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Cyclones cruise in a 4-1 victory
CINCINNATI, Ohio (WKRC) -- Josh Birkholz scored what proved to be the game-winning goal as the Cyclones (35-21-2-4) defeated the Elmira Jackals (22-33-3-5) by a 4-1 final score in front of 4,871 at U.S. Bank Arena on Saturday night. After an offensive onslaught that awarded Cincinnati with a 7-5 victory over Elmira last night, the Cyclones swept the Jackals in their weekend series, earning four huge points in the Eastern Conference standings. After finding the back of the net four times last night, Brian Nugent closed the weekend with another tally, giving him six points in two games. Goaltender Rob Madore (W, 29 saves, 15-11-0-0), who came in to replace Magnus Hellberg late in last nights contest, looked fresh in net, turning aside all but one of the 30 shots he faced in the tilt.
Unlike last nights matchup, the Jackals drew first blood when an untimely turnover along the boards led to an odd-man rush and Jake Trasks second goal of the season at 8:56. The Cyclones responded quickly, however, as Barry Almeida made a careful pass to Colin Mulvey, who backhanded in his second lamplighter of the weekend at 10:38. Both clubs exchanged power play opportunities to close the frame, but the score held until seconds after the Cyclones man advantage expired. With less than one second remaining in the period, Josh Birkholz blasted his 11th of the season past Neil Conway (L, 34 saves, 8-7-1-2), giving his team a one-goal lead heading into the first intermission.
The home team continued to test Conway throughout the second stanza, but the visiting net minder was strong between the pipes, turning aside all 16 shots fired his way. Although the Cyclones had three power play opportunities in the frame, they were unable to extend their lead on the man advantage. Up by one, they entered the final period outshooting their opponent 28-18.
Cincinnati successfully killed two penalties to open the frame before capitalizing on their own power play chance. When Elmira was whistled for too many men on the ice, Josh Shalla buried a rebound at 7:30, extending the Cyclones lead to 3-1. When Elmira pulled their goalie in an attempt to tie it, Nugent scored his second empty-netter in as many nights, securing the win for the Cyclones.
Its huge, said Shalla of the importance of the weekend sweep. In the playoff rush, the standings are so tight and every game is either life or death right now.
When asked about the Cyclones upcoming trip to Florida, Shalla added, Hopefully well come out with a couple wins and a nice suntan, too.
Cincinnati will now embark on a three game road trip through the South Division, beginning next Wednesday night in Orlando, Florida. Theyll meet the Solar Bears for the second and final time this season at 7:00pm, with pre game coverage beginning on the Cyclones Radio Network (CyclonesHockey.com, America One, Cyclones Mobile App) at 6;30pm.
Image and information provided by the Cincinnati Cyclones