WHEELING, West Virginia – The Cincinnati Cyclones (26-14-4-1) scored the first two goals of the game for the twelfth time this season and never looked back as they knocked off the Wheeling Nailers (20-15-3-5) by a 4-2 final score in front of 2,309 at WesBanco Arena on Sunday afternoon.
Early in the first period, Cincinnati jumped ahead 1-0 as Mike Pelech slammed in a rebound past Scott Darling L, 21 saves, 9-6-1-1) for his ninth goal of the season at the 3:17 mark. With the strike, Pelech extended his point-scoring streak to five games. And thanks to nine saves from Zoltan Hetenyi (W, 26 saves, 5-4-0) at the other end, the Cyclones took a one-goal edge into the first intermission.
The Cyclones added to their lead midway through the middle stanza as Dan Eves fired a shot right along the ice from the left circle that beat Darling under the pad with 12:49 gone, giving Cincinnati a 2-0 cushion. Like Pelech earlier, Eves’ tally gave him a five-game point-scoring streak. Meanwhile, Hetenyi was solid again between the pipes – making 12 more saves to keep the Cyclones up 2-0 after 40 minutes.
Wheeling ended Hetenyi’s shutout bid at the 10:46 mark as Chris Barton grabbed a rebound in the low slot and banged in his 11th goal of the year, pulling his team to within one. However, just 22 seconds later, the Cyclones responded as Matt Smyth stationed himself in the Nailers’ slot and snapped home his first goal for Cincinnati to restore the two-goal lead. Then, at 17:11, Mathieu Aubin cannoned in a power play goal from the left circle to give his team a 4-1 advantage. Zack Torquato got the Nailers back on the board one last time with less than three minutes to play, sending a point shot over Hetenyi through a screen. But a 4-2 lead would be too much for Wheeling to overcome as the Cyclones preserved the win to earn their fifth point out of a possible six on the weekend.
The Cyclones Radio Network Stars of the Game are as follows:
First Star: Mike Pelech (1 goal, 1 assist for Cincinnati)
Second Star: Matt Smyth (1 goal, 1 assist for Cincinnati)
Third Star: Dan Eves (1 goal, 1 assist for Cincinnati)
The Cyclones will return to the ice at U.S. Bank Arena on Thursday, January 31 when they welcome in the Toledo Walleye!