Chasing redemption, Cyclone Hockey sweeps Lindenwood

Cyclone Hockey forward Chase Rey prepares to shoot the puck during the game against Illinois State Oct. 17, 2015. The Cyclones would go on to beat the Redbirds 4-2.

Austin Anderson

Chase Rey waited patiently — like he had all season — in the second period on Friday night as his team was on the offensive attack.

His teammates fired shots on goal, but kept coming up empty until the puck skittered out in front of him. On the right side of Cyclone Hockey’s offensive zone, Rey fired a shot past Lindenwood goaltender Cody Karpinski to give his team a 3-2 lead.

His shot not only ended up as the game-winner Friday night but also helped push his team to a sweep of No. 2 Lindenwood at the Ames/ISU Ice Arena during the weekend.

Patience has been a virtue for Rey, who missed more than half of last season because of an injury and wasn’t able to get on the scoreboard for the first time this season until Friday night.

“I’m extremely happy for him. I know it’s been eating at him all season,” said co-captain Cory Sellers, who scored the lone goal Saturday night to lead the Cyclones in a 1-0 win and a weekend sweep. “It’s not like he’s been playing bad, he just hadn’t been getting the bounces. So the fact that he got a bounce, I think it’s going to be a turning point for him.”

After Rey’s return last season, he exploded for the Cyclones and was integral in their run to the American Collegiate Hockey Association national tournament quarterfinals. 

Not scoring a goal all this season, though, was taking a toll on Rey. 

“You could tell how excited he was, because I think that Chase has been fighting it a little bit, and he needs confidence,” said Cyclone Hockey coach Jason Fairman. “I think he played better after he got that goal, so I hope this propelled him into being the Chase Rey that we know.”

After the goal, the crowd erupted in applause and fueled an emotional fist pump from Rey. Fellow co-captain Alex Stephens came up to Rey and gestured as if he was taking the proverbial monkey off of Rey’s back.

“It’s always nice to get that monkey off my back,” Rey said. “Everybody coming up to me after that goal, it definitely felt good.”

The goal not only propelled Rey, but it also appeared to give a big boost to the rest of the team. The Cyclones allowed two goals in the first period Friday night, but the Lions were unable to find the net again for the remaining five periods of the series.

Goaltender Matt Goedeke saved all 33 shots he faced Saturday night en route to a 1-0 shutout.

“[The defense] really stepped it up this weekend. It was the best they had played all year,” Goedeke said. “They made it easy for me. All I had to do was make the first save, and they cleared it out for me. I don’t think I had to make one back door save, so that’s huge.”

Cyclone Hockey, like Rey, was able to bounce back in a big way this weekend.

The Cyclones played host to Williston State on Tuesday earlier that week. Many of the Cyclone’s top players sat out in order to rest for the games against Lindenwood, and the Cyclones suffered a 3-2 loss to the Tetons.

Fairman said the team, himself included, didn’t take the game seriously, and Sellers cited a mental lapse.

“It shows the character of our team, that we are able to bounce back from bad things like that,” Sellers said.

After the sweep of the No. 2 team in the country, the No. 3 Cyclones are poised to move up once again in the ACHA rankings to heights that haven’t been seen in the Fairman era — or for many years before that.

“I would think with beating a team like this, there is a pretty good chance we will be No. 1,” Fairman said.

Whether the Cyclones are indeed the top team in the ACHA rankings, Cyclone Hockey was able to redeem itself from the confusing mid-week loss.

Rey was able to redeem himself from his slow start against a team from his hometown and opponents he grew up playing with.

When the final buzzer sounded Friday night, the crowd cheered, Fairman smiled and the Cyclones met in a celebratory huddle.

And just like this weekend’s sweep, Rey was right in the middle of it.

“I think everybody was excited about the win,” Rey said. “It’s always nice to beat an opponent that is ranked a little bit better than you. For the most part, I think we’re just happy for a team win.”