INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Cincinnati Cyclones the short trip to the Hoosier state capital on Friday night for their third of 12 total meetings with the Indy Fuel. The Cyclones came into this one looking for three things in particular. They need some much needed redemption after the Fuel swept them back on opening weekend during the first two games of the season. They also needed to break a six-game winless skid, and they needed to find a way to play a complete 60 minute game. Luckily for Cincinnati, they were able to kill three birds with one stone.
From beginning to end, the Cyclones just absolutely dominated this game.
No scoring would take place until the late stages of the opening period. At the 17:43 mark of the first, Arvin Atwal‘s point drive would get redirected by Dominic Zombo and past Indy goaltender, Jake Hildebrand, to make it 1-0 Cincinnati. The Cyclones would quickly make it a two-goal lead just moments later. On a shorthanded 2-on-1 rush, Seth Ambroz would drill a slap-shot past Hildebrand for his first goal of the season, putting the Cyclones ahead 2-0 after 20 minutes of play.
Indy would waste little time in getting back into it just 1:46 into the middle frame. Cincinnati netminder, Michael Houser stopped the initial shot but was unable to secure the rebound and Anthony Beauregard got the Fuel on the board, cutting the Cincinnati lead in half. From there on out, it was smooth sailing for the Cyclones.
Cincinnati would quickly restore their two-goal lead with an absolute gift from Hildebrand. He played the puck right down Broadway, right to the tape of Colin Mulvey, who had a wide-open cage to shoot at and make it 3-1 Cincinnati.
Less than two minutes later, the Cyclones would make it a three-goal lead. Newcomer, Shane Walsh with a beautiful no-look, behind the back pass right to Peter LeBlanc, who stuffed a shot short-side to make it 4-1 Cincinnati after two periods.
The final nail in the coffin would occur at the 13:40 mark of the third period. Walsh, from behind the net, was once again able to find the open man in the slot. This time, it was in the form of Tommy Mele, who blasted it past Hildebrand on the one-timer to make it 5-1 Cincinnati, which would be your final score.
It was a solid night for Houser between the pipes as he stopped 25 of the 26 Indy shots he faced. While at the other end, it was a not-so-good night for Hildebrand. He turned aside 32 of the 37 Cincinnati offerings that came his way.
If you’re a Cincinnati fan, you have to feel sorry a bit for Hildebrand. So many times early on in the season, you can say that whoever was in goal for the Cyclones was an army of one because the defense was just not there. Tonight, the shoe was on the other foot. Hildebrand got absolutely zero help from the Indy sweaters in front of him. The Cyclones controlled every aspect of this game, and it was a breath of fresh air after the rough patch of games beforehand.
It would seem that the big move the Cyclones made prior to the road trip to Indy has lit a bit of a spark. Earlier in the week, the team sent Kenny Ryan to the Utah Grizzlies for Walsh and Brandon McNally. Although, losing Ryan wasn’t ideal, the change seems to be making an early impact. Walsh was the first star of the game in Indy, and for good reason. He was an absolute stud creating offensive chance after chance after chance for every single shift he was out there.
The Cyclones will have a chance to bring the momentum back to Cincinnati on Saturday night for a 7:35pm EST face-off against the Missouri Mavericks, who are making their first ever visit to the Queen City.
Now, it’s common knoweledge that the Cyclones current leading point scorer, Andrew Yogan was called up to the AHL before the trip to Indy. After speaking with Cyclones broadcaster, Everett Fitzhugh, it’s actually an interesting story.
The Cyclones were actually already on the bus heading towards Indy when Yogan received the call-up (it was never confirmed as to which AHL team it was). The bus pulled over at a gas station to let Yogan off so he could Uber his way back to Cincinnati. About 15 minutes after Yogan got off the bus, Head Coach Matt Macdonald received a call from the AHL coach Yogan was supposed to sign with. Turns out, he couldn’t accept the call-up due to the fact he started the season in Europe. Because of this, if Yogan was to go to the AHL, he would have to sign a standard player contract (SPC). He was not allowed to sign a professional try-out (PTO), which is what he was offered.
Bad news: The Cyclones’ top point scorer sat at home in Cincinnati for basically nothing.
Good news: He’ll most likely be Cincinnati’s to keep this season because of that “Europe clause” the AHL has, so he won’t be going up and down like he did last season.
Yogan is still with the Cyclones and will be in the line-up against Missouri on Saturday night.