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Kelly Cup Finals swings to Cincinnati as Predators ECHL affiliate Cyclones trail 2-1


Jun 4, 2014


For the ECHL’s top team in the regular season, the Alaska Aces have certainly proven why they were the best through the first three rounds of the Kelly Cup Playoffs. Going in to Friday’s Game Four at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, the Cyclones have their work cut out for them if they plan on climbing out of their current hole, down two games to one.

Leading up to the Finals, Alaska swept the Las Vegas Wranglers in four games, dispatched the Idaho Steelheads in five, and topped the Bakersfield Condors in six, dropping only three games total on their way to meeting Cincinnati. The Cyclones, on the other hand, outlasted each of their opponents in six games, beating the Orlando Solar Bears, Fort Wayne Komets, and Greenville Road Warriors.

Alaska struck first in the Kelly Cup Finals last Friday on top of four unanswered goals in the second and third periods. While Cincinnati scored three in the second to jump ahead 3-1, the Aces climbed back and took Game One by a score of 5-3.

The Cyclones evened the series the next night on top of two first-period goals, edging Alaska 2-1 on top of a 35-save performance by Cincinnati goaltender Rob Madore.

Alaska finished their homestand on Monday evening with a 2-0 shutout victory over Cincinnati, scoring two late goals in the final 4:08 of regulation. The win gave Aces goaltender Gerald Coleman his first shutout of the post-season.

Predators prospects Josh Shalla, Zach Budish, Taylor Aronson, and Magnus Hellberg are all a part of Cincinnati’s chase for the Kelly Cup. Shalla (10g/6a, 16pts), who is tied for fourth in playoff scoring in the ECHL, is knotted with Florida Panthers prospect Wade Megan for the Cyclones post-season goal scoring lead with ten goals each. Budish (6g/4a, 10pts) and Aronson (0g/7a, 7pts), along with Shalla, have all skated in each of Cincinnati’s 21 post-season games. Hellberg, however, has yet to see any time in net for the Cyclones, with Madore between the pipes for all 21 contests collecting a 13-5-3 record.

The Cyclones will host Game Four, Game Five, and Game Six* starting this Friday night at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati. Doors open at 6:30pm ET with puck drop at 7:30pm ET. A short 270 mile trip from Nashville, Predators fans should definitely attempt to make the trip up to see one of Cincinnati’s Kelly Cup home games on either Friday, Saturday, or Monday. Tickets start at only $20.

* = Game Six to be played if necessary

Photo Credit: Thadd F.