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Cyclones win big over Reading, 6-2

CINCINNATI (WKRC) -- A three-point night by Jack Combs and a lights-out performance from goaltender Joe Howe (W, 31 saves, 5-0-1-0) lifted the Cincinnati Cyclones (20-9-1-1) past the Reading Royals (15-12-1-0) by a 6-2 final score in front of a near sellout crowd of 13,237 at U.S. Bank Arena on Saturday night.

The crowd, which set a new regular season attendance record, was treated to a physical, high-scoring affair that featured points by ten different Cyclones, two power play goals by the home team, and several fights. With the win, Howe remains unbeaten in regulation and the Cyclones continue the impressive offensive outburst that has them currently ranked third in the ECHL in goals-scored per game.

Aggressive from the jump, the Cyclones wasted little time before lighting the lamp. Just 42 seconds into the tilt, Dan Eves converted a cross-ice pass that Trevor Lewis buried behind netminder Brandon Anderson (L, 6 saves, 4-6-1-0), giving him his fifth tally of the season. After more than a thousand teddy bears donated to the Cincinnati Police Department had been tossed onto and cleared from the ice, Lewis struck again at 8:21, extending the home teams lead to 2-0. But the Cyclones werent done scoring and Combs blasted home the game-winning goal stick-side at 17:09, extending his goal-scoring streak to six consecutive games and prompting a change in net for the Royals.

Ive been telling myself to shoot the puck a little more and some of them are finding a way to get in, said Combs. Ive got no special formula.

Replacement goaltender Josh Watson suffered a similar fate at the hands of the Cyclones. After a fight with Jeremie Malouin, Royals defenseman Aaron Gens received a roughing penalty early in the second stanza. The Cyclones capitalized on the power play opportunity when Paul Crowder poked a trickling puck past Watson at 3:24. After successfully killing two penalties of their own, the Cyclones scored their second power play goal of the night when Combs scored his ninth of the season and second of the game at 12:51. The Royals found a spark of life, however, when Marvin Degon scored a top-shelf tally on the power play at 18:40. With ten seconds remaining in the frame, Royals leading goal scorer Domenic Monardo added another goal, trimming the Cyclones lead to three as both teams entered the second intermission.

The Cyclones padded their cushion late in the final frame when Anthony Luciani scored his eighth goal of the season on a glove-side shot at 15:38. Despite being outshot 33-30 in the tilt, the Cyclones secured the win, awarding them two points in the standings.

My linemates played really well and just tried to get pucks on net, said Lewis. The first goal was a great feed by Eves and the second one I just kind of got lucky and it went in. I was just shooting and hoping for the best.

We knew going into the game that it was going to be a big crowd, Lewis added. As soon as you get out there, you just want to perform your best and put on a good show for them. We have the best fans, so to get that much support on a night like this, its just huge for us.

Its so huge, agreed Combs. We can feel the electricity.

After taking part a few early-week practices, the Cyclones will head back on the road for a Thursday night meeting against the Wheeling Nailers. The opening face-off is slated for 7:00pm with pregame coverage beginning on the Cyclones Radio Network at 6:30pm.

Image and information provided by the Cincinnati Cyclones




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