Pittsburgh traveled to Cincinnati this past weekend hoping to build off their huge road upset over the Metro Jets last Sunday. Cincinnati had other ideas, and they were able to take take retribution for the Vengeance’s season opening sweep of the Thunder in Pittsburgh.
The opening game Saturday night was a back and forth affair, with Cincinnati opening the scoring in the first and taking the 1-0 lead into the locker room. The teams traded a pair goals each in the second period, and the Vengeance entered the final period of play down 3-2. After a failed penalty shot attempt by Brian Dee, James Unger tied the game with 10:39 remaining in regulation. The two sides played a back and forth overtime, but the game went to a shootout. Neither Vengeance shooter was able to solve Thunder net minder Tyler Geloneck, and Cincinnati claimed the win in the skills competition. Dee and Unger tallied a goal and an assist each in the contest, while Nick Lyon scored the other Vengeance goal. Gavin Cummings, Perry Shiring, and Brian Grant all notched assists.
The loss Saturday night made Sunday’s matinee even more important for the playoff aspirations of the Vengeance. After a scoreless first period, Pittsburgh opened the scoring just 19 seconds into the middle frame on a Dee goal assisted by Cummings and Unger. From that point on, the game was all Cincinnati. The Thunder scored four straight goals in the second period and never looked back, winning the game 4-1. Pittsburgh finished the weekend 0-7 on the powerplay, including a five minute long chance on Sunday.
”We were awful Saturday night and played one of the worst games I've ever been a part of Sunday, " said Coach Dorsey. "We had no structure or compete the entire weekend and that's pretty sad considering what was at stake. I don't want to take anything away from Cincinnati because they played well, but we didn't make hard on them at all.”
With 8 games remaining on the schedule, the Vengeance find themselves four points out of the final playoff spot in the NA3HL East. Pittsburgh plays a home and home series this weekend with the improving Southern Tier Xpress. "These are must games win and they're playing much better than us right now so it should be interesting," said Coach Dorsey. The teams open the series Friday night in Jamestown, and will meet Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. at the Alpha Ice Complex in Harmar.