EVANSVILLE, IND. – The Evansville IceMen complete their three game weekend with a decisive victory over the first place Cincinnati Cyclones on Sunday at the Ford Center. Evansville was strong early, providing the foundation for a successful outcome against their North Division rival. The IceMen have won two games in a row at the Ford Center and two of three overall.
Evansville wasted no time in gaining an early advantage over the Cyclones on Sunday as they formulated three opening-period goals, with the first one coming on the power play. The opener scored on the man advantage was the tenth goal of the season for IceMen Right Winger Kevin Baker. Baker received a tape-to-tape pass from IceMen Center Todd Robinson that resulted in a goal that put Evansville up 1-0, 4:58 into the first period. IceMen Defenseman Aaron Gens was credited with the second assist. Robinson has tallied 28 assists in 30 games this season and has claimed five of those assists in the last three contests.
IceMen Left Winger Anthony Nigro, the game’s third star, captured his first goal of the season 9:00 into the first period on a precise top-shelf attempt. Nigro’s eventual game-winning goal was assisted by Right Winger Cody Beach and Left Winger Matt Schepke. Beach was named the game’s first star after racking up two assists and a +2 rating in the stat sheet against the Cyclones. Beach was also prominent in the physical side of Sunday night’s game, partaking and performing in a fight with Cincinnati Defenseman David MacDonald 13:14 into the second period.
Evansville made it an opening period trifecta when Right Winger Sebastian Wannstrom lit the lamp for the third time in as many games. Wannstrom’s fourth goal of the campaign in just seven games with the IceMen capped off a dominant first period put forth by the IceMen. Nigro and Beach each earned their second points of the period by claiming assists on the goal that came 17:14 into the frame.
The second period began differently than the first ended as tension was upped throughout the rest of the game. It was a scoreless second period until the 16:34 point when IceMen Defenseman Daniel Tetrault fired a missile toward the net that found its way past Cincinnati Goaltender Michael Houser. Tetrault’s third goal of the season was assisted by IceMen Center Jason Dale, who returned to the Evansville lineup on Sunday after being scratched for the last two games.
Scoring the lone goal for the Cyclones against IceMen Goaltender Paul Karpowich was Cincinnati Forward Paul Kirkland 17:39 into the second period. Karpowich was dependable for the IceMen on his way to the game’s second star honor behind a .967 save percentage. The rookie goaltender saved 32-of-33 shots faced and improves his record to (5-7-1) on the season.
The losing goaltender was Cincinnati’s Michael Houser, who saved 35-of-39 shots faced on his way to a .897 save percentage. Houser’s season record falls to (3-2-0) in just his fifth game of the season.
The IceMen went 1-for-4 on the power play on Sunday and have now prevailed with at least one power play goal in each of their last three games. After an unfavorable outcome in Kalamazoo, Evansville’s penalty killing unit was strong, restraining the Cyclones power play to an 0-for-7 fate. The IceMen outshot the Cyclones for the game, 39-33 and have outshot opponents in each of the last four games.
The IceMen have started the new year by going (2-1-0) and taking four of six points this weekend and move their season record to 37(13-21-3) for 29 points in the North Division. In the two home games this weekend, Evansville has outscored opponents 9-2, with seven of those goals coming in just two overall periods. The IceMen are (12-2-2) this season when leading after two periods. The Cyclones remain in first place in the North Division despite the loss as the Toledo Walleye fell victim to the Kalamazoo Wings on Sunday. Cincinnati declines its record to 34(20-12-2)42 on the season.
The IceMen will host the Fort Wayne Komets on Wednesday, Jan. 9 at the Ford Center. The Komets are third in the North Division and make their first appearance in Evansville since opening night on Oct.13. The game is scheduled to start at 7:15 p.m. and will be broadcasted by ‘Magic 98.5” FM and 1400 AM WEOA, as well as the rest of the IceMen Radio Network.