Cyclones Rally Comes Up Short, 4-3
CINCINNATI, Ohio - The Cincinnati Cyclones have never rallied from a four goal deficit to win a hockey game, although a serious bid in the second half of Wednesday's 4-3 loss to South Carolina put that mark in jeopardy. The Stingrays led 4-0 with four minutes remaining in the second period before a Cincinnati charge nearly turned the tables.
The win by South Carolina gives the club a three games to none lead in the best of seven series for the American Conference championship. The North Division playoff champion Cyclones (41-26-5 regular season record) and the South Division playoff champion South Carolina (42-23-6 regular season record) are fighting to determine who will face the National Conference champion (either Alaska or Las Vegas, Alaska currently leads 2-0) for the Kelly Cup, which gets underway the weekend of May 23.
It is only the second time in the 21-year history of the ECHL that teams have met for the conference championship in consecutive years (Peoria and Trenton battled for the 2000 and 2001 Northern Conference title). It is the Cyclones third trip to the league's final four teams playing-having lost in 2003 to Atlantic City in seven games and having won the conference honors over South Carolina a year ago. Cincinnati went on to take the Kelly Cup in six games against Las Vegas.
South Carolina scored the only goal of the first period, as Maxime Lacroix snapped off his sixth goal of the playoffs at 7:53 from Travis Morin and Brad Farynuk. The power play score was one of three man-advantage opportunities the Stingrays had in the opening 20 minutes. The shots on goal were even at 13 apiece.
South Carolina scored the first three goals of the middle stanza to build a 4-0 lead. Trent Campbell (2:31), Nikita Kashirsky (5:11) and Zach Tarkir (7:07) needed less than five minutes to seemingly ice the game. The Cyclones responded with a goal at 16:38 from captain Barret Ehgoetz, his fourth of the playoffs. A crushing body check by Gerard Miller on Tarkir allowed the puck to come loose behind the South Carolina net. Mark Santorelli fed the puck in front of the net for Ehgoetz to score. In the aftermath of the score and altercation that came with Miller's check-a Stingrays penalty allowed the Cyclones to have a power play. It took nearly a minute and a half, but Kyle Rank buried his third goal of the postseason with a backhander from the top of the goal crease. Dustin Sproat and Jimmy Kilpatrick worked the puck out of the left corner to get it to Rank. The shots on goal again were even at eight apiece.
The Cyclones cut the deficit to one when Ehgoetz slapped home his second of the night at 1:52 on the power play from Matt Macdonald and Sproat. Cincinnati pushed the play in the South Carolina zone through the third period but could not net the equalizing score. The shots on goal favored the Cyclones, 10-5, in the third. For the game, Cincinnati held a 31-26 edge.
Jonathan Boutin stopped 28 shots to pick up his league-high tenth win of the playoffs. Loic Lacasse stopped 16 shots and absorbed the loss, before yielding way to Ryan Nie-who stopped all six shots he faced.
The Cyclones will play the Stingrays in the fourth game of the conference finals on Friday night (May 15) at U.S. Bank Arena. The fifth game of the series, if needed, will be Saturday night (May 16), also at U.S. Bank Arena. The contests will be carried on the club's website at www.cycloneshockey.com.
Tickets for the 2009-10 Cincinnati Cyclones season are now on sale. The Cyclones Sales Department can be reached at 513-421-PUCK, extension 3. For the latest news, notes and information on the team, visit: www.cycloneshockey.com . Ask about the Family Four Pack (four tickets, four hot dogs, four Pepsis, four Cyclones winter hats, four public skate passes at SportsPlus and a SportsPlus game card) for just $77!
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ECHL Stories from May 13, 2009
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