CINCINNATI, Ohio – The Cincinnati Cyclones rallied for a pair of goals in the third period, but it was an Idaho Steelheads goal in the first minute of the second overtime that gave the club a 4-3 win on Tuesday night at U.S. Bank Arena. Evan Barlow's second goal of the night ended the third-longest game in Cyclones history with a defeat.
This was the third game of the 2010 Kelly Cup Finals featuring the American Conference champion Cincinnati Cyclones and the National Conference winner Idaho Steelheads. The best of seven series continues Thursday night at U.S. Bank Arena with the fourth game at 7:30pm. The Cyclones lead the series two games to one. The fifth game is assured of being played at U.S. Bank Arena on Friday night, also at 7:30pm.
Idaho scored the first two goals of the game to grab a 2-0 edge at the first intermission. John Swanson got loose behind the Cyclones defense and was able to slip a shot past Cincinnati netminder Robert Mayer at 13:51 for his seventh score of the postseason. Mark McCutcheon and Weston Tardy had the assists on the score. Idaho's second marker came from Evan Barlow with his seventh score of the playoffs at 18:04.
Dustin Friesen and Kevin DeVergilio had the helpers on the goal. The shots on goal favored the Steelheads, 13-5, in the period. The teams exchanged goals in the second period.
Idaho extended the lead to 3-0 when Dustin Friesen snapped home his first goal of the playoffs at 5:19, as Mathieu Tousignaut had the assist. Cincinnati would get on the board at 12:32 when Brett Robinson streaked into the right circle from the right point and fired a one-timer past Rejean Beauchemin. Will Ortiz had the puck in the low slot and slid it back into the space for Robinson's eighth score of the season. Hans Benson had the second assist. The shots were even at seven each.
The Cyclones would even the scores and force overtime with a pair of goals in the third stanza. Jimmy Kilpatrick stuffed in his seventh goal at 7:07, as referee Keith Kaval twice waved that the puck had not entered the net before pointing that it counted. Maxime Lacroix and Brett Motherwell had the assists.
Mark Van Guilder's fifth goal of the playoffs came off the pads of Beauchemin on a rebound of a shot by Kilpatrick to knot the scores at three each at 16:31. Lacroix had the second assist on the score. The shots would favor Cincinnati, 10-8.
The first overtime ended with no scoring, as Cincinnati had six quality chances to end the game—while Idaho had one. The Cyclones won the shots battle in the stanza, 16-5.
Just 48 seconds into the second overtime the Steelheads worked the puck to the right side of the Cincinnati net and Barlow was able to dump the puck into the cage to end the game. DeVergilio and Mark Derlago had the assists. The goal was the only shot for either team in the second extra session and for the night, Cincinnati won the shots battle—38-34.
The crowd of 5595 was the second-largest of the 2010 Kelly Cup postseason, narrowly missing the 5603 that saw Victoria play at Bakersfield on April 10. It was the fourth-largest crowd in Cyclones playoff history and the club is now averaging 3163 fans per postseason contest, seventh-best in the Kelly Cup playoffs. The Cyclones have already set a team record for combined attendance between the regular season and playoffs with 171,547.
The contest marked the third straight season in the playoffs that the Cyclones had overcome a three goal deficit at one point in a game and forced an overtime session. It was the first time that one of these rallies did not result in a win.
During the game, Cyclones fans were encouraged to bring macaroni and cheese boxes to use as noisemakers. These were collected postgame and will be used by Matthew 25 Ministries for relief work for the flooding victims in Nashville.
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.
Idaho had the ECHL's best regular season record with a 48-17-7 mark. The Steelheads enjoyed a first round bye and then swept Utah in four games before dispatching Stockton in six games. Idaho is looking to become the first team in ECHL history to record three Kelly Cup championships in a seven year span.
The series is now in Cincinnati for games three, four and five (if necessary) at U.S. Bank Arena. Game four will be played on Thursday with a 7:30pm start.
This would be Game L for playoff package holders.
If a fifth game is needed, it would be played on Friday at 7:30pm and that final possible game in Cincinnati for 2009-10 would be Game M in the playoff ticket package.
Tickets for the 2010-11 Cincinnati Cyclones season are now on sale, as well as for this final round of the USA Collision Centers playoff chase. The Cyclones Sales Department can be reached at 513-421-PUCK, extension 3. All road Kelly Cup playoff games will be carried on ESPN 1530 and on the club's website at: www.cycloneshockey.com.