Cyclone Hockey celebrates 6-0 victory on senior night

The Cyclones celebrate a goal 16:13 into the first period by Azevedo from Graalum and Kramer, bringing the score to 3-0 end of the first. 

Connor Ferguson

For six Cyclone Hockey seniors, Saturday was the final night they would play an American Collegiate Hockey Association game on the ice at the Ames/ISU Ice Arena.

The No. 5 Cyclones fought their way to a 6-0 win against No. 16 Midland, as after-the-whistle pushing and shoving was present throughout the game.

With the ACHA National Tournament slated to start in a week for the Cyclones, coach Jason Fairman was concerned about keeping injuries to a minimum in the top-20 matchup.

“I think both coaches have concerns about guys getting injured,” Fairman said before Saturday’s game. “I imagine we’ll talk before the game about how we want to do that, but guys [still have to] play the game. There’s only so much coaches can do.”

Fairman was right to be cautious.

The two teams combined for nine penalties throughout the game, including a cross check, slashing and two 10-minute misconducts.

It was more chippy on Saturday than most regular season games for the Cyclones.

“We talked about [limiting injuries],” Fairman said. “I can’t say how we were on our side. I thought we had the puck most of the time, so I don’t know if we could do anything else.”

In the past, the Cyclones would never play a team as highly ranked as Midland the week in between the conference tournament and national tournament.

“It concerns me a little bit, but the other option is we play a junior team,” Fairman said. “That’s where we pick up bad habits because we’re usually so superior in talent. As long as somebody doesn’t get hurt, I suppose it’s a good thing to get ready for nationals.”

At the end of the day, the Cyclones got out of the game with no injuries.

“That’s hockey, you’re going to come across games like that,” captain Chase Rey said. “Even though we don’t want to get guys injured, [both teams] still want to win. We battled through tonight.”

Rey, along with four other seniors, started the game as an ode to senior night for the Cyclones.

“It was definitely sad right at the end there,” Rey said. “But we’ve still got a big couple weeks left, so I’m looking forward to it right now.”

Eero Helanto was the top scorer among the graduating senior class, as he too played his final home game on Saturday.

“It’s been a fun four years,” Helanto said. “I owe it all to all the guys on the team, old teammates, coaches, home away from home families, my brothers helping me get through it, volunteers.”

But the season is not yet done for the Cyclones, as they will compete in the ACHA National Championships next week.

“It’s cliché, but everyone always says it, and that’s what I’m saying,” Helanto said. “Why not us?”