for the night, Fairman saw an opportunity to rest starter Derek Moser and give his third goalie some extended playing time.

“It’s hard being a third goaltender. Sometimes you don’t play any games,” Fairman said.  “I saw an opportunity, it just seemed like the right time to get him in for a game.”

In his first two periods of action on the season, Kozak held up well, stopping all 11 shots that came his way. One notably impressive stop was on a penalty shot by Arkansas’ Luc Gradisar, where Kozak was able to stop the Razorback forward cold and prevent him from even getting a shot off on the attempt.

While Kozak will be the first to admit that he was nervous taking the ice for the first time, he said that it was nice to get his feet under him and sees the experience as something he can build off of. Also helping matters, according to Kozak, was the stout defense in front of him that only allowed the Razorbacks to get 19 shots on net the entire game.  

“The boys blocked a lot of shots, they prevented a lot of scoring opportunities and made my job real easy,” Kozak said.

Making things even easier for Kozak was the continued fireworks shown by the Cyclones’ offense in the third period, as the team added two more goals from Kramer and Jake Arroyo to give the Cyclones a total of seven goals on the night. Mercifully for Arkansas, this would be as bad as the Cyclone onslaught would get. However, Arkansas wasn’t able to muster any sort of offensive attack of their own all night, and the game ended with a final score of 7-0.

The final shot total reflected what was an extremely rough night for the Razorbacks in all phases of the game, as the team was outshot 48-19 by the Cyclones. While it’s hard to play much better than how Iowa State played tonight, Fairman still did have a message for his team heading into tomorrow night’s series finale.

“The challenge tomorrow is to bring the same effort and have the same outcome,” Fairman said.

The Cyclones will see if they’re up to that challenge starting at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow night at Ames/ISU Arena.