The puck ricocheted off of two Bobcats skates, across Jimmy Thomas’s crease and to Iowa State’s Brian Bandyk. Bandyk pushed it past the outstretched leg of Thomas to seal the game for the Cyclones.
The 2-0 loss was the first for the Bobcats under coach Cole Bell and this season. The loss was not the result of bad play but a close defensive battle between two of the American Collegiate Hockey Association’s best.
After getting dominated in game one of the series, Iowa State played like it traditionally has been known too.
“We saw who Iowa State really is tonight,” Bell said. “Last night we kind of got away with an off night for them. They came back pretty strong tonight.”
In game one of the series, the Bobcats prevented the Cyclones from getting clean zone entries and crisp passes. In Saturday’s game, however, the Cyclones were able to find their footing and establish a rhythm they were unable to in the night before.
“I think a little bit,” Bell said when asked if last night could have been the cause of the slow start. “I think during the first ten minutes there, we were a little flat and saw them go up one nothing.”
The Bobcats’ offense was solid as ever. It totaled 35 shots on goal, but none of them found the back of the net, largely in part of Iowa State’s consistent goalie play.
When the two teams did get quality chances on the net, they were denied. Both goalies played well and only made a few mistakes. Unfortunately, for the Bobcats two of their mistakes were costly and led to the Cyclones goals.
Iowa State made two mistakes that had the potential to be game-changing. The first was when Andrew Sacca snuck the puck past goalie Nikita Kozak. It was ruled that the puck didn’t completely cross the goal line keeping the Bobcats off the board.
The second was when it looked like Iowa State had pushed their lead to 2-0. However, before the goal was scored, a slashing penalty was called on the Cyclones that negated the goal.
The Bobcats could not capitalize on those mistakes, though. The team could not manage a way to get the puck into the back of the net tonight.
“Definitely puck luck is a little bit of it,” Bell said.
The Bobcats stuck right with Iowa State until three minutes left when the final goal was scored. Ohio was still looking for that one play to turn the momentum back in their favor. A play that never came for the Bobcats.
“Last night, we were able to make some plays and get the puck to the back of the net,” Bell said. “We were just one or two plays away from walking away with a victory.”