Cyclones cap western swing with sweep at Alaska

The Cincinnati Cyclones concluded their five-game western road trip with a three-game sweep at Alaska last week. In the process, Cincinnati improved its record since Feb. 17 to 12-3-0 and moved the team into third place of the South Division with 74 points, three ahead of fourth-place Orlando and five in front of fifth-place South Carolina.

Cincinnati opened last week’s set with a 2-1 win on Wednesday. Seth Ambroz and Eric Knodel scored for the Cyclones while Michael Houser stopped 27 of the 28 shots he faced to record the win in goal.

Friday’s game followed a similar script to Wednesday with the Cyclones scoring the first two goals, off the sticks of Shane Walsh and Martin Lefebvre. For Lefebvre, it was his first pro goal, and it turned out to be the game winner after an Aces’ tally late in the third period. Houser made 32 saves to win his third straight game.

In the series finale on Saturday, Cincinnati trailed 3-1 midway through the third period before mounting a rally. Lefebvre scored with seven minutes remaining to cut the deficit to one and Knodel tallied with just two seconds left to send the game to overtime. After neither team scored in the extra session, the game moved to a shootout with Nick Huard scoring the only goal and Mark Visentin stopping all three Alaska attempts to give the Cyclones a 4-3 victory.

Huard (16g-28a) and Jordan Sims (15g-29a) share the Cyclones’ team lead with 44 points each. Huard enters the week on a five-game point streak (2g-5a) while Shawn O’Donnell has posted nine points (4g-5a) over his last five games.

Walsh is tied for 12th among ECHL rookies with 43 points (17g-26) and is second among first-year players with 194 shots on goal.

Cincinnati has received solid goaltending all season from the trio of Houser, Visentin and Joel Rumpel as the Cyclones are tied for second in the league, allowing 2.86 goals-against per game. Houser ranks third with a .918 save percentage and fifth with a 2.55 goals-against average.

The Cyclones are in action just once this week, visiting Fort Wayne on Saturday.