Cyclones Snap Slide with Exhilarating 4-3 Shootout Win Over Greenville
GREENVILLE, South Carolina – Mike Embach’s goal in the sixth round of the shootout lifted the Cincinnati Cyclones (27-16-4-2) to an exhilarating 4-3 win over the Greenville Road Warriors (29-17-2-3) in front of 6,825 at BI-LO Center on Saturday night. With the victory, combined with a Toledo defeat, Cincinnati regained sole possession of first place in the North Division standings.
The Cyclones jumped out to a 1-0 led when they capitalized on an odd-man rush; after catching a pass from Jeff Winchester in the low slot, Josh Shalla one-timed home his 16th goal of the season at the 14:53 mark. And thanks to 15 first period saves from Brian Foster (W, 45 saves, 14-6-4), Cincinnati held 1-0 edge after 20 minutes.
The Road Warriors pulled even just 6:12 into the middle stanza as Chad Ziegler slid in a loose puck for his second goal of the year. Then, during a Greenville power play, Brendan Connolly fed Ryan Flanigan a no-look pass along the top of the goal crease and Flanigan lifted home the go-ahead strike at 17:28. As time expired in the second, Greenville rookie Bretton Stamler speared Dan Eves and was given a major penalty and a game misconduct, setting up a Cyclones man advantage early in the third.
The Cyclones were able to capitalize on the momentum swing as Josh Birkholz found a loose puck in the Greenville goal crease and buried it past Scott Stajcer (SOL, 32 saves, 8-3-1-2) to knot things at two just 3:21 into the final period. Then, at 8:22, Dan Eves jumped all over a rebound left from a Davide Nicoletti point shot and tucked in his eighth goal of the year to give Cincinnati at 3-2 cushion. Unfortunately, the Road Warriors would once again pull even as Brendan Connolly one-timed home the equalizer at the 10:32 mark to deadlock the teams again – and ultimately send the contest into overtime.
In the extra session, the Cyclones had a short-lived power play but could not stash the game-winner – so a shootout was necessary to award the win. Jodie Joshnton gave the home team an early lead in round one, followed by the evener by Josh Birkholz in Cincinnati’s second round. After Bretton Cameron potted a goal in round four, Foster was forced to save Ryan Flanigan’s offering in round five – and he did. Because of that save, Cincinnati had one last chance to strike even, and thanks to Josh Shalla, they did. The Cyclones rookie forced a sixth round with his goal. In that final round, Foster denied Sean Berkstresser and then Mike Embach sniped home the game-ending tally to give Cincinnati a thrilling 4-3 win. The victory was Foster’s 41st as a Cyclones – earning him the all-time lead in club history.