For the first and only two meetings of the season, the Cincinnati Cyclones hit the road for North Charleston, South Carolina to do battle with a very familiar foe in the South Carolina Stingrays. Coming into the weekend set, South Carolina was rocking an army of former Cyclones. Forwards Colin Mulvey, Stephan Vigier, and David Pacan, along with goaltenders Mark Dekanich, and Branden Komm, all called Cincinnati home at one point in their careers. On the Cincinnati side, they had a pair of former Stingrays in forwards Jack Downing and Branden Gracel.
The former Cyclones in South Carolina made their presence known and all found a way to contribute in some way, shape, or form against their former Cincinnati team.
About Saturday: Remember when Mike Embach was traded out of Cincinnati and found himself in Fort Wayne later down the road? And how he continuously found ways to score against the Cyclones? Pretty much the same deal here, except in the form of David Pacan. Second in scoring with Cincinnati last season tallying 40 points, Pacan was all over the place Saturday night and managed to rack up his second hat trick of the season. The night wads capped off when Brett Cameron hit the empty net, sealing South Carolina a 4-1 win. Christiaan Minella scored the lone Cincinnati goal. Mark Dekanich stopped 28 of 29 Cincinnati shots, while on the other side, Neil Conway stopped 32 of 35 South Carolina shots on the evening.
About Sunday: After getting dominated in just about every aspect on Saturday, it didn’t look much different to Sunday afternoon’s tilt. In the first period alone, the Stingrays outshot Cincinnati by a whopping 19-6 total. However it was Cincinnati who was on top with that big shot differential as Zach Budish got some puck luck late in the first, ringing it off the inside cross bar and out to put Cincinnati up 1-0. Former Cyclone, Colin Mulvey would tie it up early in the second period. The Cyclones would answer back with an “almost power play goal” from Nick Huard late in the frame. Andrew Yogan would extend the lead to 3-1 with a shorthanded goal late in the third. When you thought the Stingrays were done, in the final minute, Mulvey is there to bat in a rebound, pulling the Rays to 3-2. Cody Carlson would hit the empty net to seal a 4-2 Cincinnati win. It was their first win against South Carolina since February 21st, 2014. Brandon Whitney was sensational in goal for the Clones, stopped 43 of 45 South Carolina shots, earning him the first star.
Between Vigier, Pacan, and Mulvey, the former Cyclones tallied seven points on the weekend, picking up at least two points each.
It was not a strong weekend defensively for the Cyclones, as South Carolina dominated the shots on goal department 80-57. It also doesn’t help the fact that Cincinnati’s top two defensemen in Garrett Noonan and Steve Weinstein are both in the American Hockey League.
This Cincinnati team is absolutely decimated by call-ups. In addition to Noonan and Weinstein: Jonathan Diaby, Peter Quenneville, and Brad Thiessen are also in the AHL. Both Columbus Blue Jackets goalies in Sergei Bobrovsky and Curtis McElhinney are injured. It is likely we could see Neil Conway get the call to Lake Erie over the next 12-24 hours to back-up Thiessen.
If Conway does indeed get called up, will Cincinnati be “that ECHL team” that calls up Shannon Szabados from the SPHL to back-up Brandon Whitney?
They certainly have their work cut out for them with the road ahead as they head to Atlanta, GA on Wednesday this week for their first of two meetings with the Gladiators this season before heading to Norfolk, VA to meet-up with the Admirals on Friday and Saturday.