The Missouri State Ice Bears split a two-game series against Iowa State over the weekend on Jan. 22 and 23.
MSU took the Friday game 3-2, the Ice Bears’ first win of the season. Senior goaltender Bailey Stephens stopped 39 Iowa State shots in the win.
Senior defenseman Derek Smith scored MSU’s first goal of the weekend to tie the game 1-1. Iowa State scored in the second period to make it 2-1, then the “Blue” line took over.
Missouri State’s top line of Josh Bell, Alex Rubin and Hunter Cooley combined to score the final two goals, one from Bell and one from Cooley. The Ice Bears won 3-2.
“I thought we battled really hard in the second and third periods,” head coach Jeremy Law said. “The character and effort was there and it was great.”
Law said a big part of the win came from solid play in the defensive zone.
“We kept it simple in the D-zone,” Law said. “Just played really well defensively.”
It was Iowa State that walked away with a win on Saturday, a 5-4 game.
Iowa State took a 2-0 lead in the first period — scoring both on the powerplay.
Henrik Lohman and Cooley scored two goals in the second but so did ISU. The Cyclones led 4-2 going into the final period.
Iowa State scored to open the third, making it 5-2. Stewart Hopkins and Rubin found the back of the net to make it 5-4 ISU, a score that held the rest of the game.
Law said penalties really hurt the team on Saturday.
“We gave them two goals in the first (period) on three penalties we took,” Law said. “When you spot a team a lead like that, it’s momentum for them.”
Penalties were also a problem when MSU opened the season at home against Iowa State. During the Saturday game, the Ice Bears saw a 3-0 lead turn into a 4-3 deficit in a matter of minutes due in part to Iowa State getting power plays.
Law said the team will improve in that area.
“There has to be accountability there,” Law said. “If guys are going to take stupid penalties — we’re going to put them in the stands and not play.”
The Ice Bears move to 1-4-1 on the season after the series. They play next at home against Maryville on Jan. 29 and 30.
Follow Stephen Terrill on Twitter, @stevethe2nd
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