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Cyclones land 7-3 win on big night from Froese
ORLANDO, Fla. (WKRC) -- Byron Froese's hat trick and five-point night highlighted a Cincinnati Cyclones (2-0 playoffs) 7-3 rout of the Orlando Solar Bears (0-2 playoffs) in front of 4,743 at Amway Center on Sunday night. The victory gave the Cyclones a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
After nearly a full period of scoreless hockey, the Cyclones notched the opening goal of the contest with just over two minutes remaining. Byron Froese raced into the offensive end and dished a perfect pass to Barry Almeida across the slot, who buried his first of the playoffs at 17:39. And thanks to a pair of penalty kills and eight opening frame saves from Rob Madore (W, 30 saves, 1-0 playoffs), Cincinnati held a 1-0 edge through 20 minutes.
It didn't take long in the middle stanza for the Solar Bears to even the score; just 1;06 in, Blake Kessel cut out of the corner and lifted a shot over Madore's shoulder to make it a 1-1 game. Exactly one minute later, the Cyclones regained the lead as Byron Froese buried his first goal of the postseason. Then, at 3:28, Froese added another goal to his totals as he capitalized on a poor poke check from Cody Reichard (L, 28 saves, 0-1 playoffs) by tucking in his second of the night. Orlando temporarily stopped the bleeding with another goal of its own, this time off of a point shot from Cody Wild. However, the Cyclones would again pad their to a pair as Josh McFadden's blue line cannon careened off of Wade Megan's skate and into the net at 17:59. The visiting team would carry the 4-2 lead at the second intermission.
Trevor Lewis put his team back on the board just 3:23 into the final period by backhanding a sharp-angle shot over Reichard's shoulder for his second goal in as many games. With a 5-2 lead, the Cyclones appeared to have the game in hand until 15:25 when Tyler Murovich fired a laser-accurate wrist shot past Madore to again pull his team to within two. However, in the waning minutes, Cincinnati added a pair of empty netters - one from Jonathan Hazen and another from Froese - to seal a 7-3 runaway for the Cyclones. Froese became just the third Cyclones to net a playoff hat trick.
Image and information provided by the Cincinnati Cyclones