New year, new faces and the broom for Cyclone Hockey


Blake Lanser/Iowa State Daily

Senior forward Trevor Lloyd pushes through Ohio University’s line of defense during their matchup on Nov. 1.  The Cyclones suffered a 4-2 loss to the Bobcats.

Luke Manderfeld

New and returning faces headlined the Cyclone Hockey team over the weekend.

After finishing the 2014 portion of their season 13-9-5, the No. 13 Cyclones (15-9-5, 11-9-5 ACHA) were led by those same players to a two-game sweep against Central States Collegiate Hockey League rival and No. 12 Illinois (15-9-1). 

“We were dealing with injuries before the break and now we are getting those guys back,” said Cyclone Hockey coach Jason Fairman. “We have a full roster, which we haven’t had all year. People are now going to see the Cyclones play to their potential.”

One of the returning players, Chase Rey, lost half a year to a serious upper-body injury he suffered at the end of last season. In his first game back Jan. 9, he made a statement by scoring two goals in the first period and led his team to a 6-1 victory. 

After finishing fifth on the team in points last year and tying for sixth in goals, he became a welcome addition.

“We knew it was going to be a big blow when he had surgery and wouldn’t be back until after Christmas,” Fairman said. “One guy can change the lineup and we knew he was that guy to be impactful.”

Rey talked about his return to the lineup and some of the emotions he felt.

“It was a little bit of nerves, mainly excited,” Rey said. “The guys got me fired up and it was about seven months to step on the ice and wear the jersey, so it felt good.”

Another addition included transfer forward Andrew Carlson from Hamlin University, who played in the Jan. 9 game, but didn’t participate Jan. 10. Captain Mike Dopko returned to the lineup after suffering an upper-body injury back in late November, along with forward Preston Blanek. 

Out-shooting the Illini 75-66 on the weekend, the Cyclones were in full control throughout. When the puck dropped Jan. 9, it became easy to see that the Cyclones had a new-found intensity on the ice. 

“We’ve been back since Dec. 30, so we wanted to get out there and hit someone other than ourselves,” said forward Jake Bruhn, who tallied a goal and an assist in the second game. “We were hungry, and we have been battling over these last two weekends. It’s also the first time the team has been healthy all year. We had to wait for guys to come back, so we could show what team we really are.”

The team’s first five minutes of the weekend featured full dominance in the offensive zone. Its luck turned to misfortune when Illinois scored on its first shot on the counterattack. But that would be the one blemish on the day as the Cyclones scored six en route to their first victory in 2015. That intensity continued to finish the sweep in the second game.

The rivalry, which dates back to the 1970s, showed itself in the second game of the series when both teams participated in after-the-whistle activities. After expletives were thrown by each bench, the teams clearly picked up the physical play.

“These conference games are always huge especially with Illinois and Iowa State,” said assistant captain Trevor Lloyd. “They get a little aggressive and that’s what happens sometimes.”

That took a turn for the worse when the Cyclones hit the Illini goaltender while crashing the net. The referees broke up the play before any punches were thrown, but then started hit after hit.

But the Cyclones prevailed on the scoreboard with a 4-2 victory to even the season series against the Illini at two apiece.

“We had a score to settle,” Bruhn said. “They didn’t treat us great when we left [Illinois] last time, and we were pretty bitter about it. We wanted to send a message that we are healthy, we’re back and look out because we are coming.”