MANCHESTER, NH – After getting blown out on Friday night by a score of 7-3 courtesy of the Manchester Monarchs, the Cincinnati Cyclones were able to bounce back, taking a 4-2 decision on Saturday night from the same Monarch squad.
Cincinnati got going halfway through the opening frame as Shawn O’Donnell snuck behind the Manchester defense and Monarchs goaltender, Colin Stevens glove side to put Cincinnati up 1-0. The Cyclones would strike again just moments later. After giving up three shorthanded goals through the first five games of the season, it was kind of nice being on the other side for a change. On the penalty kill, the puck eluded a Manchester defenseman, and Jordan Sims sped around him to cash in on a shorthanded breakaway to put the Cyclones ahead 2-0.
Cincinnati would tack on one more before the first period came to an end. Andrew Yogan, from the left circle, let loose a snipe top shelf on Stevens to put Cincinnati up 3-0 heading into the first intermission. Yogan’s tally would eventually prove to be the game-winner.
The first period was arguably the best period the Cyclones have played so far. They were absolutely all over the Monarchs, out-shooting them 10-4 through the first 20 minutes of play. However, in the middle frame, Manchester would shove back a little bit to make things interesting.
Just 3:14 into the second stanza, the Monarchs would get on the board with a greasy goal from Joe Diamond. With chaos in front of Cincinnati goaltender, Mark Visentin, Diamond was able to find the loose puck and slip it past a sprawling Visentin to pull the Monarchs within 3-1 for his second goal of the weekend. Halfway through the second period, Manchester would pull within one on a bit of a soft goal. Cory Ward was on the goal line, threw it towards the cage and found just a big enough hole on Visentin to squeeze the puck through to make it 3-2 Cincinnati.
That would be as close as Manchester would get as O’Donnell would pot his second of the night and third goal of the weekend, burying a rebound off a Peter LeBlanc shot to make it 4-2 Cincinnati, officially putting the game to bed.
It was a solid outing for Mark Visentin between the pipes, who picked up his first win of the season, stopping 26 of the 28 Manchester offerings he faced. That has to be a huge confidence booster for him as he struggled mightily the first couple weeks of the season. Tonight’s effort was arguably the best he has looked since being assigned to the Cyclones by Milwaukee. If he can be consistent with that kind of play, Cincinnati will be set down the road in goal.
The Monarchs went 4-for-5 on the power play Friday night en route to that 7-3 victory. The Cyclones received the message that “penalty box = bad,” only giving Manchester two power plays tonight, and were able to kill off both in the bounce back win effort.
The biggest thing was playing a full 60 minutes and giving a 110% effort each shift. Coaches Matt Macdonald and Patrick Wellar have been preaching that since day one and tonight, it finally came to fruition. Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come with this team and not just a “one and done” type of deal.
The Cyclones and Monarchs will close out this three-in-three series Sunday afternoon from the SNHU Arena in Manchester at 3:00pm EST.