Hockey edges Iowa State

The Illinois hockey team’s victory over Iowa State was especially sweet Friday night.

With their elimination at the hands of the Cyclones still in the heads of some of the veteran players, the Illini defeated their conference foe 2-1.

Illinois (8-0-1) came into the game short handed on defense after losing key defenseman Justin Wirt to a dislocated shoulder last week. Senior Gabe Heller was slated to fill in for Wirt but was thrown out of the game early in the first period for an illegal check.

Thankfully for Illinois, the defensive depth that head coach Chad Cassel had been confident in all week came to play. Mike Evans, Brian Pickett and Chris Peter stepped up and shut down the Iowa State attack.

With Heller out of the game, Peter joined the power play and scored the Illini’s first goal of the game in the first period.

In the second, Sam Fatigato streaked down the ice on the power play with captain Tim Gilbert riding his tail. Fatigato fired a strong pass to Gilbert who buried it past Iowa State goaltender Scott Ismond.

Illini goalie Angelo Sakellaropoulos had his fourth straight impressive game and almost had his third shutout in his last four tries. With 46 seconds left, Iowa State defenseman Kyle Van slid the puck past the sophomore goalie. It seemed whenever Sakellaropoulos left his angles opened, an Illini defenseman was always there to cut off the shot on a block.

Despite the victory, Illinois’ recent offensive struggles continued over from last weekend. The Illini outshot Iowa State 37-26, only managing to put the puck in the net twice.

Overall it was an impressive showing for Illinois as it knocked off a tough Iowa State team, by far its toughest opponent of the year so far.