CINCINNATI, OH – Another disappointing loss to start the 2016-17 campaign for the Cincinnati Cyclones as they fell to 0-2 on the year, dropping a 2-1 contest at the hands of the Indy Fuel. Similar to Friday night, the Cyclones fell behind and just could not catch up. They again in the later stages, they pushed the Fuel trying to tie things up and just fell short. It can simply be summed up as too little too late.
The first period was a little bit more subdued compared to the fire drill start of Friday’s game. There wasn’t as much offensive pressure on either side, as they both kind of just sitting back waiting to see what happened. Nothing seemed to go through on either side until there was 4.5 seconds left on the clock, and a lucky bounce went the Fuel’s way that led a to a 2-on-1 shorthanded breakaway and Tyler Currier cashed in to put the Fuel up 1-0 heading into the second frame.
Indy would increase their lead to a pair midway through the second period as sheer dumb luck bounce again went Indy’s way. Alex Wideman from behind the goal line, threw it towards the front of the net and it bounced off a Cyclone skate and past goaltender Mark Visentin to make it 2-0 Indy on Wideman’s third goal of the weekend.
Cincinnati would make a push late to pull even as Dominic Zombo was crashing the net looking for a rebound, and buried what he was looking for to pull the Cyclones within 2-1. That would be all she wrote as Jake Hildebrand and the Indy Fuel defense would stay strong to hold onto a 2-1 victory, and the opening weekend sweep of Cincinnati.
Hildebrand once again, stood on his head stopping 23 of 24 Cincinnati shots on the night. Visentin had a solid outing as well after the rough night he had on Friday, stopping 19 of the 21 Fuel offerings he faced this evening.
Just a very uninspired effort from the Cyclones until that last minute spark in the third period. Indy just flat out beat them both physically and mentally to the point of exhaustion. And credit to that goes to Fuel Head Coach, Bernie John, for the fantastic job he’s done with the Fuel in his short time as the man behind the bench. The Fuel defense was extremely solid. They gave the Cyclones little to no breathing room to work with. In fact, if you were in a Cincinnati jersey out there and you picked up the puck, you had two-three seconds top before an Indy player was wearing you like a sweater.
Simplicity is going to be the key for this Cyclones team moving forward. A lot of guys on this team were just trying to do too much, trying to do this magician stuff with the puck, and just trying to make plays that weren’t there, and it cost them in the end. And for as sturdy as the Fuel’s defense was, they were having none of it.
Talking with a lot of people throughout the ECHL, everybody had very high expectations of this group coming into the season, and for them to come out and give the performance they did was just a big disappointment. Not many people had the thought of Cincinnati dropping both of their opening weekend games in their heads coming into the weekend.
There is a bright spot in all of this though. There’s a reason we play 72 games in a season, instead of two. The talent is there. They have two days off to figure out whatever it is they are missing before the Toledo Walleye come into town on Tuesday night as Cincinnati searches for their first victory of the season.