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Cyclones beat Ft. Wayne 3-2 in overtime
FORT WAYNE, Indiana (WKRC) -- Goaltender Scott Darling made a triumphant return to the ECHL as he posted 35 saves plus five more in the shootout as the Cyclones (27-18-1-1) defeated the Fort Wayne Komets (22-14-6-5) by a 3-2 final score in front of 8,014 at Memorial Coliseum on Friday night.
The Komets drew first blood at 12:25 of the opening frame when Dean Ouellet grabbed his own rebound after a great save from Scott Darling (W, 25 saves, 2-0-0) and buried his 11th of the season to make it 1-0. Despite some good chances of their own, the Cyclones found themselves trailing by one after 20 minutes.
Cincinnati came out with a high level of intensity in the middle stanza and was rewarded for their efforts. At 13:40, Jonathan Hazen fought a loose puck out in front of the net and, after it bounced in the air, Brian Nugent batted the biscuit into the net past Andrey Makarov (SOL, 31 saves, 13-7-2-2) to knot things at one. The Cyclones outshot the Komets 15-7 in the second period and remained deadlocked at the second intermission.
Cincinnati pulled ahead for the first time on the night at 3:36 of the third period when Hazen deposited a quick rebound at the side of the Komets net, making it a 2-1 game. Unfortunately, the Komets would rally back with a goal from Brandon Marino at the 12:00 mark to even things again and send the contest into overtime.
Both clubs got a rare opportunity to use the power play in the bonus session, but neither could come up with the game winning strike. Darling rattled off some huge saves in the final minute to force the tilt into a shootout. Josh Birkholz first round offering stood as the only shootout marker until round three when Ouellet beat Darling with a low shot. After the Cyclones took an edge through four rounds thanks to Anthony Luciani, Fort Wayne needed a goal to keep the game alive. Marino, the ECHLs leading scorer, responded; he decked past Darling to equalize things again forcing additional shots. After a scoreless sixth round, Dan Eves lit the lamp to force Komets defenseman Simon Danis-Pepin to keep things going. As he made his way to the net, Darling used a strong poke check to deny the chance and seal a 3-2 Cyclones win.
The Cyclones will close out their weekend road trip tomorrow night in Toledo when they visit the Walleye at 7:15pm. Fans can hear all of the action on the Cyclones Radio Network (CyclonesHockey.com, America One, Cyclones Mobile App) beginning at 6:45pm.
Image and information provided by the Cincinnati Cyclones