MOLINE, IL – The Cincinnati Cyclones made the six hour trek from the Queen City to the Quad Cities for the first time this season to do battle with the Quad City Mallards, who sat just two points behind the Cyclones in the Midwest Division coming into the evening.
Ever since Quad City, along with the six other remaining Central Hockey League teams, joined the ECHL last season, Cincinnati had yet to suffer a defeat against the Mallards.
The streak came to an abrupt end on Saturday night at the i-Wireless Center in Moline.
Things got ugly quick for the Cyclones, as they allowed the first goal just a few short minutes into the hockey game. Alex Gudbranson’s point shot was tipped by Matt Neal, and over the shoulder of Cincinnati goaltender, Brad Thiessen, for an early 1-0 Quad City lead. The Mallards held Cincinnati to just seven shots through the first 20 minutes.
The Mallards would add onto that lead early in the 2nd period, striking again just over four minutes into the frame. On the power play, Quad City’s charging offense made the Cincinnati defense look straight up silly. Zach Pochiro danced around a pair of Cincinnati d-men, put a shot on Thiessen, it trickled into the crease, and Olivier Archambault was there to clean up the rebound to make it 2-0 Quad City.
Late in the third period, Cincinnati would finally get something going. Joe Wilson behind the net, found Zach Budish in the slot who was able to finally get one by Quad City goaltender Brody Hoffman, to end the shutout bid. The 3rd period would be Cincinnati’s best period, as they outshot the Mallards 14-8 in the frame. Unfortunately, the last minute comeback push was too little too late, as the Mallards were able to hold on for the 2-1 win for their first ever victory against the Cyclones.
The two teams currently sit in a 1st place deadlock in the Midwest Division. Fortunately for Cincinnati, they have three games in hand.
The two teams will meet again Tuesday night, as the Cyclones return home to U.S. Bank Arena, before hitting the road yet again for Greenville, SC next weekend for their two only meetings of the season with the Swamp Rabbits.