A wild game that left the Cyclones with three defenseman for the last two periods ended in a 5-4 score favoring Cincinnati, as the team took a one goal decision over the Wheeling Nailers on the road Saturday night.  

Cincinnati clicked with three power play goals on five opportunities, with Dominic Franco cashing in twice as part of a four point night. The 'Clones improve to 6-4 on the season, while dropping the Nailers to 4-4. The Cyclones also hit a season high-49 penalty minutes, in large part due to three fights that broke out at the conclusion of the first period.

  • Despite outshooting Wheeling, 12-5 in the first, the Cyclones found themselves down 2-0 after Nick Hutchison and Patrick Watling found the back of the net within a minute of one another. Both shots were scored on the rush and beat Cyclones goaltender Joe Murdaca, who made his 5th career ECHL start and his first with the Cyclones. 
  • After being awarded their third power play of the first period, Cincy forward Dominic Franco was able to whack home a secondary bounce off the puck through Nailers' net minder Evan Moyse to make it 2-1 prior to intermission.
  • As the first period horn sounded, each team mouthed comments at one another near the benches, resulting in chaos to follow. Nick Boka, Colton Waltz, and Dajon Mingo all engaged in glove-dropping fights with Wheeling Nailers players. The result was all six skaters being ejected from the game, leaving the Cyclones with just three defenseman for the second and third periods (Sam Hunter, Matthew Cairns, Wyatt Ege). Rookie forward Jason Tackett, who has never played defense in youth or professional hockey, was called upon to be used as a spare defenseman.

"We kinda realized we had to keep it simple after going down three defensemen, along with playing seven games in 10 days," said Tackett. "That's a lot of games recently. The boys were tired, but we battled through adversity and it was really nice to see."

  • Jesse Schultz struck at the 7:20 mark by burying a rebound for his second of the season, capping off a four goal second period for the Cyclones and turning a two goal deficit into a 5-2 advantage.

  • After losing literally half their defense, the Cyclones' residency showcased itself in the second period, when the team scored two additional power play goals, and three goals in the span of 2:26. Franco struck with his second power play tally of the night just over a minute into the frame, while Ege followed with a right point shot that leaked through, giving the 'Clones a 3-2 lead. Graham Knott scored his third goal of the season less than a minute after Ege's goal to make it 4-2.

  • Wheeling would find their legs and claw back to within one before the middle period came to a close. Watling found the back of the net again on a loose puck left in the crease, followed by a blue line drive from Alex Stevens that made its way through traffic to get the game close again with a 5-4 score.

  • The visiting Cyclones outshot Wheeling, 10-8 in the final period and kept the Nailers from scoring another goal. Murdaca earned his first win as a Cyclone with 24 saves on the night. 

Games two and three of the current Cyclones road trip will take them to Atlanta for a pair of games with the Gladiators next weekend.

Stay tuned all season for updates on important events, player signings, promotion and ticketing information and MORE! Call (513) 421-PUCK for tickets and more information, and stay on top of all the latest team updates and information on Facebook, Twitter (@CincyCyclones), and Instagram, along with our website,!

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