Hoping to find Effort in Iowa
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The Beavers are looking to improve their record in Iowa
Minot, N.D. — MSU moved into the number two spot in the eighth ACHA rankings going into this weekend’s match-up. The Beavers hit the road on Wednesday night to take on the number eight Iowa State (14-3-1) tonight and Saturday at the ISU Ice Arena. This weekend is going to be a mental test for the 10-2-1 Minot State squad.
The team is coming off a rough weekend in Arizona, going 1-2 against the number one Arizona State (19-0-0) and number 12 University of Arizona (8-8-0) and is determined to regain momentum. The west coast road trip resulted in a less than desirable collective performance.
“We need balance,” head coach Wade Regier said. “We need some guys to step up and make plays. We had a few guys that just weren’t ready to play and didn’t mentally prepare themselves to play against these top teams. We need the guys to realize it takes all 21 guys to win games.”
The hard-fought Thursday night match-up against the top two teams in the nation put MSU on the losing end of a 2-1 game against the Arizona State Sun Devils. A couple defensive breakdowns that ASU capitalized on were to blame. The Sun Devils remained undefeated and uprooted the Beavers from the top spot in the ACHA rankings.
Senior goaltender Wyatt Waselenchuk put the defeat into perspective:
“It was disappointing. There’s no two ways about it. I watched the game tape, and I like the way we competed. They have a pretty good team down there, but they took that win pretty seriously. They were pretty excited to beat us, and it was a wake-up call. From now on, we know that we have that target on our back and everyone is going to be gunning for us. We have to come to the rink with a little harder, a little better work ethic.”
The loss to the Sun Devils set the tone for the weekend. Friday’s match-up with the Wildcats resulted in a 3-2 loss for Minot. In this game, consistency showed with some players. The goals came from last year’s co-leader and this year’s leader thus far in points for the Beavers: junior captain Michael Jordan and freshman Jeremy Johnson. Single player efforts weren’t enough to walk away unscathed in the game.
“The guys couldn’t shake off the loss from [Arizona State],” Regier said, “and couldn’t refocus the next night. We made a lot of mistakes and they took advantage of them.”
U of A set the tone for the game early, with a 1-0 lead in the first period. The Beavers couldn’t regain control although able to generate a goal a period from there on out. Waselenchuk had 45 saves in the loss.
However, it wasn’t all lackluster in Arizona. Third time was a charm for the Beavers. MSU was able to generate a solid 5-3 victory on Saturday night in the final game of the road trip against the Wildcats. Jordan led the led the team with three points (2 goals, 1 assist) and Riley Hengen tallied an impressive 54 saves.
Arizona is now in the past, and the Beavers have a new task at hand: Iowa State. The boys completed a short practice week on Wednesday afternoon at the All-Seasons Arena to board a bus headed to Iowa for a two-game series. Iowa State is coming off a split-game series with the number three Robert Morris University (IL) (11-1-0) last weekend.
“Hopefully, it’s going to be a new focused, re-energized team,” Regier said. “Iowa State is a very good team. Statistically they are better than (the University of Arizona) who we lost too.”
The Beavers have no-doubt been finding adversity the past few weeks. Injuries have been overbearing and the pace of the game has been rather dull overall. The roster will not include junior assistant captain and veteran defenseman Brad Olynyk and senior forward Will Kinsman again this weekend who both remain on the injured list indefinitely with concussions. However, the coaching staff embraces the test and looks at the situation in the long run.
“We are certainly not rushing them back,” said Regier. “Concussions take time. We have a lot of guys that are injured, so it’s an opportunity for some guys to get some ice time. Hopefully our guys are ready for it.”
The Beavers regain freshman Sean Delwo this weekend, coming back from a separated shoulder. Delwo has contributed 10 points (5 goals, 5 assists) in 10 games for the Beavers this season. He didn’t take the ice last weekend due to the injury.,/p>
Much like the Maysa Arena, the ISU Ice Arena in Ames, Iowa State holds rowdy fans that contribute to the overall game atmosphere. It puts the Beavers at a slight disadvantage, lacking the overwhelming support they normally see on home ice. Combined with an effort that has been found wanting, the young men of Beaver Hockey are looking within themselves and the hours of practice they have put in on the ice for inspiration.
“It’s going to be a tough atmosphere,” Waselenchuk said. “[Iowa State] has very good fans, but we need to create our own energy. We lacked it this past weekend.”
While the Beavers are no-doubt in a small rut at this point of the season, it’s nothing new. Looking at past years, this time of the semester and year in Minot takes a toll. The weather is drastically changing, causing widespread sickness. These student athletes are also trying to find the balance with school at this tough spot in the semester. While facing the hardship head on, it still shows with past results.
Researching this recurring downfall further, one only has to go back one year. All the national championship team’s losses came within just over a month’s span. It started on October 18th against Adrian College sweeping last year’s team in a two game stretched out series that was sandwiched between a split-game series with the in-state rival Williston State Tetons and ended in late November with a 6-5, 7-1 split-game series with Ohio University.
“We need to just have fun out there,” Waselenchuk said. “It’s not the end of the world. We still have a long way to go and are still a very good team.”
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Media Relations Intern
Minot State Hockey