Cyclone Hockey programs return from Columbus with no dice

Head Coach and General Manager Jason Fairman and team watch as Cyclone Hockey takes on the Ohio Bobcats. Iowa State lost both games.

Connor Ferguson

Both the Cyclone Hockey Division I and Division III programs spent their spring break participating in the American Collegiate Hockey Association National Championships in Columbus, Ohio.

After taking second place last year, the D-I team failed to reach the championship game this season. The D-III team didn’t make it out of the pool play round. 

D-I reaches quarterfinals again, halted by Central Oklahoma

Cyclone Hockey reached the quarterfinals of the ACHA National Tournament for the fifth straight season this year but fell to No. 4 Central Oklahoma, 6-1, in Columbus, Ohio.

“Central Oklahoma was just a better team than we were [in this game],” coach Jason 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.”

During his time at the helm of Cyclone Hockey — three and a half seasons — Fairman has made it to the quarterfinals each season.

“Coach Fairman has done a tremendous job at turning this program into what it is from my freshman year when he took over,” team captain Chase Rey said. 

And while the players appreciate how he has grown the program, they haven’t forgotten how Fairman guided the Cyclones to the ACHA National Championship last season.

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

Although he didn’t bring home a national championship, Fairman did earn his second straight Central States Collegiate Hockey League Coach of the Year award.

“It sounds like a cliché, but it’s not just about me,” Fairman said. “It’s really the coaching staff and the players here, because if you lose games, you’re not going to be the coach of the year.”

Fairman told the team that they have some time and perspective to realize that it was a special season.

“You don’t have to win a national championship to have a special season,” Fairman said. “We accomplished a lot this year.”

The Cyclones earned the CSCHL regular season and playoff championships, finishing 19-14-1.

Division III Cyclone Hockey knocked out in pool play

While the ACHA Men’s D-I National Championship is a 24-team single elimination bracket, the D-III tournament is structured differently.

In the D-III tournament, teams started out playing in four pools of four teams each. To advance, teams had to win their round-robin pool, which then would feed them out to a final four of sorts. Then it becomes a single-elimination bracket of the four pool winners.

The Cyclones failed to make it to the later rounds, as they were downed by Aquinas College in their second pool play game.

Aquinas had already won one game, so that game essentially ended the season for the team. Aquinas also went on to win the D-III National Championship.

Coach Scott Ismond was named the Mid American Collegiate Hockey Association Coach of the Year, too.

“I imagine he would probably say [he is proud to win it as well],” Fairman said. “It’s an exciting time for Cyclone Hockey with the progress we have made here. “Getting coach of the year and a MACHA championship has never happened here before.”