Cyclones One Win From Championship
CINCINNATI, Ohio – Thanks in part to a pair of third-period goals by Reid Cashman and Dustin Sproat the Cincinnati Cyclones are one win from their second Kelly Cup Championship in three years as they lead the Idaho Steelheads three games to one in the ECHL Championship series.
The Cyclones, who topped Idaho 3-2 in game five, can wrap things up with a win on Friday night at the US Bank Arena in Cincinnati.
On Thursday night Idaho scored the only goal of the first period. With Brock Sheahan serving a roughing penalty, John Swanson’s drive from the point snuck through traffic for his eighth goal of the postseason at 19:41. Kevin DeVergilio and Cody Lampl had the assists on the power play. The shots on goal favored the Steelheads, 11-5, in the period.
The teams exchanged second period goals, as Jason Jozsa ripped a shot from just inside the center point for his first of the postseason. The score at 3:30 came from Jimmy Kilpatrick and Mark Van Guilder. Idaho’s second power play goal of the night at 3:30 came from Marty Flichel, whose sixth goal of the playoffs came from the top of the right circle on a cross ice pass from Dustin Friesen with a second assist given to Evan Barlow. The shots favored the Steelheads, 8-5, in the frame.
Cincinnati tied the game at 5:44 when Reid Cashman picked up his second goal of the playoffs on a blast from the center point on the power play. Mark Van Guilder and Mathieu Aubin had the assists on the score. Just 53 seconds later, at 6:37, Dustin Sproat notched his tenth of the playoffs for the game winner. The play developed when Ian McKenzie collected a turnover at the Idaho blueline and skated the puck down the wall on the left wing side. McKenzie hesitated until Sproat came streaking up the right wing side and then slid the puck cross ice into the right faceoff circle for the shot that decided the game. Idaho played the final 1:38 with goaltender Rejean Beauchemin on the bench and had an extra advantage when Cashman was in the penalty box for the final 45.7 seconds. The shots on goal favored the Steelheads, 10-5, in the third period and 29-15 for the game.
The 15 shots on goal by the Cyclones tied a Kelly Cup record for fewest in a Finals game. Ironically, Idaho fired 15 shots in game five of the 2007 Kelly Cup Finals. The Steelheads scored on four of them and took home the trophy that night with the series win at the Nutter Center.
Robert Mayer took the victory with a 27 save effort—his fifth of the playoffs, while Rejean Beauchemin stopped just twelve shots in the defeat. Idaho was two-for-four on the power play, while Cincinnati was one-for-four.
The Cyclones posted a 44-25-3 record in the regular season and entered the postseason as the fifth placed team in the American Conference. Cincinnati upset fourth-seeded and defending Kelly Cup champion South Carolina in the opening round. The best of five series went the full five contests—the last three being decided in overtime, all at Charleston. In the semifinals, the Cyclones went a full seven games before knocking off Charlotte—the regular season American Conference champion. Cincinnati claimed the American Conference championship after rallying from a 3-0 deficit in the series with Reading and winning the final four games to advance.