Strong Defense, Third Period Lead Cyclones to First Home Ice Win
The Cyclones scored three unanswered goals and played a one-sided third period, leading to the team's first win on home ice via a 5-3 decision over the Iowa Heartlanders.
The 'Clones improve to 3-1 on the 2021-22 ECHL season, while Iowa, one of the league's newest members, falls to 1-4-1. The two teams meet back at Heritage Bank Center this Saturday after the Cyclones visit Fort Wayne Friday night.
- Forward Dominic Franco and Defenseman Peter Tischke made their Cyclones' debut tonight following their reassignment from the Rochester Americans. Franco would score his first goal with the club at the 14:33 mark of the 1st period, tying the game after Iowa's Kyle Thacker struck early in the first.
- Franco’s goal was both the first goal scored for the Cyclone in the opening period of play, as well as their first power play goal through four games this season.
- Johnny Coughlin gave Cincinnati a 2-1 edge in the opening minute of the second period. Nick Boka slotted a pass from the half wall to Coughlin inside the right circle for a one-timer that beat Heartlanders' goaltender Travin Kozlowski, giving Coughlin his first of the season.
"It was nice to get one tonight," said Coughlin. "Boka fed me a nice pass. That's something we're stressing as the defense core is to get pucks to the front of the net. I thought it was a great effort. It's really nice to get that turnaround win in front of our home crowd."
- Iowa would strike back and retake the lead after scoring twice in the span of 1:10, but Nick Boka would tie things with just over a minute to play in the second frame. Boka collected the puck atop the zone, then slid to the high slot for a wrist shot to make it 3-3.
- The 'Clones dominated in the third period, outshooting Iowa, 19-2. Matt McLeod benefited from Heartlanders' defenseman crashing into Kozlowski on a blocked shot. The puck caromed into the net and despite the play being under review, it was determined that it was a good goal. Gino Esteves would capitalize later in the period by deflecting a Tischke shot from the center of the blue line to make it 5-3, while subsequently earning his first professional goal.
"The biggest key for us was remaining positive," said Cyclones Assistant Coach Alex Bezerra. "We have to understand there are going to be some bumps in the road, especially with a young defense, so a game like last week is a game you learn lessons from. Take notes from last Saturday and the way we played and transitioned into the end of this game was really nice to see."
- Mat Robson improved to 2-0 on the season, making 10 stops in goal for Cincinnati.
Following tonight’s win, the Cyclones will play back-to-back contests on consecutive days, traveling to Fort Wayne to play the Komets Friday, then returning home on Saturday for a rematch with the Heartlanders.
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