Cyclone Hockey loses focus in CSCHL Tournament loss

Division I Cyclone Hockey celebrates their first goal during the second period Friday evening against the Ohio Bobcats. Iowa State fell 5-4.

Austin Anderson

The game started as well as Cyclone Hockey could have hoped.

Jake Bruhn deflected a Cory Seller’s wrist shot past Ohio goaltender Aaron Alkema to give Cyclone Hockey a 1-0 lead just 39 seconds into the semi-final matchup of the Central States Collegiate Hockey League Tournament on Saturday night at the Ames/ISU Ice Arena.

Then, in the first playoff game the Cyclones have played all season, they lost focus.

After the Bobcats tied the game at one, they scored with an extra attacker on a delayed penalty called against the Cyclones. Then 21 seconds later, the Bobcats did it again, scoring on a power-play goal to take a commanding 3-1 lead on their way to a 5-2 win.

“I think we kind of lost our focus,” Sellers said. “I think we started to get mad when we didn’t get a call that we wanted or whatever. I think that kind of affected our mentality.”

The loss in focus allowed the Bobcats to score on three power-play opportunities and dominate the game.

“I think focus and composure was one of the components of this [loss],” said Cyclone Hockey coach Jason Fairman. “That’s a good hockey team, they’ve had our number this year.”

Before this matchup, Cyclone Hockey had lost all four of the previous games against the Bobcats this season: three in regulation and one in a shootout.

“They have a good team over there,” Sellers said. “If you make a mistake, they’re going to score. That’s what it comes down to, we have to find a way to limit mistakes.”

The first series against Ohio at home ended in a pair of one-goal losses. The Cyclones were outscored by eight goals in the next series against the Bobcats in which penalties were the biggest enemy. That trend continued this weekend with the intensity between the two teams backfiring heavily on the Cyclones.

“They’re ranked as high as they are for a reason,” Bruhn said, who had the first goal of the game. “Luckily we don’t have to play them again, for a couple weeks at least. If we do though, we’ll be ready.”

This isn’t the first time the Cyclones have lost focus in recent big games. Last weekend, Cyclone Hockey was 12 seconds away from leaving Lindenwood with a sweep of the No. 2 team in the country and a regular season CSCHL championship. But then, the Lions tied the game with only seconds left and went on to win in a shootout to take the regular season title.

Now in front of a nearly sold-out home crowd, the Cyclones were outmatched by one of their biggest rivals.

After the Springfield Express come to town next weekend for senior night, the national tournament will begin against Colorado on March 5. The Cyclones season will come to an end after the tournament.

“This next one,” Fairman said, “there’s no tomorrows.”