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Cyclones drop game 5 3-2, lead series 3-2
CINCINNATI, Ohio (WKRC) -- Eric Baiers overtime goal capped off a late-game rally for the Orlando Solar Bears (2-3) as they defeated the Cyclones (3-2) by a 3-2 final score in front of 1,559 at U.S. Bank Arena on Saturday night. With the victory, Orlando avoids playoff elimination and sends the series, which Cincinnati currently leads 3-2, back to Orlando for Game 6. Goaltender Christopher Gibbons (W, 41 saves, 1-0), who was making his first playoff start, stood strong late in the game and allowed his team to make a comeback, turning aside 41 of the 43 shots he faced in the tilt. With his tally in the first period, Byron Froese continued his recent hot streak for Cincinnati and recorded his team-leading seventh point of the postseason.
The Cyclones asserted themselves early, setting a quick pace and swarming the Orlando defense. As a result, the home team also drew first blood when defenseman Taylor Aronson put the puck precisely on the stick of Froese. Cincinnatis leading goal scorer then promptly buried his fifth lamplighter of the postseason on a shot from between the circles at 10:43. It wasnt long before Cincinnati extended their lead as Josh Birkholz unleashed a slap shot on a breakaway that found its way between the legs of Gibbons at 12:04. The Cyclones outshot the Solar Bears, 15-4, in the frame and carried their two-goal advantage into the first intermission.
Orlando trimmed their deficit to start the second stanza as C.J. Severyn notched his first tally of the playoffs at 1:27. As the tilt took a physical turn, the Cyclones were awarded with three power play opportunities, but were unable to find the back of the net. The home team did successfully kill a penalty and headed into the final frame with a one-goal lead and a 27-13 advantage in shots on goal.
When Jonathan Hazen was called for interference, the Solar Bears knotted the score at two as Blake Kessel capitalized on the power play with his second goal of the postseason at 7:58. The Cyclones successfully killed a late-game penalty to close a tense third period and send the game into overtime.
The Cyclones opened the bonus session by killing a penalty to Josh McFadden, but it was the Solar Bears that ended the game when Baier fired one past goaltender Rob Madore (L, 21 saves, 3-1) at 5:13.
Image and information provided by the Cincinnati Cyclones