CYCLONES TOP IOWA 4-1, REACH LONGEST POINT STREAK IN A DECADE
Written credits: Braden Ramsey
Zack Andrusiak recorded two goals, Kohen Olischefski and Patrick Polino netted a goal apiece and the white-hot Cincinnati Cyclones carried on their torrential pace by beating the Iowa Heartlanders 4-1 Friday night in front of 5,899 fans at Heritage Bank Center.
The win is a big one for Cincinnati, as it pushed them back into sole possession of first place in the Central division. The victory also gave Cincinnati its first six-game winning streak since March of 2019 and longest point streak (11 games) in nearly a decade (Feb. 22 – Mar. 15 of 2013).
“Just working out my arm,” Andrusiak, who was named one of the ECHL’s Three Stars for the fourth time in his last five games, said when asked if he’s getting tired of signing pucks for fans. “Summer’s coming up soon, baseball’s starting. Maybe I’ll get my call-up to the Reds.”
- From puck drop through the first seven minutes of action, both teams played at a quick pace, flying back and forth across the ice while setting up quality offensive chances.
- The ‘Clones began to shift the tide late in the period, ultimately leading to a pair of goals. At the 3:21 mark when the Heartlanders attempted to clear the puck from their zone, defenseman Sean Allen swooped in from the blue line to maintain the attack. He then shoveled it over to Andrusiak (23), residing on the upper right wing, who proceeded to rocket the puck through traffic and into the upper left quadrant of the net, beating Iowa’s Hunter Jones to provide a 1-0 lead on his team’s tenth shot of the night.
- Just two shots later, Cincinnati would add on. After winning a faceoff in his defensive zone, Patrick Polino (15) joined Matt Berry on an odd-man rush. As the clock ticked down on the opening period, the two played some give-and-go on the left wing before Polino glided unopposed into the slot to go five-hole on Jones, doubling the Cyclones lead with only 4.9 seconds left in the first.
- Cincy continued to maintain its edge in shots throughout the second period, dictating the game’s pace in the process. Ten of the first eleven shots of the middle segment came off Cyclone sticks. Kohen Olischefski (7) cashed in on one of those chances. The center of Cincinnati’s second line picked off a pass at neutral and immediately whipped it cross-ice to Josh Passolt, who played the puck off its bounce from the near wall, zoomed down the left wing and dished back to Olischefski cross-crease, who flicked it into the back of the net to increase Cincinnati’s lead to 3-0.
- Minutes later, lightning struck twice for the Cyclones in three different fashions: the final five seconds of a period, the second period and Zack Andrusiak. After resetting in their defensive zone on the Power Play with less than 20 seconds to go, Jalen Smereck began the attack. He gave to Andrusiak, who skated through two lines and dished to Louie Caporusso. The Cyclone’s assistant captain carried the puck into the Iowa zone with a brief touch and quickly returned it to Andrusiak. With the Heartlander defense pulled up the ice from the reset, he had only Jones between him and a second goal. Andrusiak immediately closed the gap between he and the Iowa goalie, then sent his shot top shelf. The horn sounded, with the margin widened to 4-0 and just 3.9 seconds remaining in period two.
- James Sanchez notched his eleventh of the season for Iowa, spoiling Beck Warm’s shutout bid 8:02 into the final period of regulation. Warm still registered 18 saves to pick up his league leading-23rd win of the season.
- Cincinnati is now 13-1-1-1 in its last 16 games, giving them 28 points in the past 34 days. At 76 points, the Cyclones own the second most points across the ECHL, trailing only Idaho (87).
“Our division’s still tight… even though we’ve been winning a lot of games, we’re still not [separated] for first place,” Andrusiak said postgame. “Other teams are winning too… other teams are going to come in here and want to beat us… that gives us the motivation to be our best every night.”
- The Cyclones play one more time this weekend – versus the Indy Fuel on Saturday (7:35 p.m.) – before embarking on a three-game road swing next week.
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, www.cycloneshockey.com!