Cincinnati captain Barret Ehgoetz came up with the most bizarre of game-winning goals at the 4:19 mark of overtime to give the Cincinnati Cyclones (1-1-0-0) a 5-4 win over the Elmira Jackals (1-0-1-0) at First Arena on Saturday night. The victory was also a milestone for Head Coach Jarrod Skalde, as it was his first ECHL (and Cyclones) win.
The first period of tonight's game was eerily similar to last night's contest. Elmira opened the scoring early when Michael Dubuc beat Cyclones goalie Marc Cheverie (W, 33 saves, 1-1-0) on the short-side to give the Jackals a 1-0 lead. And just like last night, Cincinnati responded. Brian O'Hanley netted his second of the season, from Dylan Hunter and Matt Pierce at 2:34 to tie things up. When rookie Sam D'Agostino got whistled for a tripping call at 8:40, the Jackals got to utilize their power play, and it cashed in. Dubuc netted his second of the night when Brock McBride set him up for a one-timer that eluded Cheverie and gave Elmira a 2-1 lead. But Dubuc wasn't done; on another Cincinnati penalty, the third year player completed the natural hat trick by blasting another slap shot into the net at the 13:07 mark, extending Elmira's lead to 3-1. Luckily Dylan Hunter was able to stop the bleeding when he poked home a loose puck to cut the Cincinnati deficit to 3-2 as they hit the first intermission.
Tonight's second period was not nearly as lopsided as the opener, as only one goal was scored between the two teams. Unfortunately, though, it was off the stick of Dubuc once again – his fourth of the game and fifth of the season. While the Cyclones argued that the puck never went in the net, the officials gathered and determined that the goal would indeed count – giving the Jackals a 4-2 lead after 40 minutes.
In the third frame, the Cyclones came out flying and continued to weather several Elmira scoring chances. After Chris Frank was called for a roughing penalty at 2:35 of the third, Cincinnati's power play got another chance to go to work. Matt Pierce tipped home a J.C. Sawyer point shot to cut the deficit to 4-3. Then, with less than 2:30 to play in regulation, Sawyer finally got a tally of his own, another point blast, that beat Elmira goalie Marco Cousineau (L, 27 saves, 1-1-0) to knot things at four a piece.
Just as regulation time expired, Oren Eizenman was called for a slashing penalty – giving the Cyclones an early power play to start the extra session. While they were unable to capitalize with that man advantage, they gained all the momentum. In a bizarre finish, Matt Pierce jarred a puck loose along the back-wall boards, and Captain Barret Ehgoetz banked a shot off the back-side of Cousineau and into the net for his 12th career Cyclones game-winning goal.
For the second night in a row, Cheverie was peppered in net. He earned his first professional win after turning aside 33 Elmira shots. Marco Cousineau suffered his first loss of season despite stopping 27 Cyclones shots.
With one weekend of hockey in the books, the Cyclones will return home for a week of practice before hitting the road again next Saturday night, when they'll take on the Kalamazoo Wings in the first of a two-game series. Saturday's contest will be broadcast live on MAX-FM beginning at 7:15pm. The puck drops at 7:30pm.
The defending Kelly Cup Champion Cyclones open their home schedule on Saturday, October 30 at U.S. Bank Arena against the Wheeling Nailers.