Cyclones make National Tournament: A first for the D3 program
Regional Tournament: Lincoln, Nebraska
The 2012 Cyclone D3 team made the ACHA Division 3 National Tournament for the first time in their programs history. The Cyclones spent most of the season ranked 2nd behind Pacific Powerhouse College of the Canyons. Since the top two teams in each region earn a bye to National Tournament the Cyclones were shocked when Colorado State jumped them in the final ranking, even though the Clones had beat the Rams in the Clash. The D3 squad had to make arrangements to travel to Fremont, NE to play in the Regional Tournament, a tournament that saw Iowa State lose in the finals two years in row. Top two teams move on from each regional tournament to Nattys. The #3 Cyclones faced #10 Northern Arizona in the first game and won 4-2. The rest of the tournament saw #6C-SUN beat #7 Iowa, #8 Santa Rosa JuCo upset #5 University of Colorado, and #4 Nebraska knock off #9 South Dakota State. Iowa State faced Santa Rosa JuCo in the finals and prevailed 5-3 earning them a trip to the National Tournament for the first time in their history. The Tournament was held over spring break in Vineland, NJ and was hosted by Empire Hockey.
GAME 1: #3 Iowa State vs. #2 Saginaw Valley State Cardinals
The Cyclones, who many considered to be underdogs with no shot, had a tough road drawing National favorite Saginaw Valley State in the first round. Saginaw Valley State, the only D3 team ever to win back to back National Championships, was led by 2 time National Player of the year Jon Tibaudo (35-38-73). The Cyclones took a 1-0 lead 12:30 into the 1st on an unbelievable shot by Cyclone forward Tucker Schweer (9-4-13)(asst. by Cornick and Ludvicek). The Cyclones played solid D, controlling the middle and backed by net-minder Scott Ismond (8-1, 1.79, 0.93%), and with 3 seconds left in the 1st period ISU forward Kean Ludvicek (21-16-37) got behind the Cardinals D and beat SVS goalie Joe Kirkland (9-0-1, 3.04, 0.88%) glove side to give the Cyclones a 2-0 lead heading into the 1st intermission.
The second period was a defensive battle with both goalies playing strong. Iowa State was being out shot 2-1 as the Cardinals prolific offense pelted Ismond. Izzy stood tall and the Cyclones controlled the middle of the ice, executing their game-plan perfectly, forcing Saginaw Valley State to shoot from the outside.The Cyclones were forced to kill off three penalties in the 2nd. Possibly the most important play of the game was when Saginaw Valley continued to control the puck for roughly :45 on the pp ignoring the delayed penalty being signaled by the ref. This decision turned a 1:00 5x3 opportunity into a :15 5x3 and the Cyclones were able to kill off both. The teams headed into the locker-room and began to prepare for the biggest period of their tournament journey so far.
The Cyclones game out flying as freshman center Johnny Domina (18-26-44) buried a shot just 1:21 into the 3rd giving the Clones a commanding 3-0 lead. A relentless Saginaw Valley team made it interesting scoring 2 goals to bring them within 1. In the end Iowa States defense controlled where the Cardinal shots were being taking from and goalie Scott Ismond was too strong as the Cyclones sent shock waves through the tournament beating Saginaw Valley State 3-2.
Stats:(Official score-sheet located in documents tab)
Score: ISU-3 SVS-2
Shots on goal: ISU-25 SVS-46
Special Teams: ISU-0-0PP SVS-0-4PP , ISU-4-4Pk SV-0-0PK
Game 2: #3 Iowa State vs. #1 Southern Connecticut State Owls
Nobody thought that the Cyclones would be able to repeat their game 1 performance the next day. SCSU was the #1 seed coming out of the Atlantic and contained what some dubbed as the "three headed monster", junior forwards Joe Innamorato(9-7-16,17GP), Steve Rosenkrantz(23-33-56), and junior defenseman Anthony Dercole. The first period was a battle, Southern Conn was a physical team who could move the puck and had a deep bench. After nearly 19 minutes of scoreless hockey it was one of the "big three", Innamorato who got the Owls on the board first after capitalizing on a shorthanded break (asst. Rosenkrantz). Period 1 ended with ISU down just one goal after being out-shot 17-8. Referees were setting the tone early and each team had power-play chances. The Cyclones took 3 penalties in the first, the toughest being a 5 minute boarding major against Sophomore Mason Uvodich. SCSU took 3 penalties of their own.
Much like game 1 the second period was defensive drawl, each goalie stood tall keeping their respected teams in the game. Each team clamped down in their D-Zone, ISU allowing 8 shots and SCSU giving up 6. Cyclone tendy Scott Ismond was a wall stopping everything the came his way. After starting slow this Iowa State team began to thrive under the pressure of this tournament killing off another 5 minute penalty, this time assessed to Sophomore stand out defensemen Mike Lopez. Period 2 ended 1-0. Iowa State headed to the locker-room knowing that Southern Conn had thrown everything they had at this relentless Cyclone team and only had a 1 goal lead to show for it.
