Cincinnati Cyclones vs. Idaho Steelheads
Date(s) - Fri Mar 10, 2017
7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
The Idaho Steelheads are finally back on home ice after their longest road trip of the season, a 7-1-0 swing through Mountain Division opponents that saw Idaho earn two series sweeps and finish on a four-game winning streak. The Steelheads welcome the Cincinnati Cyclones to Boise, with the Cyclones on a good roll themselves. The Cyclones have won three in a row and eight of their last ten as they fight off the South Carolina Stingrays for the final playoff spot in the South Division, while also trying to chase down Orlando ahead of them.
The Steelheads have not played since last Saturday night in Rapid City, where a third period effort helped Idaho overcome a one-goal deficit to earn a 4-2 win, their ninth in the past 11 contests. Rob Linsmayer tied the game early in the third period with his 12th goal of the season, and Brian Nugent put Idaho in front with his second goal of the game. Branden Komm made 37 stops for his second consecutive win.
Long Time, No See…
For two teams that rarely see each other, the Cyclones are an opponent of significance for the Steelheads. Friday night will mark the first meeting between the teams since the 2010 Kelly Cup Final, when the Cyclones defeated the Steelheads in five games and took both match-ups at CenturyLink Arena. Prior to then, the only meetings between the squads came back in Idaho’s first season in the ECHL. During the 2003-04 campaign, Idaho went 2-1-0 against the Cyclones. That included the first two shutout wins in Steelheads ECHL history, with Dan Ellis and Blair Allison blanking the Cyclones on consecutive nights.
Winds of Change…
Five current Steelheads are former Cyclones, and two of them have been leading the Idaho offense in recent weeks. Brian Nugent has notched two multi-goal games in his last four outings, and has five goals and seven points in his last seven games. Anthony Luciani, who played three seasons in Cincinnati, leads the Steelheads in goals and points and has posted 12 points in his last 13 contests.
About the Cyclones…
The Cyclones earned back-to-back wins over the Adirondack Thunder, where goaltending grabbed the headlines. Joel Rumpel, making just his sixth and seventh appearances of the season, won both games of the series with a 46-save shutout and another 51 save effort to earn ECHL Goaltender of the Week honors. The Cyclones have been winning close games, their offense ranked 24th in the ECHL in goals per game but their defense ranked fourth in goals-against per game. Former Grizzlies rookie Shane Walsh leads the Cyclones with 40 points in 59 games, but ex-Steelhead Jordan Sims has the hot stick with a five-game points streak.
Goals: Luciani (25)
Assists: Dahl (37)
Points: Luciani (54)
Plus/Minus: Glen (+13)
Power Play Goals: Merchant (11)
Goals-Against Average: Bow (2.15)
Goals: Walsh (15)
Assists: Sims (25)
Points: Walsh (40)
Plus/Minus: Atwal (+11)
Power Play Goals: Huard (7)
Goals-Against Average: Visentin (2.93)
O’Donnell and Cyclones edge Steelheads
Play of the gameIn a 2-2 game where neither team was making mistakes, the Steelheads blinked first and surrendered one of the few odd-man rushes of the game. A puck up for grabs in the neutral zone was won by Brandon McNally, allowing him to spring a 2-on-1 into the Idaho zone and feed Shane Walsh for a shot that slipped through Landon Bow to put the Cyclones in front. The Cyclones came into the contest ranked fourth in the ECHL in goals-against per game, and they were able to protect that lead and keep the Steelheads off the board the rest of the way.
Boise, ID (3/10/17)— Shawn O’Donnell scored two of Cincinnati’s three unanswered goals in the third period, powering the Cyclones (32-25-4) to a 5-2 win over the Idaho Steelheads (33-19-7) in front of 5,123 fans on Friday night at CenturyLink Arena. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for the Steelheads.
Jefferson Dahl scored his 16th goal of the season on Jefferson Dahl Bobble-Head Doll Night at CenturyLink Arena, and Brian Nugent netted his sixth goal in the past eight games, but it wasn’t enough as the Cyclones took the first meeting between the two teams since the 2010 Kelly Cup Final.
The Steelheads lobbed 11 shots on goal in the second period and 15 in the third, but it was the Cyclones who would find the back of the net after both teams were tied 2-2 after 40 minutes. At 4:17 of the third, Brandon McNally was able to poke a puck past Steelheads defenseman Zach Bell at the red line and carry in 2-on-1 with Shane Walsh. McNally’s centering feed from the left-wing boards found Walsh in the low slot for a quick redirect behind Landon Bow for a 3-2 Cincinnati lead on Walsh’s 16th of the season.
Just 4:55 later, the Cyclones struck again when O’Donnell fired a sharp-angled shot from the bottom of the right circle that beat Bow over the short-side shoulder for O’Donnell’s 10th of the year. O’Donnell would score into an open net with 1:08 left to secure a 5-2 Cyclones win.
The Steelheads put pressure on Cincinnati goaltender Joel Rumpel in the final three minutes with the net empty, but Rumpel was able to close the door for his third straight win while making one of his better saves of the game on a wrist shot from Joe Basaraba between the circles.
Cincinnati opened the scoring at 3:53 of the first period when a failed Steelheads clearing attempt came to Nick Huard at the bottom of the right circle. Huard popped a shot over Bow’s glove for his 15th of the season and a 1-0 Cyclones lead. Dahl would tie the game just 2:42 later, burying a rebound of an Aaron Harstad point shot to tie the game 1-1.
At 5:02 of the second period, McNally put the Cyclones back in front with a one-timer from the slot past Bow’s glove, this one coming on a slick backhand feed from the left corner by Christian Minella. Again the Steelheads answered back quickly, with Charlie Dodero’s point shot at 12:31 kicked right back out to the slot for a Nugent drive that tied the game 2-2, Nugent’s eighth goal of the year.
The Steelheads’ scoreless third period was their first empty showing in the final frame of a game in their last three contests. The Cyclones’ three goals were their most in a third period since January 4th, a stretch of 30 games.
Despite the Steelheads’ loss, they lose no ground in the Mountain Division after Alaska, Utah, and Missouri all lost as well. The Steelheads remain seven points ahead of Alaska, in third place in the Mountain Division.
The Steelheads and Cyclones complete their two-game set on Saturday night at CenturyLink Arena, with puck-drop scheduled for 7:10pm MT. The game is available on 1350AM KTIK, Cable One, and on ECHLTV.
Goals: Dahl (16); Nugent (8)
Landon Bow: 16 saves on 20 shots
Power Play: 0-for-2
Penalty Kill: 2-for-2
CENTURYLINK THREE STARS OF THE GAME
- Jefferson Dahl IDH
- Shawn O’Donnell CIN
- Nick Huard CIN
COORS LIGHT OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Shawn O’Donnell: 2 goals, 1 assist, 5 shots, plus-3 rating