CINCINNATI, Ohio – The Cyclones returned home with the series tied at one game apiece in this best of seven. The remainder of the series games will be played at US Bank Arena due to a scheduling conflict at the Gwinnett Center.
Thus far the teams have given in to the desire to make this a chippy if not outright pugilistic set of games. This is unusual given the few regular season meetings between the two, not a particularly heated or historic rivalry. The character of the Gladiators has so far changed from finesse to the much more physical style seen in the North Division.
Gwinnett players have expressed confidence that they can win the series on the road. The opening period was fast and the Glads went flat out. The Cyclones responded with a more physical presence and nearly matched the Gladiators shots on goal.
In the end, it was a scoreless tie as once again, Louis Domingue and Michael Houser battled it out in net.
The second stanza was a totally different affair as the period became a battle of physical will.
The Cyclones opened the scoring with a power play goal at 2:49 by John McFarland. It took a while for the physical battles to escalate but it was obvious that the dislike between these teams is growing as the series winds on.
Once again on the powerplay, the Cyclones made the Gladiators pay for their mistake and Mathieu Aubin shoved the puck past Domingue after a furious scramble in front of the net.
The second powerplay goal wasn’t pretty but it counted just the same and the ‘Clones gained a 2-0 edge to the relief of the crowd.
Less than two minutes later, at 16:01, McFarland potted his second tally that left Domingue looking at the puck as it sailed by into the twine.
With a 3-0 edge entering the final frame the rout was on.
The Cyclones upped the physicality and pugilism ensued as several scrums erupted that involved almost everyone on the ice.
At 6:22 Michael Pelech added to the score and chased Domingue from the net for the night. Jody O’Neill replaced him for the remainder of the contest and the remaining goal by David Pacan at 12:24.
The three stars of the game were all Cyclones with Michael Houser taking top honors for his shutout, 23 save performance.
Game four looks to be a heated contest if the chippiness of game three is any indication. Friday night will be a battle of wills as the Cyclones seek a commanding edge and the Gladiators seek to again even the series. Tune in for what has become an awesome display of hockey prowess as these two squads fight to the death for supremacy on the ice.
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