The No. 18 Missouri State Ice Bears are returning home this weekend after spending the last two weekends on the road.
It was an eventful road trip. The first weekend, the Ice Bears played the No. 2 team in the American Collegiate Hockey Association — Lindenwood University. The Lions are coached by former NHL player Rick Zombo and are actively pursuing a jump from the club level to the NCAA Division I level. They have a few NCAA teams on their schedule.
MSU dropped both games, losing 5-0 and 5-2.
Despite the losses, head coach Jeremy Law said the games had several positive signs.
“I thought we played well,” Law said. “(Lindenwood) is such a powerhouse. I feel the game was closer than the score, but I thought it was a good weekend.”
Team captain Hunter Cooley said it was a good chance to see how the Ice Bears stack up against top competition.
“It showed us basically where we stand with the big dogs,” Cooley said. “I think we showed that we can play on the same ice as them and we know what we got to work towards.”
The next weekend was at Colorado State to open up Western Collegiate Hockey League play, which is MSU’s conference. The Rams did not play last season and finished sixth in the WCHL in 2019-20.
Missouri State won both games, winning game one 3-1 and game two 4-1.
“We did what we needed to do that series,” Law said. “I don’t think we played our A game. We needed to give everything even when we were already in control of the game. After the first period (in game one) we were outshooting them 22-6. It’s a coaching challenge to get your team to play like you’re playing Lindenwood when you’re dominating a game.”
The Ice Bears will face off against a somewhat unfamiliar opponent this weekend in Grand Canyon.
“We don’t know a lot about (Grand Canyon) at all,” Law said. “We don’t know a lot, but we’re going to prepare and expect them to be a good team.”
GCU’s lack of game footage leaves the Ice Bears coaching staff in a bit of a bind when it comes to game preparation, but they plan to learn more about their systems and some line variations at their game against Maryville on Thursday.
The Antelopes will enter the Jordan Valley Ice Park sporting a 1-2 record after their Thursday evening matchup resulted in a 7-4 loss to the Saints.
Cooley said that while he is unsure of what Grand Canyon will bring to the ice this weekend, he remains confident in his team. “I'm not sure how great they are,” said Cooley. “But whenever we play our best game, we’ll be able to bring home a couple W’s.”
The Friday game will begin at 7:05 p.m., and the Saturday game at 5:05 p.m. Both games will be broadcasted on the WebSportsRadio YouTube channel.
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