The third period was something of legend. "Monster" number 3 Dercole pounded home a shot from the point just 8 seconds into the period. Most teams would have crumpled. A power-play goal 8 seconds into the 3rd giving SCSU a 2-0 lead, it was a devastating blow. Something was different on the ISU bench though, not one guy hung his head or slammed his stick. In fact, you could feel the energy in the rink change as senior Captains Mike Scebold and Jordan Calpus took charge. Two minutes later Scebold ripped a shot from the point which was redirected in front by sophomore Kinsey Cornick. The puck found the back of the net and ISU was on the board with their first power-play goal of the tourney. Five minutes later sophomore forwards Mark Koske, Marty Janecke, and Mason Uvodich controlled the puck deep in SCSU's zone and found Junior defensemen Murphy Gillogly all along at the point. Gillogly's shot found it's way through the traffic and tied the game at 2. Less then a minute later the Owls scored to reclaim the lead and again forced the Cyclones into a situation that truly tested the makeup of this team. The answer? Their clutch, and clutch is everything. With less than 3 minutes to play freshman Johnny Domina went glove side, bar-down to tie it up as the Owls struggled to get a player on the ice after their penalty expired. The play was set up beautifully by Cornick and Scebold giving them each their 2nd point of the game. The biggest game of their college careers was heading to overtime.
OT was an intense back-and-forth battle, eventually the pressure proved to be too much and Southern Connecticut took a cross-checking penalty half-way through the period. The Owls were livid, arguing that it was a weak questionable call. Questionable or not it provided the Cyclones with an opportunity, and like it was stated above, Iowa State's Division 3 team is clutch. Koske wins the draw, using his body to shield the SCSU center and kicking the puck back to Mason Uvodich who drew the SCSU defender to him, opening up Jordan Calpus in the middle of the ice. Calpus' shot beat O'brien giving Iowa State a 4-3 victory and clinching a spot in the Final Four.
Score: ISU-4 SCSU-3
Shots on goal: ISU-30 SCSU-44
Special Teams: ISU-2-7PP SCSU-1-5PP ISU-4-5PK SCSU-5-7PK
2012 ACHA D3 National Tournament
By: Danny Tancredi
Chiseling and Breaking Down the Frozen Four
As a long awaited journey is about to conclude in a short termed tournament, four teams remain standing; all with the same goal in mind, to be the holding the trophy above their head feeling like they can pick up the world and conquer anything. The Frozen Four consists of Adrian College, Davenport University, Iowa State University, and Cal University of PA. All teams had quite the journey on this historic tournament that was like none other before it. From here on out it’s not about the stats, the favorites, how much team wins bye, and/or what they did in the past. It’s all on the individual team and it comes down to who’s going to work harder and wants it more.
Scott vs. Goliath
Two-time tournament champions, Saginaw Valley State University, a team with no shortage of goal scorers, squared up against Iowa State University. Going into the game most expectations for the new coming Iowa State were very low so on paper they didn’t have a realistic chance against the veteran Saginaw squad. Many believed the score board was going to be lit up with Saginaw’s high motored forwards like John Tibaudo, Saginaws point leader. It wasn’t a shocker that Saginaw controlled majority of the possession time throughout the entire game. However, the surprising part was Iowa State’s defenders who were blocking shots and taking away all passing lanes for Saginaw making their plenty of scoring chances ineffective. The player that stole the show was Iowa State’s goalie, Scott Ismond, who stopped 44 shots with a save percentage of .957. Towards the final seconds the audience was in disbelief of what they were witnessing as well as the people that were told of the Cinderella story. Until the sound of the final horn the crowd was waiting to hear Al Michaels say, “Do you believe in miracles?!” Although it was just a pool game Iowa State gave all the other underdog teams hope and showed to everyone that doubted them that odds are just a number and that any obstacle can be conquered. Ismond knew his team were underdogs going into the tournament and had this to say, “We may be the Cinderella story, we may be the comeback guys, but it’s something we know we can do; and really if we know we are going against a big team we know they are only going to fall harder.” Iowa State made believers after that huge victory and will be an entertaining squad to watch for the duration of the tournament.
