Road Warriors Rally Past Cyclones, 8-4
CINCINNATI, Ohio - The visitors notched three consecutive shorthanded third period tallies as the Greenville Road Warriors (9-5) defeated the Cyclones (9-5) in a back-and-forth affair by an 8-4 final score in front of 2,127 at U.S. Bank Arena on Tuesday night. Eleven different Cyclones recorded a point in a resilient effort that saw the Cyclones come back from an early two-goal deficit and take the lead in the middle stanza, only to surrender five unanswered tallies in the final frame. The Game 2 loss tied the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals at 1-1 before the series shifts to Greenville.
Undoubtedly fueled by their 4-1 loss last night, the Road Warriors were aggressive from the jump, registering the game's first seven shots on goal and holding Cincinnati without a shot for more than fourteen minutes. As was the case in Game 1, the visitors drew first blood when Sean Berkstresser lit the lamp for the second time this postseason, unassisted at 7:37. Greenville extended their lead shortly thereafter when Justin Vaive tipped in his sixth of the playoffs at 12:50. However, Cincinnati trimmed the deficit when their first shot of the tilt found the back of the net at 14:32. Josh Shalla, hot off his Game 1 hat trick, fired a shot that snuck past net minder Jeff Malcolm (W, 20 saves, 2-1), awakening the home crowd and shifting momentum in Cincinnati's favor. When Nicholls was called for slashing, the Cyclones capitalized on the man-advantage, knotting the score at two as Wade Megan sniped in his eighth of the playoffs at 16:36. Despite being outshot 7-6 in the frame, Cincinnati entered the first intermission in the midst of a two-goal scoring streak.
The Road Warriors regained the lead early in the second stanza when Nicholls poked the puck past Rob Madore (L, 20 saves, 9-5) at 1:39. The Cyclones responded with the equalizer when defenseman Brett Wysopal notched his second of the postseason on a slap shot from the blue line at 2:42. Less than two minutes later, Cincinnati took their first lead of the tilt on an odd-man rush when Logan Shaw kicked the puck to his stick and promptly buried his third tally of the playoffs at 4:01. Intensity ratcheted up as the period continued with both teams exchanging power play opportunities. The score held, however, and the Cyclones carried their 4-3 lead into the final frame.
Though Cincinnati began the third period on the power play, it was Greenville that found the back of the net, recording the equalizer with a shorthanded goal from Jordie Johnston, his third of the postseason, at 1:06. After Bretton Stamler was whistled for hooking, Nicholls scored Greenville's second shorthanded tally of the night at 10:50. That was followed by another shorthanded strike from Johnston, his second of the tilt, at 16:25. As the seconds ticked off the clock, the Road Warriors notched an empty net tally from Scott Arnold at 18:27 and a goal from Stamler at 19:00, giving Greenville the 8-4 victory.
The series will now shift to Greenville, South Carolina where the teams will reunite on Thursday for Game 3 of the best-of-seven series. The opening face-off is set for 7:00pm with pre game coverage starting on the Cyclones Radio Network (CyclonesHockey.com, America One, Cyclones Mobile App) at 6:30pm.
Should a sixth game be necessary in this series, the Cyclones would return to U.S. Bank Arena on Tuesday, May 27 to host the Road Warriors at 7:30pm. The contest would feature $2 24-ounce Labatt Blue and Molson Canadian beers for fans 21 and up! Single game and playoff ticket packages are on sale NOW! Call 513.421.PUCK to reserve your seats! Fans can also get the latest team updates throughout the postseason on Facebook and Twitter (@CincyCyclones).
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