After a four day break to lick their wounds after the Florida roadtrip, the Express headed to Cincinnati to take on the division rival Cyclones for back-to-back games last weekend.
Chicago Express 4, Cincinnati Cyclones 3
Friday night’s game was a balanced, yet chippy contest, with Peter Mannino in net for the Express and Chet Pickard in goal for the Cyclones. The Express got off to a fast start with a goal by defenseman Scott Wietecha just 38 seconds into the game. Matthew Sisca tied the game for the Cyclones at 4:49, but the Express scored two more goals in the first to take a 3-1 lead. Devin DiDiomete scored his 5th of the season, and Chaz Johnson scored his team leading 12th goal on the power play at 15:14 of the period. The Cyclones outshot the Express 11-10 in the first frame.
The second period remained scoreless until 19:23 of the period when Mathieu Aubin (Oui, oui) notched his 15th goal of the year on the 2-man advantage for Cincinnati. The spinning funnels completed the comeback when Sisca scored his second of the game at 6:39 of the third. But Pierre-Luc Faubert squashed any hopes of a Cyclones victory, scoring his 12th goal of the year at 13:12 with assists by Johnson and Tyler Donati. The Express and Cyclones were even in SOGs at 26, and Mannino earned his first win as a member of the Express. The game featured a total of 68 penalty minutes, including 19 for Devin DiDiomete who earned a major and game misconduct for spearing with 26 seconds left in the game. DiDiomete was issued a one game suspension for his efforts, and the Cyclones’ Dan Eves also received a one game suspension for a slashing match penalty. Fun times!
Cincinnati Cyclones 4, Chicago Express 1
Goaltenders Peter Mannino and Chet Pickard faced off again in the second half of back-to-back games. Cincinnati dominated from puck drop, outshooting the Express 10-3 in the first period alone. The Cyclones’ Michael Pelech scored 5:44 into the game, shortly followed by Matthew Sisca’s 3rd goal on the weekend. David Leaderer gave the whirling dervishes a 3-0 lead after one, wristing a shot from the circle at 17:45 of the period.
The second period was scoreless, despite the best efforts of the Express who outshot Cincinnati 12-8. Peter Mannino stopped the Cyclones’ Mathieu Aubin on a penalty shot at 13:23 of the middle frame. The Express were guilty of covering the puck up in their crease. Chicago attempted a comeback in the third, with Kyle Ostrow scoring his 9th of the season at 8:58. The Cyclones though took advantage of Chicago’s lack of discipline and put the game away on a 4-on-3 power play with a goal by Taylor Aronson at 12:34. Cincinnati outshot the Express 29-28 for the game. It was another penalty filled affair, with 68 PIM called in the game, 40 of them on the Express. This included a game misconduct on Express coach Steve Martinson – oh to have been on the bench for that one! The rivalry that has already formed between these two teams is heartwarming. Or something.
2012 ECHL Silver Skater Fan Ballot
Due to the fact the ECHL is not holding an all-star game this season, the league is holding an online fan vote for the league’s “Silver Skaters.” Each team has four nominees, and the top two vote getters per team will wear special “Silver Skater” jerseys during a home game. The Express’ nominees are forward Chad Painchaud, forward Bobby Robins, Captain Nathan Lutz and defenseman Darcy Campbell. Write-ins are also accepted. Voting takes place on the ECHL website and is open until February 5th at 11:59 PM EST.
The Week Ahead: Wednesday (1/25) vs. Cincinnati Cyclones, Friday (1/27) at Toledo Walleye, Saturday (1/28) vs. Cincinnati Cyclones (Free Youth Jersey Night), Sunday (1/29) vs. Cincinnati Cyclones. If you want to be at the Sears Centre this week to watch what is sure to be a lovefest, you can purchase tickets at the Express website or Sears Center box office.
Current Standings: North Division – 1) Kalamazoo Wings, 47 points (39 GP), 2) Chicago Express, 40 points (39 GP), 3) Cincinnati Cyclones, 37 points (34 GP), 4) Toledo Walleye, 35 points (39 GP). The Express are currently sitting in the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference. The top eight teams in the conference will make the Kelly Cup playoffs
Stats-O-Rama: Tyler Donati currently leads the team in points with 36…Chaz Johnson & Pierre-Luc Faubert leads the team in goals with 12…Tyler Donati has 27 assists…Nathan Lutz is a +13…Devin DiDiomete is fourth in the ECHL with 155 penalty minutes…Peter Mannino is the Express goaltending leader with a GAA of 3.22 and a SV% of .888…The Express are fifth in the ECHL and first in the Eastern Conference in PIM with 831, averaging 21.3 penalty minutes a game…The Express are tied for fourth in the ECHL with 6 shorthanded goals…Chicago is 18/20 in the ECHL in both power play percentage (14.6%) and the penalty kill (79.5%)
Recent Transactions: Currently Drew Paris, Dan Henningson, Brett Motherwell, Aaron Marvin, Blair Riley, Allen York, Paul Dainton and Bobby Robins are all playing for various teams in the AHL.