Reading Royals vs Cincinnati Cyclones: ECF Game 2

Special to The Queen of Dekes
By Brent Baldwin

READING, Pa.

Riley Gill is no stranger to the Eastern Conference Finals. He was part of the Kalamazoo Wings’ run last season. (Candice Monhollan)

Riley Gill is no stranger to the Eastern Conference Finals. He was part of the Kalamazoo Wings’ run last season. (Candice Monhollan)

PRE-GAME NOTES

Bobby Shea, who scored the game-winning goal Friday, had his first career Gordie Howe hat-trick, assisting on Alex Berry‘s game-tying goal and then fighting the Cincinnati CyclonesDavid MacDonald.

Riley Gill‘s 50 saves Friday were a Reading Royals season high.

Today’s officials are referees Tom Chmielewski (27) and Nic Leduc (14). Linesmen are Ryan Daisy (64) and Brian Oliver (36).

STARTING GOALTENDERS

For Reading, it’s No. 30 Gill. For Cincinnati, it’s No. 30 Michael Houser.

GAME TIME

The first period was one where Reading came out flying and had a few good chances, including a couple 2-on-1 breaks, but could not solve the Cyclones’ Houser.

After those first few minutes though, Cincinnati came fast and hard.

Gill was fantastic, only allowing one goal.

The goal came on the power play. With Yannick Tifu off for tripping, Mathieu Aubin tallied his second of the series with a one-timer from the nearside face-off circle. The assists went to Josh McFadden and Dan Eves. The goal was Aubin’s sixth of the postseason.

Cincinnati led 1-0 after one period and the shots favored the Cyclones, 19-6.

Period two was a reverse of the first, where Cincinnati had all the jump and swagger.

Once again, Reading’s man in the mask was exceptional, stopping all 11 shots he faced.

The Royals were able to even the score though.  Friday’s hero, defenseman Shea, scored at 4:46. Standing at the blue line, he took a pass from Dominic Jalbert and wristed it through a screen and past the Cincinnati netminder.

Things were tied at 1 after the second and shots in the period were 11-10 to Cincinnati.

It headed to extra hockey once again, as both teams scored in the third.

Reading struck first and early on a goal by Dustin Stevenson. Stevenson took a Ethan Cox pass and floated a shot past Houser at 1:20.

The Cyclones struck back as Aubin scored his second of the game. The goal was a carbon copy of his first. He fired a one-timer from the exact same spot at 11:31, tying the game at 2. The period shot tally again favored Cincinnati by a count of 13-6.

In overtime, both teams exchanged chances in a back-and-forth sequence.

Reading finally broke through as Kirk MacDonald took a pass behind the net from Stevenson. As he circled around, he worked a pass out front and Berry buried it top shelf to give the Royals a 2-0 series lead.

POSTGAME NOTES

In the first two games of this series, Cincinnati totaled exactly 100 shots.

The series now shifts to Cincinnati for Games 3-5.

PRESS ROOM

Evan Barlow on the games being chippy – “Anytime you play a team more than once, certain guys are going to get on your nerves. You’re bound to take some liberties when you get an opportunity without hurting the team, obviously.”

On the Cyclones’ having last line change after whistles for the next three games – “I’ve had some experience playing in Cincinnati. They’re a tough team at home. They get great fans. The last change is relevant if you let it be. Whoever you’re out against, you have to be better than they are.”

On language barrier with Tifu and Nikita Kashirsky – “Body Language. That’s how we communicate, I guess.”

Riley Gill on having a break – “We got some travel in there. We’re going to enjoy these two games. They play great at home. I’ve been with Kalamazoo the last few years and played them quite a bit in Cincinnati. They’re gonna come out hot at home and it’s going to be no easy task winning some games down there. We just have to stick to our game plan and keep doing what’s working.”

Dustin Stevenson on the tiredness factor – “This bus ride would be a lot longer if we were to lose this one tonight. It’s huge though. You have to take advantage of your home ice and we’re doing a good job of that right now.”

On scoring a goal – “It feels good to get one every now and then. With my role, I just try to stay on the plus side of things, but it’s nice when one gets through for you and goes in, so it feels good.”

Larry Courville on the winner – “It’s one of those things we talk about all the time and it worked to our favor this time. [MacDonald] drove wide and I know he saw a guy in the slot [and was] just trying to put it on net. We try to to not do that – blind passes. It went through their guy, our guy and Berry put it in.”

MAGIC NUMBER

6

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

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