CINCINNATI, OH – Food poisoning is never particularly a good thing, but in this case, it led to the Cincinnati Cyclones picking up their first win of the 2016-17 campaign in a 2-1 nail-biter over the Wheeling Nailers.
The Cyclones NHL affiliate in the Nashville Predators got into a bit of a sickness when half the team came down with food poisoning while on the road in Detroit. That led to the Predators taking five bodies from the Milwaukee Admirals in the AHL, which then in turn led to Milwaukee calling up five bodies from Cincinnati. The Cyclones lost a lot of firepower on the offensive side of things losing the services of Eric Robinson and Justin Kirkland, as well as Jaynen Rissling, Shawn O’Donnell, and Mark Visentin prior to Saturday night’s contest.
Despite the mass recall to Milwaukee, the Cyclones were only down one man, as they were able to dress 17 guys; just one shy of the 18 limit. Despite losing Rissling to Milwaukee, as well as Troy Vance, who is currently on the injured reserve list, the Cyclones were only able to skate five defensemen.
This is where all that conditioning Head Coach, Matt Macdonald put them through during training camp to prepare them for similar situations like this would come into play. Fortunately, along with some outstanding goaltending from Michael Houser in his return to U.S. Bank Arena, the Cyclones were able to stay strong despite being outnumbered.
The Cyclones opened up the scoring in the dying minutes of the opening period as Kenny Ryan tossed the puck towards the net that was intended for Nick Huard, however it wound up with Craig Dalrymple who buried it for his first professional goal to put the Cyclones ahead 1-0.
It would remain 1-0 Cincinnati until the early stages of the third period. Wheeling would pull things even just two minutes into the final frame. There was a scramble for the puck in front of Houser, he thought he had it when he didn’t, and Garrett Meurs would tap it in to tie the game at 1-1 for the Nailers.
The Cyclones, in dramatic-heroic fashion, would score the game-winning goal with 2:09 left on the clock. Ryan cut his way behind the Wheeling defense, threw a shot on goal, and as the rebound was lying in the crease, the only person that the puck’s location was Dominic Zombo. He buried his second goal of the season to boost Cincinnati to a 2-1 win, and their first win of the season. The Cyclones improve to 1-3-0 on the season.
This game was certainly a breath of fresh air for Cyclones fans who were left with a pretty bad taste in their mouth over the first three games. Considering the circumstances, I wasn’t initially too optimistic about this game, but was extremely happy to see the Cyclones come out and put out the effort they did. It was like watching a completely different team. Although there is still plenty of kinks to be worked out, this team appears to be starting to make their stride.
Goaltender Michael Houser was the absolute star of the show. He stopped 39 of 40 Wheeling shots for the win. And my goodness, some of the saves he mysteriously found a way to pull out of his back-side were magnificent.
Do yourself a favor and watch the highlight reel of this game and see some of the remarkable saves Houser came up with.
The Cyclones are off until next Friday, when they had to New England for the first of a three game set with the Manchester Monarchs. It will be the first ever meetings between the two clubs as the Cyclones look to pick up win #2 on the year.