Cyclone Hockey readies for rivalry

Luke Manderfeld

The Cyclone Hockey team returns to a break from Division I American Collegiate Hockey Association teams after suffering a two-game sweep at the hands of the Ohio Bobcats. 

But the break from that competition class will not bring much relief. 

The Cyclones will face off in their annual matchup against the Iowa Hawkeyes, an ACHA DII team. The notorious rivalry has battled in many other sports around campus. This time, it is Cyclone Hockey’s turn.

But it won’t be all fun and games.

“Coach said before that this is their super bowl. It’s a big game for them,” said forward Scott Antonsen. “They are going to come in fired up. We expect them to be a decent challenge. We can’t take them lightly because they have nothing to lose coming in here.”

The Hawkeyes don’t normally play ACHA Division I teams in their schedule, but any time they get a chance to knock off an in-state rival it becomes a bonus.

“They don’t have anything to lose,” said Cyclone Hockey coach Jason Fairman. “They are coming in fired up and anything can happen. We are expected to win, but this isn’t going to be a cakewalk.”

Iowa comes in with a potent 14-9-2 record and although it gained some votes for the DII top-15 rankings, it hasn’t been able to crack them. The Hawkeyes are also coming off a series sweep against the Illinois Division II team.

Considering this rivalry, all rankings can be tossed aside.

“[Iowa] is a strong team. They are one of the underrated teams in their league,” said goalie Scott Ismond. “We are just trying to take this week like every other week. We are preparing like we would for any other team. This is just another obstacle in what we are trying to accomplish here.”

It has been tough sailing for Iowa over the past few seasons. The Hawkeyes haven’t been able to register a win against the Cyclones in the last five years.

Most games haven’t been close, but one game did give the Cyclones a scare.

Last season at the Ames/ISU Ice Arena, the Cyclones sneaked out a 1-0 win against the Hawkeyes, despite out-shooting them by a large margin: 42-15. It was a game that should’ve ended in a wider margin of victory and Fairman was quick to remind the team of that at practice on Jan. 21.

“I was just reminding them that any team that we play, if we don’t come to play, we lose,” Fairman said.

The Cyclones will take on the Hawkeyes at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 23 at the Ames/ISU Ice Arena, and then they will travel eastward for another 7:30 p.m. game against the Hawkeyes on Jan. 24 at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena.