CINCINNATI, OH – It was Breast Cancer Awareness/Pink in the Rink night in Downtown Cincinnati on Saturday night as the Cyclones played host to their divisional rival, the Quad City Mallards. 8,391 people packed U.S. Bank Arena to see the ice surface painted pink, as well as special black and pink jerseys donned by the Cyclones throughout the game. Those jerseys were auctioned after the game with all of the money raised going to the Pink Ribbon Girls Foundation; who provide meals, care, support, etc to those battling breast cancer. Garrick Perry’s jersey went for $1,000 big ones alone.
Back to the game, it was a night where quite frankly, the score should not have been as close as it was. Cincinnati absolutely dominated Quad City for a majority of the game, limiting them to just 14 shots through the entirety of the game.
First period gets underway, Cincinnati comes blazing right out of the gate, jumping to an early 11-2 shots advantage in the first ten minutes of the hockey game. However, it was Quad City who struck first. On just their 3rd shot of the night, Kevin Henderson threw a shot past heavy traffic, it pinballed, and somehow made it past Cincinnati goaltender, Brandon Whitney for the early 1-0 Mallards lead. Vladimir Nikiforov would quickly put the Cyclones down a pair. Matt Neal set him up at the top of the left circle, and Nikiforov just bombed it past Whitney to make it 2-0 Quad City.
Cincinnati would get one back in the 2nd period as 8:52 into the frame, Jack Downing goes in 1-on-1, sends a spin-o-rama style backhand pass to Zach Budish, who roofs it past Quad City netminder, Brody Hoffman to pull the Cyclones within one. At this point in time, after 40 minutes, Cincinnati was outshooting Quad City 28-9… yet trailed 2-1.
Although they were trailing, and outshooting the Mallards by a hefty margin, the Cyclones did not take their foot off the gas pedal. You had to think something was going to give. They kept grinding, kept digging, and finally got rewarded late in regulation as Tommy Mele goes in all alone, forehand to backhand, and through the legs of Hoffman to tie the game at 2-2.
In overtime, Nick Huard snuck behind the Quad City defense, goes in 2-on-1 with Jack Downing, he saucers one over to Downing, who blasts it past Hoffman to send Cincinnati home a winner, 3-2.
Andrew Yogan was one of the three Alternate Captains this season. He got called up to the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch earlier in the day. His “A” was given to Downing. He wears it proudly, and scores the game-winner. I honestly can’t think of anyone more deserving of that “A” than Downing.
The final shot clock? 42-14 Cincinnati. You have to give credit it to Hoffman, he was an animal in goal for Quad City. He kept it from being a 9-2 Cincinnati clinic, stopping 39 of those 42 shots.
The Cyclones now have won five of their last seven. They sit in 3rd of the Midwest Division, just three points back of the Indy Fuel (with four games in hand as well) for 2nd, and five points back of the division-leading Fort Wayne Komets.
They’ll get some well deserved few days of rest before welcoming in the Eastern Conference’s Wheeling Nailers into U.S. Bank Arena for the first time this season on Wednesday night.