Cyclone Hockey takes on Missouri State with optimism


The Cyclones defend a shot during a game against the Southern Illinois-Edwardsville Cougars on Sep. 19. The Cyclones would go on to win 11-1.

Cyclone Hockey was nothing short of dominant in its opening series sweep over Southern Illinois-Edwardsville last weekend.

There is plenty of optimism floating around in the locker room after outscoring the Cougars a combined 20-1 in the two games but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to improve upon and continue to learn as the season continues.

“We can improve on the details of our game,” said Cyclone Hockey coach Jason Fairman. “It’s not really the players faults but we haven’t really addressed some of our systems and finer points of our game. We’re addressing that this week.”

After two games where the Cyclones completely controlled the puck and the game, the season started off better than co-captain Alex Stephens would have thought.

“I think we can say we have exceeded our expectations,” Stephens said. “Not that we had low standards but when you win 9-0 and 11-1, everyone was pretty happy to start the season like that. Practices have been great. Guys are meshing well together already and it’s been pretty well so far.”

Now the attention turns to this weekend’s opponent, the Missouri St. Ice Bears, who gave the defending national champions, Central Oklahoma, a run for its money last weekend before ultimately falling short in both games.

This is the Ice Bears’ first season at the American Collegiate Hockey Association Division I level. Despite its inexperience, Missouri State received votes to be ranked in the American Collegiate Hockey Association top 25.

Cyclone Hockey finds itself ranked No. 7 in the country, jumping up one spot from last week.

The defending national champions and the team that ended the Cyclones season earlier this year, Central Oklahoma, lurks in waiting for the Cyclones next weekend, but Fairman said his players need to be self-motivated and realize their challenging task at hand.

“If you look at their roster, they’ve got some good guys,” Fairman said. “[Winning against Missouri St] will not be easy.”

This weekends matchup could be viewed as trap games if the Cyclones are looking ahead at the schedule to Central Oklahoma.

“You just have to take it day by day,” Stephens said. “You could start thinking about nationals right now but you’ve got to make it there first. It’s always in the back of your mind but you just have to take it day by day and say ‘here’s who we have next’ and we’ll get UCO when we get there.”