Cyclone Hockey busts rust in two-game split after break

UCO and the Cyclones face off Friday night.

Connor Ferguson

Between its Dec. 10 game against Colorado and Friday’s matchup with Central Oklahoma, Cyclone Hockey had 26 days to take a break and get relaxed from the long first half of the season.

Although after a long break like that, it can be hard to become accustomed to playing two or three games a weekend again. The rusty style of play was prevalent from the beginning of the series, but the No. 6 Cyclones pulled out a series split against No. 7 Central Oklahoma in Oklahoma City. 

“I think both teams were a little lost or were trying to get back into the normal rhythm this weekend,” senior Eero Helanto said. “But I think we played well considering we had the brake.”

On Friday, the Cyclones found themselves down 2-1 heading into the third period but scored four goals in the final frame to earn a win.

“We definitely dug deep in the third on Friday,” senior captain Chase Rey said. “We put pucks on net and good things happened. Once we got a few, I think we played our game more and more. The four goals were a testament to how well we stuck to our game.”

The Cyclones were downed by Central Oklahoma on Saturday in a 3-2 thriller.

“Saturday was a close game all the way to the final buzzer,” Rey said. “I thought we played hard. A few breakdowns for us is all it took.”

The team surrendered the game-winning goal to the Bronchos when they were on a penalty kill.

“We need to be sharp for 60 minutes against good teams like UCO,” Rey said.

The Cyclones have gotten used to playing good teams like Central Oklahoma, which will aid them in their upcoming eight straight games against American Collegiate Hockey Association top-15 teams.

“[Playing against top teams is] fun,” Helanto said. “I think those are the games that we want to play. There is always a challenge, which makes it more interesting.”

Rey said to split the series with Central Oklahoma after the long break was a step in the right direction for the Cyclones, who hope to return to the ACHA National Championship game in 2017 after falling in it in 2016.

“We need to continue to stay positive in the upcoming weeks and we’ll be right where we need to be when nationals rolls around,” Rey said.