CINCINNATI, OH – Goalie fights, clock malfunctions, shorthanded goals, power play goals, linesman getting decked, you name it, it happened at U.S. Bank Arena on Wednesday when the Cincinnati Cyclones welcomed in the Quad City Mallards for the seventh of nine meetings on the season between the two. The Cyclones came into this one with targets on the back of their heads as the Mallards were looking for revenge after being shutout by Cincinnati in Quad City just last Friday.
A fairly tame first period would see the Mallards open the scoring at the 6:39 mark of the opening frame. Pavel Jenys with a terrific set-up to find Jack Nevins streaking down the slot to beat Cincinnati goaltender, Michael Houser short-side to put the Mallards up 1-0.
Cincinnati would counter midway through the middle stanza with a shorthanded beauty from Nick Huard. Huard picked the pocket of a Quad City defenseman and went in on a clean breakaway as he slipped a backhand shot through the wickets of Mallards netminder, Adam Vay, to draw the Cyclones even at 1-1 and we’d head into the final frame deadlocked.
The Cyclones special teams would come through early in the third at the 6:19 mark. Not even five seconds into the power play, Craig Dalrymple unleashed a rocket from the blue line that beat Vay cleanly to put the Cyclones ahead by a 2-1 margin. Just over two minutes later, they would find the eventual game-winner. A horrendous turnover by the Mallards behind their own net led to multiple point-blank opportunities for Cincinnati, and Seth Ambroz buried the third chance to put the Cyclones ahead by a pair.
Then… it happened.
Halfway through the third period, all hell just broke loose. A massive hit behind the Mallards net by Brandon McNally led to mass chaos. As McNally heads up ice, he gets jumped by the goaltender, Vay, which leads to EVERYBDOY grabbing a partner. After the linesmen finally were able to separate Vay and McNally, Vay then proceeds to center ice to taunt Houser, which leads to fisticuffs between the two netminders. Vay, who just happens to be an amateur MMA fighter is his native country of Hungary, made quick work of Houser knocking him down in one punch. They each received game misconducts while Cincinnati’s Mark Visentin, and Quad City’s C.J. Motte had to finish the rest of the game in goal. You can bet the league will be reviewing that tape to decide if suspensions/fines are necessary.
The fight got national attention from news outlets like TSN, SB Nation, Yahoo Sports, etc. Although, you have to give Houser props for showing up. He didn’t want to fight, but that didn’t stop him from accepting Vay’s invite. After all, it’s almost like a guy who has never fought in his life squared up with an amateur MMA fighter. Stick taps to Vay though for reaching out to help Houser up off the ice as he could’ve gone a lot harder on him.
At 12:38 of the third, the Mallards would claw back within one. Right off the face-off, Nevins buried his second of the night high glove-side on Visentin to make it 3-2 Cincinnati, however it would not be enough as the Cyclones would claim their fifth straight victory.
Regardless of the outcome, it was probably one of the most memorable games of the season so far. From the fans, to the players, to the media, it was an absolute blast to be a part of. You really did miss out if you were not on hand to witness this game live.
Cincinnati now has possibly the biggest weekend of the season ahead of them. On Saturday night, the club will be in Atlanta to take on the Gladiators who sit just five points behind them in the South Division standings. The big one this weekend will be on Sunday afternoon when the Cyclones are in Greenville to do battle with the Swamp Rabbits, who Cincinnati sits just one point behind for the fourth and final playoff spot in the division.
Game Highlights down below. If you want to skip right to the shenanigans fest, it all occurs at the 1:08 mark of the video.