Looking at Cyclone Hockey’s season up to the heartbreaking playoff loss

Cyclone Hockey and coaching staff pictured with the Central States Collegiate Hockey League championship trophy following the 5-4 overtime victory over the Lindenwood Lions.

Mary Rominger

In a desperate attempt to keep its season alive in the quarterfinal round of the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) National Tournament, Cyclone Hockey went head-to-head with Central Oklahoma in a matinee start on Sunday.

Cyclone Hockey held the game within reach for a majority of the game, but the Bronchos finished strong and downed Iowa State 6-1 to eliminate them and close out their season.

Leading up to the National Tournament

To start the season, Iowa State was ranked No.1 nationally for four consecutive weeks after starting the season undefeated with a 6-0 record.

Through a choppy regular season, Iowa State suffered a couple of winning droughts in the months of November and January, but continued to bounce back to stay ranked in the top-10 nationally.

Despite the bumpy road, the Cyclones finished the season as the No.1 seed in their division and claimed the regular season title.

Moving onto the Central States Collegiate Hockey League (CSCHL) tournament, Iowa State showcased a strong effort which continued off of their four game winning streak the team entered the tournament with.

No.5 Iowa State was able to knock off No.8 Robert Morris and No.6 Lindenwood to claim the CSCHL championship.

A handful of Cyclones were given CSCHL honors to commemorate their great performances.

Defenseman Jake Arroyo was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, Derek Moser, Jake Uglem and Tony Uglem were named to the 1st team All-League, freshman forward A.J. Gullickson was named to the All-Rookie team, and lastly Jake Uglem and Kody Reuter were named to the All-Defensive team.

“They’ve all shown their abilities,” captain Chase Rey said. “And those awards are definitely indicators of what kind of players they were for us in the tournament.”

Iowa State’s head coach and general manager Jason Fairman was also awarded Coach of the Year for coaching the team to many great achievements this season.

“Coach Fairman has done a tremendous job at turning this program into what it is from my freshman year when he took over,” Rey said. “Definitely deserving of a league reward.”

And to complete the season the Cyclones had to win four games in the National Tournament to obtain the most desired trophy amongst all of the ACHA.

National Tournament in Columbus, Ohio

In the first game, Iowa State faced the No.12 Colorado Buffaloes and came out on top 3-2.

In a game too close for comfort, Iowa State started the game slower than usual and gave the Buffaloes many opportunities to take the game away.

Although, the Cyclones netminder Derek Moser did what he is known for and made countless clutch stops.

In the quarterfinals, and what proved to be the last game for Iowa State and it’s six seniors, the Cyclones met the No.4 Central Oklahoma Bronchos where they fell into the lackluster offense that haunted them multiple times earlier in the season.

In the first period, the Cyclones were down 2-1 but didn’t feel like the game was out of reach by any means.

“I wasn’t too concerned,” Fairman said. “We’ve had a history this season of coming back so I felt pretty confident that we could do it again.”

What needed to be improved on the Cyclones behalf wasn’t and the team found themselves down again and ended the second frame 3-1.

In the third period, UCO had a handful of late goals on the powerplay and the hole was too deep for the Cyclones to come back in the 6-1 loss.

“Central Oklahoma was just a better team than we were [in this game],” Fairman said. “It wasn’t a day to have an off game, we had some Grade A chances that didn’t convert and I think that just put frustration in the back of our minds.”

With high expectations entering the tournament after being so close to the hardware last season, it’s a tough pill to swallow for the Cyclones to be knocked out so early.

“We are disappointed as an organization that we didn’t win the national championship,” Fairman said. “That was our goal all along and we thought it was certainly a possibility.”

The great season prior to the season ending game is rightfully acknowledged amongst the Cyclone Hockey organization.

“I told the guys that you have some time and perspective to realize that it was a special season,” Fairman said. “And you don’t have to win a national championship to have a special season, we accomplished a lot this year.”

This marks the end of the road for seniors Rey, Eero Helanto, Alex Grupe, Dalton Kaake, Drew Carlson, and Clayton Janecke.

All seniors had a tremendous impact on the Cyclones success for their years on the team.

Rey was voted by his teammates to serve as one of the captains for the 2016-17 season and in doing so led his team to many notable accomplishments.

Helanto from Turku, Finland served as the team’s top offensive defenseman.

“It was really great to be apart of this team,” Helanto said. “After the game I talked to the guys and coaches about my four years here and I hope others get to experience that.”

Kaake, the Saskatchewan native, was one of Iowa State’s leading scores and had 11 goals on this years campaign.

Forward, Carlson was one of the team’s leading assist man with 15 in 38 games played.

Grupe missed most of his senior year due to a forearm fracture, but was able to make his senior year debut early February. In his debut he tallied the only goal for the Cyclones against Illinois.

And lastly, Janecke the Illinois native alternated between defense and forward during his time on the team. In this season he racked up 8 points.