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Clones even series with Ft. Wayne with a 5-2 victory
CINCINNATI, Ohio (WKRC) -- Josh Shalla scored twice in a wild second period as the Cyclones (5-3) defeated the Fort Wayne Komets (5-2) by a 5-2 final score in front of 1,731 at U.S. Bank Arena on Saturday night. With the Game 2 victory, the Cyclones evened the Eastern Conference Semifinals at one game apiece. Byron Froese, the Cyclones leader in points, recorded three assists in the win, raising his total to 10 points in the postseason. Goaltender Rob Madore (W, 25 saves, 5-3) turned in another impressive performance between the pipes, turning aside 25 of the 27 shots he faced in the contest.
The Cyclones kicked off the tilt by successfully killing two penalties. With four minutes of a man advantage, the Komets registered several quality scoring chances. However, the Cyclones kept their Hoosier State foes off the scoreboard and entered the first intermission no worse for the wear, despite being outshot 9-5 in the frame.
The home teams offense roared to life with two quick goals to start the second stanza. After beating the Komets defense to the puck, Josh Birkholz passed it to Froese. Froese moved goaltender Ben Meisner (L, 28 saves, 5-2-0-0) out of place and passed the puck back to Birkholz, who promptly buried his second of the postseason at 1:44. Cincinnati extended their lead when Jonathan Hazen made a pass through traffic to Shalla, who sent his first tally of the playoffs between Meisners legs at 5:52.
Minutes later, Fort Wayne trimmed their deficit as former Cyclone Matt Carter backhanded the puck over Madore at the 9:00 mark. The Cyclones regained the two-goal lead at 14:54 when Shalla sniped in his second of the night straight off a face-off win by Froese. After Shawn Szydlowski was called for tripping, Zach Budish capitalized on the power play when he tipped in a shot by Taylor Aronson at 17:59. The Cyclones, who outshot the Komets 18-6 in the period, carried their 4-1 lead into the final frame.
The physical play and intensity continued into the third period as both teams exchanged power play opportunities. At 17:25, Szydlowski found the back of the net for the third time of the postseason. But the Cyclones capped the scoring for the night when Wade Megan notched his sixth goal of the playoffs with an empty net tally at 19:08, securing the 5-2 victory for Cincinnati.
Everyone is buying in right now, said Shalla, who was named first star of the game. My line, the whole team, everyone is working hard. Everybody wants to win. My line, were clicking and we like playing with each otherEveryone is excited. Its the playoffs. Its fun.
The series will now shift to Fort Wayne, Indiana where Games 3, 4, and 5 will take place next week. The next match-up will be Thursday night at 7:30pm at Memorial Coliseum. Fans can hear the action of the game on the Cyclones Radio Network beginning at 7:00pm.
Image and information provided by the Cincinnati Cyclones