CINCINNATI, OH – The Cincinnati Cyclones welcomed in the Quad City Mallards to U.S. Bank Arena for the back-end of a home-at-home series between the two. It was the third meeting in an 11-game long season series. Heading into Tuesday night, the Mallards had sole possession of first place in the Midwest Division, however the Cyclones had a whopping four games in hand. If you’re a Cyclones fan, weren’t following along last night, and have no clue what happen; you better make yourself an extra pot of coffee before reading this, because I’m about to make you hate mornings even more.
This game was the dictionary definition of “close calls.” In my 10+ seasons of watching ECHL hockey, I’ve rarely seen a game where both teams have had so many chances throughout the night, and not capitalize. Only three goals total were scored but this had to capability of being a 9-8 score based on the numerous amounts of grade-A chances that went by the wayside for both teams. It was a goaltending battle all the way to the end. Cincinnati’s Brad Thiessen stopped 23 of 24 Quad City shots, while Quad City’s Brody Hoffman stopped 27 of 28 Cincinnati shots.
We didn’t see any scoring until the 40th minute of play. In the final minute of the 2nd period, Austin Coldwell gave himself plenty of space to operate, picked the top corner, and blew it by Thiessen for the power play goal to make it 1-0 Quad City.
The third period started with the Cyclones absolutely hounding the Mallards, pinning them to their own zone. At this point in time, it looked like Cincinnati couldn’t even buy a goal off of Hoffman. No matter what they did, he always seemed to be in the right place at the right time to make the stop. Finally, in the latter half of the final regulation period, the Cyclones finally broke through. Cody Carlson threw a shot on Hoffman, and Johnny on the spot, Peter Quenneville going hard to the net, and as he’s falling, just got enough of the rebound to slip it into the net for the equalizer.
Cincinnati would find themselves in a bit of trouble. The final minutes of regulation in a tied game, Jonathan Diaby and Garrett Noonan are handed penalties, forcing Cincinnati to kill off a monstrous 5-on-3 penalty kill. Miraculously, this game went into overtime and eventually, a shootout.
Quad City’s Sam Warning was the only player who was able to score in the shootout, securing the Mallards a 2-1 win, increasing their first place cushion in the Midwest Division.
The most telling stat of the night: Cincinnati went 0/7 with the man-advantage. It wasn’t for a lack of trying either. Like I said earlier, Hoffman was an animal in goal for Quad City tonight. He stole probably three or four power play goals right from under the Cyclones’ noses. This was a game you can’t really be mad about if you’re Cincinnati. The effort was there, but they just didn’t get rewarded. You just have to tap your stick, tip your cap, and move on.
This is Cincinnati’s first losing streak of the season as they’ve dropped back-to-back games for the first time. To look on the bright side, not suffering a legitimate losing streak until December is pretty damn good.
Wednesday will be a travel day for the Cyclones as they make the trip to Greenville, South Carolina for a pair of games on Thursday and Friday night with the Swamp Rabbits; their only two meetings of the season as Cincinnati looks to get back to their winning ways. I don’t know about you, but my mind is just going nuts with all the Looney Tunes “Wabbit Season” puns I’m going to make over the next few days.