Iowa State hockey reflect on last season as Cardinal and Gold game approaches

The Cyclones won their last home game 6-0 for senior night. Goalie Derek Moser had a shut out against Midland.

Dylan Coon

Last year’s postseason for Iowa State hockey was bittersweet. After accomplishing so much during the regular season, they were bounced in the quarterfinals by eventual champion Central Oklahoma at the American Collegiate Hockey Association National.

However, Iowa State is poised for another strong season under the guidance of coach Jason Fairman and is looking to build off of recent success for the coming season. They are coming into the season ranked No. 5 nationally, the same spot they received in last year’s final rankings.

“Our ultimate goal is to always win a national Championship,” Fairman said.

A national championship is a tangible goal for the team. In the 2016-17 season, they won their first CSCHL season championship since 2002, and their first league championship in a decade, since 2007. Also, the team was ranked first in the nation for the first time since 1999.

“If we take a break during the summer months, then we don’t have anything prepared when the season comes,” Fairman said. 

Fairman stressed the importance of every month through out the season, noting that if you want to be the best you can’t take a day off. The offseason is consumed with recruiting and finding sponsors for the coming season, with things picking up in early September.

The national championship is still fresh in the minds of Cyclone Hockey after a heartbreaking loss in the championship in the 2015-16 season. Fairman talked about the three goals that every Cyclone Hockey team has each season: winning the regular season league title, winning the league tournament title and winning the national championship.

An added bonus that the Cyclones shoot for is finishing ranked in the top four heading into the tournament. This gives them an advantage during the tournament because those teams in the top four get an extra day off, something the Cyclones haven’t gotten under Coach Fairman’s time.

Cyclone Hockey has been consistently ranked near the top nationally for the last couple of years, but Fairman said he still feels more of the pressure internally. Fairman noted how competitive the coaches, players and program need to be overall to continue winning.

With 2017 being a special year, Iowa State hockey program’s 50th anniversary, Fairman said he feels a responsibility to make it a special year on the ice as well.

Looking ahead to the coming season, the Cyclones will start off short-handed. They are facing injuries that spurred from offseason surgeries that will sideline a few returning players. However, the Cyclones are still looking to match their hot start last year, when they started the season 6-0.

The team has its eyes set on a couple of big matches this year, and possible turning points throughout the season. Central Oklahoma (UCO),  the returning champs, come to Ames in early November. UCO’s in-state rival, Oklahoma, will face off against the Cyclones on their Hall of Fame Weekend in October.

“Any of our league teams, that’s great hockey,” Fairman said. “We have the best league in the country, there’s no question about that.”

Fairman talked about getting a taste of the national championship two years ago, coming into the season as runner-up, gave the Cyclones obvious benefits.

Exposure was increased, attendance went up and the Cyclones strengthened their spot as one of the strongest ACHA programs in the country.

“When that happens [winning a national championship] we probably will take some time off and enjoy it for a week, or maybe a couple of days at least,” Fairman said.