After a month off, the Missouri State Ice Bears returned to action on Friday, Jan. 11.
Having won their past four games, dating all the way back to Nov. 30 2018, there was some residual confidence coming into the second half of the 2018-19 season.
“It was tough, after not playing for a month,” head coach Jeremy Law said. “It’s almost like starting from scratch.”
On Friday night, the Ice Bears faced the Iowa State Cyclones.
The Cyclones going into the weekend series were 12-4-0 and had won three of their past four.
Law decided to start Brady Griffin in goal for the Ice Bears.
Friday night was one that Griffin would like to forget about.
Between the defense and Griffin, the Cyclones scored five goals on 27 shots.
“(You) can’t fault Griffin tonight,” Law said. “We played poorly in front of him, giving them too many opportunities and second chances.”
The biggest difference in the game, though, was special teams.
The Cyclones scored on both of their power play opportunities.
“Iowa State is operating at 25 percent on the powerplay,” Law said. “If you give them too many chances, they are going to connect.”
The first power-play goal came just past the five-minute mark, as Cyclone defenseman Nathan Marquardt scored his first of three goals on the night.
Law’s squad didn’t seem to get anything going offensively mustering just 20 shots on the night and not converting on three power plays.
Cyclone netminder Matt Goedeke had all the answers between the pipes.
After getting shut out on home ice on Friday night, the Ice Bears were looking to come out swinging on Saturday night.
“We were sluggish, slow and just got outplayed,” Law said.
Missouri State made sure to not miss out on special teams, going two of five with the man advantage.
While having five power plays of their own, the Ice Bears struggled to stay out of the penalty box themselves.
Giving Iowa State six power plays and allowing them to convert on two made the difference in Saturday’s contest.
Getting the start in between the pipes for the Ice Bears was sophomore Bailey Stephens.
Stephens turned away 46 of 51 shots faced, while playing just shy of a full 60 minutes.
Stephens kept the Ice Bears in the game.
The offense for Missouri State looked more focused on Saturday night.
The scoring started just before the 10-minute mark in the first period from forward Jordan Bratton.
The Cyclones netted their first goal at the 12-minute mark to tie the game up.
Defenseman Brennan Anderson; scored the first of his two goals within next two minutes.
Iowa State took the lead midway through the second period, and they never looked back.
The game winner for the Cyclones came early in the third period.
Missouri State tried rallying back with a late power-play goal from defenseman Chris Brown, but it seemed too little, too late for the Ice Bears.
As the Ice Bears come down the stretch, the team has a tough schedule.
“We’ve got some big rivalry games at home against Oklahoma and Mizzou,” Law said. “We expect big turnouts and an exciting atmosphere.”
Missouri State will hit the road to Colorado to face Colorado State on Jan. 17.
They will also face the University of Colorado on Jan. 18 and 19 before heading home six games.
The Ice Bears will face Lindenwood, Mizzou, Central Oklahoma and Oklahoma at the end of January into the beginning of February.