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Cyclones Rally Falls Short to Florida, 4-3

December 12, 2012 | View Comments

Cyclones Rally Falls Short to Florida, 4-3

CINCINNATI, Ohio – The Cincinnati Cyclones (14-7-2-0) comeback bid was denied in the finals seconds as the Florida Everblades (11-8-1-4) held on to win by a final score of 4-3 in front of a crowd of 2,345 at U.S. Bank Arena on Wednesday night.

For most of the opening frame, the two teams prevented each other from getting many scoring opportunities. It wasn’t until the 16:44 mark when Florida defenseman Mark Stuart broke the scoreless tie with a slap shot from the top of the left circle – sailing over the stick-side shoulder of Cyclones goaltender Brian Foster (L, 11 saves, 11-2-2). The Everblades held onto their 1-0 lead for the remainder of the first period.

Florida quickly extended their advantage to 2-0 just 1:29 into the second stanza as former Cyclone A.J. Jenks found David Rutherford with a centering pass that Rutherford was able to tuck past the leg of Foster. Then, with 14:00 left in the middle period, forward Leigh Salters gave Florida a three-goal cushion as he caught a Ryan O’Byrne pass in front of the net and wristed a shot home. Just 1:13 later, Josh Birkholz finally lit the lamp for Cincinnati on a turnaround shot from the left circle that beat Florida net minder John Muse (W, 29 saves, 6-3-1-3) to cut the Cyclones deficit to 3-1. Unfortunately, it only took 52 seconds for the Everblades to answer back on a Corey Trivino wrist shot that he slipped by the stick of Foster to cap off a two-on-one rush. After the Trivino strike, Zoltan Hetenyi (ND, 7 saves) replaced Foster in net for the remainder of the contest. The teams played without a goal the rest of the frame and Florida carried its 4-1 lead to the second intermission.

Cincinnati made it a 4-2 game midway through the final frame; After John McFarland skated behind the Florida goal, he found Mike Embach waiting in the slot for an easy tip in. Rookie Anthony Bitetto also picked up an assist on the score, earning the first professional point of his young career. In the final minute, the Cyclones pulled Hetenyi in an attempt to tie it with the extra attacker. With just 17 seconds left, Mike Pelech batted a puck out of mid-air and through the legs of Muse to make it a one-goal affair at 4-3. However, after a misconduct penalty was handed out to both sides with just six seconds to go, the face-off was brought back to center ice and Cincinnati did not have time to find the equalizer. Florida held on to win by a 4-3 final score.

First Star: Leigh Salters (1 goal for Florida)
Second Star: Aaron Bogosian (2 assists for Florida)
Third Star: Josh Birkholz (1 goal for Cincinnati)

The Cyclones will return to the ice at U.S. Bank Arena on Friday, December 14 when they once again play host to the Florida Everblades at 7:30pm. The first 2,000 fans through the gates will receive a Cyclones SnowGlobe courtesy of Beacon Orthopaedics! Call 513.421.PUCK or visit CyclonesHockey.com to reserve your seats! Fans can also get the latest team updates throughout the season on Facebook and Twitter (@CincyCyclones).

Click here for tonight's box score.

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