Now that a much needed weekend off is in the books, the Cincinnati Cyclones (26-23-5) will spend their final hours in the Sunshine State in Orlando against the Solar Bears (27-21-6). This will be the second to last game of this season series and the final game to be played inside the Amway Center in Downtown Orlando, Florida.
If you read my post last Thursday, you may remember me asking when fatigue was going to set in after the Cyclones had hit the tail-end of a three-in-three and spending the majority of it on a bus, going back-and-forth from Orlando and Fort Myers, Florida. Well, I got my answer during the 2nd Period that night. It was quite obvious the Cyclones were beyond exhaustion. Orlando had them pinned in their own zone for a good 95% of the frame, and outshot them by a “slim” margin of 22-7 in that 2nd period. To add more salt to the wound, they were up against an Orlando team that had the luxury of staying home and resting while the Cyclones made the trip to Fort Myers and back for a meeting with the Florida Everblades. If you look at the total amount of shots on goal, it’s quite obvious how the exhausted/well rested factor played out. Orlando heavily… HEAVILY outshot Cincinnati by a total of 56-28 that night. Safe to say the Cyclones really needed the weekend off. Now that they’re rested up, I’d expect a different outcome on this Monday night.
The best part of that game? Even after all of the hardships, the Cyclones still managed to snatch a point from the Solar Bears. The key reason behind it? Not to sound like a broken record, but, once again, goaltender Rob Madore came through for his team. Counting the shots through regulation, overtime, and shootout, Madore made a grand total of 56 saves on the night. Even though they lost, you can’t let a hell of a performance like that go unnoticed. During the three-in-three: Madore made 108 saves on 113 shots for a goals against average of 1.67 and a save percentage of (.956) with a record of 1-1-1.
Cincinnati will also be getting a defensive boost this evening. Nashville (NHL) reassigned defenseman Garrett Noonan from Milwaukee (AHL) to Cincinnati. The San Antonio Rampage (AHL) also reassigned defenseman Josh McFadden to Cincinnati. Both will join the Cyclones today in Orlando.
It’s also around this time that one certain thing is on everyone’s mind. I’m pretty sure you guys all know what that is; the 2015 Kelly Cup Playoffs. There are a lot of close races going on arond the ECHL. No division is as tight as the North Division. Heading into the second week of March, here’s how teams in the North currently stand:
- Fort Wayne Komets (37-12-6) f0r 80 points – Magic Number: 12 – Games Remaining: 17
- Toledo Walleye (36-13-5) for 77 points – Magic Number: 15 – Games Remaining: 18
- Kalamazoo Wings (27-24-5) for 59 points – Magic Number: 33 – Games Remaining: 16
- Cincinnati Cyclones (26-23-5) for 58 points – Magic Number: 34 – Games Remaining: 17
- Indianapolis Fuel (24-25-8) for 56 points – Magic Number: 36 – Games Remaining: 15
- Wheeling Nailers (27-27-1) for 55 points – Magic Number: 37 – Games Remaining: 17
- Evansville IceMen (14-35-8) for 36 points – Magic Number: 57 – Games Remaining: 15
If the playoffs started today, the 1st Round match-ups would be: #1 Fort Wayne vs #4 Cincinnati and #2 Toledo vs #3 Kalamazoo.
For those not up to date on the lingo: A “Magic Number” is the amount of points a team needs to clinch a spot in the postseason. Keep in mind, it may seem like a lot at this point in time, but, that number will shrink drastically as we inch closer to season’s end. Evansville could become the first team in the North to be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention this week. What would need to happen is both Kalamazoo and Cincinnati would need to win at least two games, and Evansville would have to lose at least two games. If that doesn’t happen, then as soon as both Cincinnati and Kalamazoo achieve 66 points, the IceMen’s season is officially done.
We drop the puck from the Amway Center at 7:00p.m. on Monday Night. As always, join in the fun on Twitter, (@SinBinCyclones) for updates all night long.