CINCINNATI, OH – After a pretty dismal outing on Wednesday night against the Wichita Thunder, which the Cincinnati Cyclones drop a 5-1 decision, the ‘Clones bounced back on Friday night with a much better performance against the same Thunder team in shutout fashion.
On Wednesday, the Cyclones allowed goals within the first minute in both the first and second periods. The coaching staff has stressed their starts to games just simply have to be better.
They needed to take control of this contest right off the hop and set the tone early, and that’s exactly what they did as Cincinnati controlled play for a majority of the opening frame. They would not be able to break through until the 16:18 mark of the first stanza. An innocent looking dump-in from Jordan Sims led to Shawn O’Donnell sneaking behind the Wichita defense and fooling Thunder netminder, Drew Owsley, with a nifty toe-drag to tuck it in on the other side to make it 1-0 Cincinnati.
They would add their lead by continuing the trend of scoring late in periods, this time with just over a minute left in the second frame. Jaynen Rissling would unleash a nasty wrist shot from the high slot that beat Owsley over the shoulder to make it 2-0 Cincinnati, extending his career-high in goals to six on the year.
2-0 would end up being the final score as Cincinnati secures their ninth win in the last 12 games continuing their best stretch of hockey on the season. They now sit just three points back of the fourth and final playoff spot in the ECHL’s South Division, currently held by the South Carolina Stingrays.
Goaltender, Joel Rumpel earns his first victory as a Cyclone as he stopped all 27 Wichita shots that came his way for the shutout. This was a game Rumpel absolutely needed. It was only his fifth appearance and third start of the season. After sitting for a majority year, he had a chance to make a statement, and he put it in bold print with his play.
Overall, Head Coach, Matt Macdonald was very pleased with the bounce back effort from his guys as well as the stellar show put on between the pipes.
“That was a much better performance. The guys came out with a lot more energy, and focused on doing their job”, Macdonald stated. “Obviously, Rumpel stood tall getting the shutout, we’re really proud of him and the guys worked hard in front of him. He’s been put in some tough spots, he came in and was determined to do the job for us.”
For Cincinnati, there were a ton of positives to take out of this game. For Wichita, there weren’t many, who have now lost 13 of their last 14 games. The one positive for the Thunder, however, was Owsley. He was an army of one. The Cyclones absolutely had their way with the Wichita defense, who tossed up more turnovers than an Arby’s in their own zone. Owsley made multiple unreal saves, and if not for him, this game very well could’ve been 7-0 Cincinnati. Owsley turned aside 35 of the 37 Cincinnati shots he faced on the evening.
Cincinnati will look to continue their winning ways on Saturday night when they welcome the Indy Fuel into US Bank Arena for the final time this season at 7:35pm EST. It’ll be the return of former Cyclones forwards Kenny Ryan and Michael Neal, who will both be going up against their former squad for the first time this season.
It’ll also be a big promotional night as it is Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles night, and both the Cyclones and Fuel will be getting in on the festivities, each sporting specialty Ninja Turtles jerseys. Both sets of jerseys will be auctioned off after the game.
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