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Cyclones dominate Gwinnett 5-1
CINCINNATI (WKRC) -- Anthony Luciani earned his second professional hat trick on a four-point night as he helped propel the Cincinnati Cyclones (23-9-1-1) over the Gwinnett Gladiators (14-22-0-2) by a 5-1 final score in front of 2,233 at U.S. Bank Arena for Pajama Night on Wednesday. With their tallies, Luciani, Paul Crowder, and Jonathan Hazen each extended their point streaks to four consecutive games. Goaltender Joe Howe (W, 28 saves, 7-0-1-0), who remains unbeaten in regulation, turned aside 28 of the 29 shots he faced in the tilt. Josh Shalla quietly recorded three assists in the victory, giving him five points in the last two games.
The Cyclones caught the Gladiators sleeping early when Shalla completed a cross-ice pass through traffic to Crowder, who recorded his tenth tally of the season at 1:45. That line struck again halfway through the period when Luciani carried the puck through the defense and backhanded his eleventh lamp-lighter of the season past net minder Brad Phillips (L, 26 saves, 6-4-0-1) at 10:38. The home team continued to pepper the opposition with shots and entered the first intermission outshooting the Gladiators 12-8 and protecting a two-goal lead.
Although the Cyclones failed to score on three power play opportunities in the middle frame, they dominated the ice, imposing their will at both ends. The Cyclones held the Gladiators to just four shots on goal in the period and, with 1:19 remaining in the stanza, Adam Brace buried a huge rebound, extending the home teams lead to three. The tally was the Cyclones 44th second-period goal of the season, best in the ECHL.
Luciani lit the lamp for the second time when he scored on the breakaway with a shot that trickled past Phillips and over the goal line at 4:42. Unfortunately for Howe, the Gladiators spoiled the shutout when Brenden Walker scored his seventh goal of the season at 13:47. With less than a minute remaining, Luciani was hauled down on a breakaway, rewarding him with a penalty shot. After a deke and a patient hold, Luciani buried his third of the night top-shelf on Phillips, completing his hat trick and securing the win for his team.
In practice, Ive been trying some new moves, said Luciani of his penalty shot goal. I was going to do a different move, but my instincts took me to do that move and I almost lost it, but I kept with it and the goalie went down and I put it in the corner.
In addition to his impressive four-point performance, Luciani also honed his reporter skills this afternoon when he interviewed his teammates for Cyclones TV.
When youre having fun and mingling with the boys, thats when you play your best hockey, he added.
Image and information provided by the Cincinnati Cyclones