WHEELING, WV – The Cincinnati Cyclones concluded a three-game road trip on Sunday afternoon that started in Kansas, had a pit stop in Illinois, and finished in West Virginia as they did battle with the Wheeling Nailers for the third time this season. Both of the previous encounters were split between the two clubs, both finishing in 2-1 decisions.
The Cyclones entered this one picking up right where they left off in Quad City on Friday coming out of the gate with a lot of energy and dictating most of the play. They would open the scoring midway through the opening frame. Shane Walsh picked the pocket of Wheeling defenseman, had an open look at Nailer goaltender, Sean Maguire, and beat him five hole to make it 1-0 Cincinnati.
Jaynen Rissling would increase the Cincinnati lead on the power less than two minutes later. His bomb from the point found it’s way through traffic and past Maguire as Cincinnati took a 2-0 lead into the locker room after 20 minutes of play.
Second period rolls around, and the Cyclones got into that bad habit they have of taking their foot off the gas pedal. From the second period to the game’s conclusion, Wheeling held a 23-11 shots on goal advantage.
At the 16:25 mark of the middle stanza, Wheeling would finally break through Cincinnati netminder, Mark Visentin, who was making his third start in five days. Garrett Meurs, with a perfectly placed shot, was able to beat Visentin over the shoulder to cut the Cyclones lead. It was the first goal Visentin had allowed in nearly 100 minutes.
Early in the final frame, the Nailers would draw even. A bit of a fortunate bounce through traffic led the puck right to the tape of Gage Quinney, who had a wide open net to tuck it in and make the score all square at 2-2, eventually forcing overtime.
Odds were not favoring the Cyclones heading into the 3on3 overtime session as they were 0-4 in games ending in overtime this season.
It would only take just over a minute for Cincinnati to break that overtime curse. Rissling buried his second of the night by receiving a perfect centering feed from Peter LeBlanc to send the Cyclones home winners of four straight games with a 3-2 final.
It was another strong night for Visentin between the Cincinnati pipes, turning aside 29 of 31 Wheeling shots to secure his third consecutive victory. At the other end of the ice, Maguire was only able to turn away 16 of the 19 Cincinnati offerings that came his way.
Rissling is currently having a career year. Through 28 games, he now has 11 points (four goals, seven assists). As a defenseman that can also play forward as well when it’s need, his previous career high in points came in his rookie season back during the 2014-2015 campaign where he amassed just three points (one goal, two assists) in 37 games.
It was a big week for the Cyclones in more ways than one as they opened 2017 with a bang, winning their first three games of the calendar years. You can bet they’ll have some nominees up for ECHL “Player of the Week” and “Goaltender of the Week” honors for the week of January 3rd-9th.
Walsh led the way up front for Cincinnati, tallying seven points (two goals, five assists) and a +5 on ice rating in three games.
In the goaltending department, it appears Visentin has found his game as he was stunning between the pipes. Visentin went 3-0-0 on the week with a 1.65 goals against average, and a 0.940 save percentage. He played 181:09 minutes of hockey, faced 84 shots, and only allowed five goals during that time span.
The Cyclones will finally return home for the one and only home game of the month on Wednesday night when the Quad City Mallards make another visit to U.S. Bank Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:35pm EST.
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