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Cyclones top Wheeling 6-3
CINCINNATI, Ohio (WKRC) -- Josh Shalla scored twice and five different Cyclones lit the lamp as Cincinnati (40-22-4-4) defeated the Wheeling Nailers (38-27-1-5) by a 6-3 final score in front of 3,886 at U.S. Bank Arena on Fridays Pucks N Pups Night. With his two tallies, Shalla not only extended his point streak to seven straight games, but also set a new career high in points with 29 this season. Byron Froese and Jonathan Hazen each turned in three-point performances and the dogged effort of Magnus Hellberg (W, 28 saves, 4-0-1-0) between the pipes proved pivotal as the net minder turned aside 28 of the 31 shots he faced in the tilt. The win awards the Cyclones with two valuable points in the tight Eastern Conference standings as the team continues to battle for home ice advantage in the Kelly Cup playoffs.
The Cyclones didnt hesitate to get on the board as Hazen streaked down the right side and made a cross-ice pass to Shalla, who promptly recorded his 13th of the season at 2:44. 50 seconds later, the home team extended their lead when Dan Eves sent his ninth tally of the season between the legs of goaltender Eric Hartzell (L, 33 saves, 8-5-0-1) right off the face-off. The Nailers drew within one, however, when Tom Kuhnhackl notched his seventh of the season at 7:53. The Cyclones successfully killed two penalties before entering the first intermission with a one-goal advantage and outshooting the Nailers, 12-8.
The fast and furious pace carried into the middle frame as the Cyclones continued to hound Hartzell in net. The home team quickly took a 3-1 lead when Josh Birkholz sprung on a breakaway and buried his 13th of the season glove-side at 2:22. Cincinnati added to their lead at 5:31 when a wrist shot off the face-off from defenseman Taylor Aronson found the back of the net. When Brett Wysopal was called for holding the stick, Wheeling capitalized on the power play opportunity as Denver Manderson converted a shot from between the circles at 11:16. Though both teams exchanged power play opportunities, the score held for the remainder of the frame and the Cyclones headed into the final period with a 4-2 lead.
Shortly after Kuhnhackl was called for holding, Hazen sniped a shot past Hartzell on the power play at 8:22. Cincinnati capped their scoring when Hazen found Shalla for his second tally of the night at 15:33, securing the win for the home team. Although it was too little, too late, Wheeling had the final say when Derek Army recorded his first of the season at 16:30.
You never want to play from behind, especially with a team like that, said Josh Shalla, the second star of the game, about the Cyclones early lead. Theyre dangerous. I remember one time in their building, we were up four or five to nothing and they came right back, so you can never give up against those guys.
Were trying to get everybody healthy now, he added about Cincinnatis preparation for the playoffs. The lines are getting together and really playing hard. Were excited to go deep this year.
Image and information provided by the Cincinnati Cyclones