From The Standard
By Stephen Terrill and Blake Biswell
The Ice Bears have gone 0-2-2 in their last four games as they are looking for some answers late in the season.
The two losses came last weekend to No. 6 Central Oklahoma in what became the Western Collegiate Hockey League title series. The two overtime losses came this weekend to the No. 13 Maryville Saints. MSU lost the first game in a shootout 2-1, and the second in overtime 4-3. The Ice Bears were competitive, but the Saints’ tight-checking game made it difficult for the offense to flow.
“We knew (Maryville) was a good team coming in,” head coach Jeremy Law said. “I think we just played okay. We weren’t at the top of our game.”
Part of not being at the top of their game involves the loss of a couple of key offensive players. Forward Kayson Gallant, who led the team in scoring during the fall semester, is out for the rest of the season due to academic eligibility issues. His linemate, captain Hunter Cooley, who is normally another reliable source of offense, is dealing with an upper-body injury and is considered “day-to-day.” He did not play against Maryville.
“Those are two big pieces on our offense, so we need some other guys to step up,” Law said. “Definitely it looked like we were missing an offensive punch.”
Missouri State does not have long to solve that problem, they only have four regular season games before the American Collegiate Hockey Association’s national tournament in mid-March. MSU looks to be a guaranteed team with their national ranking and future schedule helping them in the computer algorithm.
“We’re not quite there yet,” Law said. “At this time of year you need to be peaking, and we are close to that. I’d give us an 80% recently.”
Here’s how the games against Maryville played out:
Friday night’s game was a closely contested affair from the drop of the puck.
The Ice Bears were granted a power-play with less than a minute in but were unable to score with the man advantage.
Maryville were able to strike first as forward Jake Chartier scored to put the Saints up 1-0 with 11 minutes left in the first period.
The Saints were able maintain their lead even after numerous power play opportunities for MSU and sported a one goal advantage into the third period.
With just minutes remaining, MSU finally took advantage of a power play as forward Carlo Wittor scored his first goal as an Ice Bear. It was enough to take the game into overtime in the early hours of Saturday morning.
A scoreless overtime forced a shootout where Maryville topped MSU and the Saints won game one.
As Friday night’s game stretched into Saturday, the Ice Bears had a small amount of time before they had to square off again for game two.
MSU forward Matt McGowan scored the first goal of the game and his tenth goal of the season as the Ice Bears took a 1-0 lead at the seven minute mark in period one. The Saints equalized short handed and the score was 1-1 after 20 minutes.
Goals were scored in bunches in the second period as each team headed into the second intermission with three goals a piece. Forwards Jacob Weithaupt and Jarred Bratton were both able to find the back of the net for MSU in the second.
The game headed to overtime for the second night in a row after a scoreless third period. Saturday’s contest would end 4-3 in favor of Maryville as Saints defensemen Timon Prexlor scored the overtime winner.
The Ice Bears next game will be against the ACHA first ranked Lindenwood University Friday, Feb. 11 at Jordan Valley Ice Park.
(Originally published at http://www.the-standard.org/sports/missouri-state-ice-bears-trying-to-find-their-best-game-as-the-regular-season-nears/article_b0928abc-87c3-11ec-89f8-5b76a1dde34a.html)