Reading Royals vs Cincinnati Cyclones: ECF Game 1

Special to The Queen of Dekes
By Brent Baldwin

READING, Pa.

After he was benched in Game 3 of the Semifinals, Joel Champagne has posted four points (1G, 3A). (Candice Monhollan)

After he was benched in Game 3 of the Semifinals, Joel Champagne has posted four points (1G, 3A). (Candice Monhollan)

LAST ROUND

In the Conference Semifinals, the Cincinnati Cyclones defeated the Gwinnett Gladiators four games to two. They were paced in goal by Michael Houser, who has started every game of these playoffs for the Cyclones.

Meanwhile, the Reading Royals defeated the defending Kelly Cup Champion Florida Everblades in seven games. The Royals’ goaltending tandem of Mark Owuya (1.61 GAA) and Riley Gill (1.81 GAA) lead the league in goals-against average for these playoffs.

PRE-GAME NOTES

The leading scorer for the Cyclones, Trevor Lewis, is scratched. Cincinnati is coached by former NHLer Jarrod Skalde. The Royals scratched defenseman Mark Mitera.

STARTING GOALTENDERS

For the Cyclones, it’s No. 30 Houser. For the Royals, it’s No. 30 Gill.

GAME TIME

The first period started slow, with both teams just sort of feeling each other out.

Cincinatti struck first at 6:17. Mike Embach threw the puck forward to Josh McFadden, which started a 3-on-1. Breaking down the far side, McFadden threw the puck to Josh Shalla in the slot. Royals’ goaltender Gill went down, but couldn’t stop Shalla as he went backhand-forehand to make it 1-0.

Nine minutes later, Reading would strike back.

Bryant Molle passed to Nikita Kashirsky, who wristed it at the net. Evan Barlow was screening Cyclones’ netminder Houser and deflected the shot to tie it at one. The period ended tied at 1 and the shots were nine apiece.

The second period was one in which Reading started slow and paid the price.

Just 1:52 in, Mathieu Aubin would make it 2-1 Cyclones. Standing just outside the crease, he wristed home a John McFarland pass.

Reading’s T.J. Syner would tie it at 3:34. After Ian O’Connor took a pass from Brett Flemming, he went in on a 2-on-1. Syner’s shot deflected off of a Cincinnati defenseman’s skate and into the net.

The Cyclones closed the scoring in the period when David Pacan scored his ninth of the playoffs. After taking a pass from Embach, Shalla fired a shot standing on the goal line. Pacan, who was standing in front of the crease, deflected it past Gill at 9:52.

The period ended with the Cyclones up 3-2. Shots in the period were 11-7 in favor of Cincinnati.

The third period was one of wackiness.

Barlow tied it for Reading on a breakaway at 4:17.

McFadden got his first of the playoffs at 15:27, deflecting a Charles-Olivier Roussel backhand attempt at 15:27.

At 18:30, Dominic Jalbert dumped the puck in just beyond the red line. The puck deflected off the skate of Royals’ forward Alex Berry. Houser looked to be thinking the puck was going behind the net. However, the puck took a crazy bounce into the net.

Overtime had sloppy play by both sides. Cincinnati had 14 shots, but very few quality scoring chances.  Reading managed half that, but did hit a post and a crossbar. Shots in the first overtime were 14-7 in favor of the Cyclones.

Early in the second overtime, Brian O’Hanley was given two minutes for putting the puck over the glass.  Though they had several good chances, Reading failed to capitalize.

At the 9:37 mark, Bobby Shea took a pass from Yannick Tifu and blasted it past Houser for the winner in the second overtime.

POSTGAME NOTES

Shea’s winning goal is the first of his pro career.

PRESS ROOM

Dominic Jalbert – “We didn’t play our best, but we still got the win. It’s our third overtime game and our third win, so that’s very good for our confidence.”

On the tying goal – “I wanted to dump it and just rim it but it hit Berry’s skate and it just went in so it was a lucky bounce, but if you want to go to the end you need a lucky bounce and I’m pretty happy it went that way.”

Reaction to the shot – “At first I was pissed because I shot on Berry and I didn’t know it was going in the net and then I saw the puck so I think the goalie fell. I was just surprised and I was laughing about it”

On whether he feels like a rookie after 13 games – “I’m going to be the rookie on Sunday when I have to sleep on the floor of the bus.”

Bobby Shea on if the stars are aligning – “Yeah, I think we played well in these games that are close and that’s what good teams do. [They] find a way to win.”

Larry Courville on the Berry goal – “We were on a power play [and] were down by one. [Jalbert] just shot it and it went off the defenseman’s  skate and the goalie got caught. The bounces initially went their way and then we had one go our way. You know, we’ll take it. I thought they outplayed us and deserved a better fate but hockey’s not always that way.”

MAGIC NUMBER

7

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Categories: ECHL, Ice Hockey, Kelly Cup Playoffs, Sports

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