The Cincinnati Cyclones welcomed the Quad City Mallards into U.S. Bank Arena for the first time on Friday night in front of crowd of about 7,000 for Teddy Bear Toss & Throwback Night. It was a battle for Midwest Division supremacy as both teams came into the contest in a 1st place deadlock.
It was a bit of a slow start for the Cyclones. In the first 10-12 minutes of the hockey game, Quad City would dictate a majority of the play and had outshot the Cyclones 7-2 at that point. Then the Mallards would get into some penalty trouble that would eventually seal their fate. On back-to-back power plays late in the first, the Cyclones would convert on both of them to take a 2-0 lead into the locker room. The first one being from Jack Downing. Downing snuck in the back door, not a single Mallard covering him, centering pass on the money and he slammed in the first goal of the night. The second one coming from Joe Pendenza. Zach Budish would force a turnover behind the Mallard net, send it out to Pendenza who was all alone, and all Pendenza had to do was tap it in.
We would not see any more scoring until the 3rd period. Just a couple minutes in, Quad City would finally break through Cincinnati goaltender, Brad Thiessen. Matt Neal would bomb one from the top of the right circle past Thiessen and in to put the Mallards on the board. However it would not be enough as Joe Pendenza would seal it with an empty net goal with 17 seconds left to secure a 3-1 Cincinnati win.
The Cyclones improve to 7-2-1, and move into 1st place in the Midwest Division while the Mallards fall to 5-5-3.
The Cyclones are back in action Saturday night as they head North to visit Kalamazoo for the 2nd and final time of the season against the K-Wings.