Fairy Tales Do Exist
Saginaw Valley State University won the ACHA National Championship Men’s Division 3 Conference in 2009 and 2010 but failed to make it a “three-peat” in 2011. One significant factor in their collapse in 2011 was the major injury to their star starting forward, Jon Tibaudo, who is arguably one of the top players in the conference at his position. Jon tore his ACL in only the fourth game of the season which led to a drought in Saginaw’s scoring. Tibaudo led the team in scoring from ‘06-’10 which is why he is a scoring threat to all teams that have Saginaw on their schedule. Tibaudo’s game style is making plays with whatever defenses will throw at him due to his great vision and playmaking while having elite shooting abilities which is what makes him one of the most feared players to touch the ice. Going into the tournament, expectations were high for Saginaw’s complete and healthy roster with Tibaudo healthy but he acknowledged that he is just a factor to the roster but they can win with out him because of all the talent the team has as a whole. Unfortunately the comeback story didn’t go as plan as the underdog story upset the “older brother” in the league and rewrote the script. The next day Saginaw found themselves trailing again within the beginning stages of the third period. Instead this time it was against Loyola and Saginaw was about to face watching their potential return to stardom obliterate and end their run at the championship way before anyone expected. However, in the world of sports the future can change in the blink of an eye as they overcame the potential discouragement that most teams would face psychologically in a position related to that type of atmosphere and scored two goals in the third to lead them to a 5-4 victory. Dylan Welch had a hat-trick with one of his goals being the game winner and said this to the people that counted the teams out that lost yesterday, “We shouldn’t be counted out.” Saginaw after that victory was potentially right back in the race with the chance to hold the trophy and experiencing the pandemonium at the end of the tournament. However their fate was in the hands of Southern Connecticut who squared off against the team that upset them the day before, Iowa State University. Scott Ismond played the “dream crusher” role again making 41 saves in their 4-3 overtime victory and again left people in misbelief and proved that “Ismondsanity” is a tough wall to break and that they are a team that shouldn’t be overlooked. A passionate Ismond who was full of emotions, had this to say after that emotional victory, “Every win in this tournament is so emotional, it all means so much right now. Yesterday we were the underdogs; today we were Cinderella.” He had the uttermost respect for the two teams that they overcame thus far in the tournament and also felt lucky to work with such a great group of guys when it came to the chemistry that is Iowa States University’s Hockey Team.
Lets Get Ready to Rumble
By: Danny Tancredi and Jonathan Silberglied
As teams from all over the country arrive to Vineland, New Jersey for the ACHA Division 3 Mens Hockey National Tournament, the calm before the storm is slowly fading away. All of the hard work and massive amounts of preparation are about to pay off for one of these teams as the first games are approaching. Last year the College of the Canyons led by Head Coach John Taferner defeated Hope College led by former Coach of the Year Award winner Chris Van Timmeren for the national championship with a final score of 5-3. This years tournament championship is up for grabs as the talent level is very high and every team will compete to the very end in hopes that they will be the last one standing. As we preview the ACHA tournament, we preview and analyze predictions from players to watch to key tournament match-ups.
Skaters to watch:
Jon Tibaudo - Saginaw Valley State University - FirstTeam All-American led Saginaw to two previous Tournament Championships ('08-'09, '09-'10)
Brian Voogt - College of the Canyons - The captain of the Cougars led the ACHA in total points (110) and goals (60).
Chris Gale - Cal State Northridge - Gale finished 2nd overall in points, goals, and assists in the ACHA.
Connor Cafferty - University of Central Florida - The First Team All-American led the Knights to a 20+ win season and was fourth in the ACHA in points (82).
Christopher Kunnen - Hope College - The senior forward 1st Team All-American is looking to lead the Flying Dutchman to their 1st national championship.
Goalies to watch:
David Nowicki - Hope College - Nowicki had a 1.84 GAA and is considered the top goalie in the ACHA.
Kyle Slazyk - Florida Gulf Coast University - ACHA leader with 19 wins out of 22 for the Eagles.
Shane Bickar - California University of Pennsylvania - Bickar was key for the Vulcans with a save percentage of 0.930 on the season.
John Cruse - Davenport University - An all around solid goaltender with a 2.38 GAA and 0.910 save percentage.
Davenport University vs. College of the Canyons - The first game for the reigning champions is not an easy one as Davenport University looks to turn some heads and knock off the Cougars.
University of Alabama vs. Hope College - Hope College has a big test in the Crimson Tide in Day 2 of action. If the Flying Dutchman want to get back into the finals, they will have to beat Alabama.
Saginaw Valley State College vs. Southern Connecticuit - The most anticipated game of pool play is sure to be a thriller. Both teams have had regular season success and are looking to make a statement in the post-season. The winner of this game may find themselves in the ACHA finals.
Jon's Tournament MVP - John Tibaudo - Saginaw Valley State University
Danny's Tournament MVP - Christopher Kunnen - Hope College
Jon's Tournament Underdog - Iowa State University
Danny's Tournament Underdog - Colorado State University
Jon's Goalie of the Tournament - David Nowicki - Hope College
Danny's Goalie of the Tournament - Shane Bickar - California University of Pennsylvania
Jon's Tournament Winner - Hope College
Danny's Tournament Winner - Southern Connecticut
Key Story Lines:
-Saginaw's Forward, John Tibaudo, was sidelined majority of the 2010-2011 season with a major knee injury. Expect Saginaw to give a solid run in this years tournament like they did previously when Tibaudo was healthy and led them to two championships. Tibaudo was Saginaw's Point Leader from 2006 to 2010. Now a healthy Saginaw roster is looking to take back their thrown and once again be on top of the ACHA Mens Divison 3 Tournament.
-Hope College, a powerhouse yet prestigious hockey organization is known for making a run in the ACHA Mens Division 3 Tournament but have a history of falling short. Could this be the year that former Coach of the Year, Chris Van Timmeren, overcomes the monkey on the back that Hope College has faced the past two tournaments where they collapsed in the finals? With goalie David Nowicki, arguably one of the top ACHA goalies in net, it is very likely it could be.