Cyclones Capture Kelly Cup
CINCINNATI, Ohio – The Cincinnati Cyclones used a 22 save performance from Robert Mayer to collect a 2-1 win over the Idaho Steelheads on Friday night at U.S. Bank Arena. An ECHL playoff record crowd of 13,483 was on hand for the contest.
With the victory, the Cyclones clinch their second Kelly Cup title in three years. Cincinnati wins this final round in the USA Collision Centers postseason, four games to one over the Steelheads.
The Cyclones scored the lone goal of the first period when Dustin Sproat slipped his eleventh goal of the postseason past Rejean Beauchemin at 8:44. Brett Motherwell and Ian McKenzie had the assists. McKenzie grabbed a loose puck in the Cincinnati end and fed it ahead on the right wing side to Motherwell who carried it into the Idaho end. Eluding a defender, Motherwell went to the right post and slipped the puck cross ice as Beauchemin committed to his shot. Sproat grabbed the puck on the left wing side and slipped it into the vacant net for the goal that tied him for the league lead. The shots on goal favored the Cyclones, 7-4, in the period.
The teams exchanged goals in the second period. Idaho tied the game at 5:51 when Matt McKnight netted his fifth goal from Brandan Kushniruk and Cody Lampl. Cincinnati would regain the lead at 10:23 when Jason Jozsa got to a puck at the right point. Jozsa’s shot on goal was tipped in front by Brett Robinson and the rookie’s ninth goal of the playoffs gave the club a 2-1 lead. The shots favored Idaho, 12-5, in the period.
There was no scoring in the third period and the shots favored Idaho, 7-4, in the period and 23-16 for the game.
Robert Mayer collected the win, his sixth of the playoffs with a 22 save effort. Rejean Beauchemin took the loss, turning away 14 shots. Idaho was zero for two on the power play, while the Cyclones were zero for two with the man-advantage.
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.