CINCINNATI, OH- Michael Houser leads the ECHL in three different goaltending categories, and on Thursday night, he was a big key to victory for the Cincinnati Cyclones at U.S. Bank Arena. The Youngstown, Pennsylvania native was bested once by Kevin Spinozzi, before his teammates gave him four goals of support, as the Cyclones defeated the Wheeling Nailers, 4-1.
The Nailers scored the lone goal in the first period, and it came at the 9:51 mark. Trevor Yates let a shot fly from the right wing wall, which missed the net, but turned out to be a good setup for a teammate. Kevin Spinozzi stepped into the loose puck, throwing a shot into the top-left corner of the cage. Spinozzi's 13th goal of the season tied Brampton's Jordan Henry for the most among ECHL defensemen, while Jeff Taylor picked up the secondary assist in his first game of the season with Wheeling.
Special teams led Cincinnati into the lead during the middle frame, despite a 16-8 shots advantage for the Nailers. At the 3:20 mark, Jesse Schultz played the puck across the blueline to Eric Knodel, who fired in a slap shot from the left point. With 8:49 remaining, the Cyclones converted on a penalty shot, as Brady Vail wound in from the left, before zipping a shot into the right side of the net.
An unlucky bounce took the Wheeling deficit to two at the 7:52 mark of the third period, as Vasili Glotov banked a backhander off Dane Birks' right skate and into the net. Mike Marnell tacked on one more goal from the slot with 8:51 left on the clock, putting the wraps on a 4-1 Cincinnati win.
Michael Houser secured his 20th victory of the season for the Cyclones, thwarting 34 of the 35 shots sent his way. Jordan Ruby made 18 saves on 22 shots for the Nailers in the defeat.
The Nailers will travel to Brampton for game three of their road stretch on Tuesday morning at 11:00. Wheeling's next home game is Pittsburgh Penguins Night on March 2nd against Cincinnati at 7:05. Mike Lange, Ken Wregget, and Tyler Kennedy will be the special guests, plus the Nailers will wear special jerseys. All tickets are $12, there will be a yellow rally towel giveaway, and fans are encouraged to wear black. The Wheeling Nailers, considered one of the top things to do in Wheeling, West Virginia, provide affordable family entertainment for fans throughout the Ohio Valley. For information on season tickets, group tickets, flex plans, and more, call (304) 234-GOAL.