Cyclones Game Notes: Kelly Cup Quarterfinals- Game 1 vs Ft. Wayne
Overview: The Cincinnati Cyclones begin their quest for a third ECHL Kelly Cup championship with a first round meeting against the Division rival Ft. Wayne Komets. The Cyclones and Komets met 10 times during the regular season, with Cincinnati compiling a 5-4-1-0 record. Neither team was able to find an offensive edge, as both sides were tied, 33-33, in goals scored. This will be the eighth time since returning to the ECHL prior to the 2006-2007 season that the Cyclones will be participating in the Kelly Cup Playoffs. Cincinnati won the Kelly Cup in 2008 and again in 2010, and made a third trip to the Kelly Cup Finals in 2014.
Season Series Recap: The 2015-16 regular season series between the Cyclones and Komets was about as close as it could have been, as both teams won five games of the 10-game series. The Cyclones had the advantage in the first five games of the season, posting a 3-1-1-0 record while outscoring Ft. Wayne, 16-10. The Komets managed to even up the series in the second half of the season, posting wins in three of the final five meetings, and holding a 23-17 edge in goals scored.
In Cincinnati: Seven of the 10 meetings, including four of the final five, took place at U.S. Bank Arena with Cincinnati coming away with victories in three of those contests (3-3-1-0). The Komets held a slight offensive advantage over the Cyclones, outscoring Cincinnati 25-21.
In Ft. Wayne: Even though there were only three games played in Ft. Wayne this season, the Cyclones had a decided advantage over the Komets. Cincinnati picked up wins in two of the three contests while outscoring Ft. Wayne, 11-6, including a combined 10-2 in the first two meetings back on October 31 and November 26.
Playoff History: This marks the second time the Cyclones and Komets will meet in the Kelly Cup Playoffs. The two sides clashed in the 2014 Eastern Conference Semifinals, with Cincinnati taking the best-of-seven series, 4 games to 2. The Cyclones went on to lose in the Kelly Cup Finals to the Alaska Aces that season, 4 games to 2.
Players to Watch- Cincinnati:
F Jack Downing- The 2015-16 ECHL co-goal scoring champion had a career season for the Cyclones, leading the team and ranking seventh in the League with 64 points (32g, 32a) in 72 games played this season. The New Canaan, CT, native posted six goals and six assists against Ft. Wayne this season to lead all players, and recorded points in nine of the 10 games played against Ft. Wayne.
F Zach Budish- The 24-year-old came in second on the Cyclones in scoring, accounting for 24 goals and 34 assists for 58 points, in 69 games this season. Like Downing, he also saw success against the Komets, recording four goals and dishing out six assists in 10 games against Ft. Wayne.
F Nick Huard- Huard was one of the top power play producers in the ECHL this season, leading the league with 15 power play goals, and ranking sixth overall in League rookie scoring with 52 points (21g, 31a),including 24 (15g, 9a) while on the man advantage.
Players to Watch- Ft. Wayne:
F Shawn Szydlowski- The 2015-16 All-ECHL Second Team selection paced the Komets and ranked third in the League with 75 points (25g, 50a) in 62 games played. He was also tied for the team lead with a plus-23 on-ice rating. In 10 games against Cincinnati, Szydlowski registered four goals and six assists.
F Mike Embach- The former Cyclone has seen quite a bit of success against his former team, accounting for 25 points (15g, 10a) in 22 career games with the Komets against Cincinnati. This season, he totaled 10 points (6g, 4a) in 10 games against Cincinnati, and ranked second on the team overall with 23 goals and 30 assists.
G Pat Nagle- Nagle shouldered the bulk of the load this season for the Komets, posting a mark of 28-12-7-1 along with a 2.36 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage. He led the ECHL with five shutouts, and his 28 wins placed him fourth amongst League goaltenders.
The 2016 Kelly Cup Playoffs are upon us! YOUR Cyclones are on the march towards another Kelly Cup Championship, and want you along for the ride! Be sure to get your single game tickets, or check out one of our 2016 Kelly Cup Playoff Ticket Packages, available NOW! Call 513.421.PUCK to reserve your seats. Fans can also get the latest team updates on Facebook, Twitter (@CincyCyclones), Instagram, and our website, www.cycloneshockey.com!
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