CBR File photo

Hunter Cooley drives the puck to the net. Missouri State hockey fell 3-2 to Lindenwood on Feb. 26.

The Missouri State Ice Bears were on the penalty kill protecting a two goal lead with six minutes left in a game against Midland.

Not the most opportune time to lose your stick.

But defenseman Samuel Frederick lost his as Midland was entering the offensive zone, then senior forward Alex Rubin gave his stick to him.

The now-stickless Rubin went over and leveled a Midland player along the boards, then did a sliding kick to get the puck out of the zone, effectively ending Midland’s powerplay. The Ice Bears went on to win the game 8-5.

The whole sequence was just a usual play for one of the players on the Ice Bears’ top line consisting of junior Hunter Cooley, senior Josh Bell and Rubin.

Head coach Jeremy Law has them labeled as the “Blue Line” on the white board in his office, and it’s a line combination he has not changed in over two years.

“They are our hardest workers at practice — they never take a shift off,” Law said. “Their chemistry is great; they play so well together. But also, their work ethic. They hate losing, but they love winning.”

When it comes to leading by example, Bell said he makes sure he is the first to do things.

“I don’t take a shift off,” Bell said. “The three of us don’t really ask something from someone else that I wouldn’t go out and do myself.”

It is serving them well on the ice. This year they have combined for 42 points — 22 goals, 20 assists — and have been running through teams.

Even against No. 1 Lindenwood on Feb. 26 and 27, the line was a consistent threat to score. Cooley scored a powerplay goal in the first game, and in the second game, the trio ran a set play on an offensive zone faceoff which nearly resulted in an easy tap-in goal.

Bell is the most dangerous player on the ice in an MSU jersey nearly every game. He averages 1.58 points per game with nine goals and 10 assists in 12 contests. He also spends time on the Ice Bears’ penalty kill.

Rubin is a strong winger with a quick shot. Even as a winger, he is strong in the faceoff circle, and he is often the faceoff man for his penalty killing unit.

Cooley does not have the flashy point totals Bell has, but he has a lot to do with the line’s success.

“He’s so smart,” Law said of Cooley. “He’s got a good hockey sense. He knows when to move the puck, when to shoot. He really is a complete player. On top of that, he plays good defense.”

Law said the complete player description could be extended to all three of the forwards.

“They are our best five-on-five unit, our best power play unit and some of our better penalty killers,” Law said.

Even with all of the hard work it takes to do everything the trio does, Cooley said it is a lot of fun to play together.

“It’s unreal playing with them,” Cooley said. “I couldn’t ask for better linemates. (Rubin and Bell) are great players, they’re gritty and they wear their heart on their sleeve. I couldn't really ask for much more. I’m just happy we’ve stuck together.”

The Ice Bears play next at Maryville University on March 5 and 6.

The Missouri State Ice Bears were on the penalty kill protecting a two goal lead with six minutes left in a game against Midland.

Not the most opportune time to lose your stick.

But defenseman Samuel Frederick lost his as Midland was entering the offensive zone, then senior forward Alex Rubin gave his stick to him.

The now-stickless Rubin went over and leveled a Midland player along the boards, then did a sliding kick to get the puck out of the zone, effectively ending Midland’s powerplay. The Ice Bears went on to win the game 8-5.

The whole sequence was just a usual play for one of the players on the Ice Bears’ top line consisting of junior Hunter Cooley, senior Josh Bell and Rubin.

Head coach Jeremy Law has them labeled as the “Blue Line” on the white board in his office, and it’s a line combination he has not changed in over two years.

“They are our hardest workers at practice — they never take a shift off,” Law said. “Their chemistry is great; they play so well together. But also, their work ethic. They hate losing, but they love winning.”

When it comes to leading by example, Bell said he makes sure he is the first to do things.

“I don’t take a shift off,” Bell said. “The three of us don’t really ask something from someone else that I wouldn’t go out and do myself.”

It is serving them well on the ice. This year they have combined for 42 points — 22 goals, 20 assists — and have been running through teams.

Even against No. 1 Lindenwood on Feb. 26 and 27, the line was a consistent threat to score. Cooley scored a powerplay goal in the first game, and in the second game, the trio ran a set play on an offensive zone faceoff which nearly resulted in an easy tap-in goal.

Bell is the most dangerous player on the ice in an MSU jersey nearly every game. He averages 1.58 points per game with nine goals and 10 assists in 12 contests. He also spends time on the Ice Bears’ penalty kill.

Rubin is a strong winger with a quick shot. Even as a winger, he is strong in the faceoff circle, and he is often the faceoff man for his penalty killing unit.

Cooley does not have the flashy point totals Bell has, but he has a lot to do with the line’s success.

“He’s so smart,” Law said of Cooley. “He’s got a good hockey sense. He knows when to move the puck, when to shoot. He really is a complete player. On top of that, he plays good defense.”

Law said the complete player description could be extended to all three of the forwards.

“They are our best five-on-five unit, our best power play unit and some of our better penalty killers,” Law said.

Even with all of the hard work it takes to do everything the trio does, Cooley said it is a lot of fun to play together.

“It’s unreal playing with them,” Cooley said. “I couldn’t ask for better linemates. (Rubin and Bell) are great players, they’re gritty and they wear their heart on their sleeve. I couldn't really ask for much more. I’m just happy we’ve stuck together.”

The Ice Bears play next at Maryville University on March 5 and 6.

Follow Stephen Terrill on Twitter, @stevethe2nd

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