CINCINNATI — Tonight, the Cincinnati Cyclones open up 2018 Kelly Cup Playoff play against the Fort Wayne Komets in Indiana at 7:35 pm. The Cyclones and Komets face each other in their half of the Central Division Semifinals, while the division champion Toledo Walleye and Indy Fuel began their half of the battle last night.
After a cut-throat finish to the 2017-18 regular season, the Cyclones pulled off a third-place finish in the Central Division, pairing them with the second place Komets. Before wrapping up the year, the squads faced off twice in the final two weeks, splitting the pair of games 1-1. The outcomes of their last two games paralleled the storyline of their season against one another. After nine-game, Cincinnati squeaked by with only a single win over Ft. Wayne, going 5-4-0-0 on the year, two of wins coming from overtime finishes. Further, the Central Division opponents also owned the number one and number two highest scoring skaters in the ECHL this season. The Komets Shawn Szydlowski finished out the year with a league-leading 79 points, coming from 31 goals and 48 assists. Sliding into the second spot is Cincinnati’s own Jesse Schultz, notching 18 goals and a league-high 57 assists for 75 points.
Final Regular Season Records
Fort Wayne Komets: 46-20-5-1, 98 points (2nd in Central Division, 3rd in Western Conference)
Cincinnati Cyclones: 39-30-3-0, 81 points (3rd in Central Division, 5th in Western Conference)
Series Schedule (Home Team in BOLD CAPS and all times Eastern)
Game 1 – Saturday, April 14 – Cincinnati at FORT WAYNE 7:30 pm ET
Game 2 – Sunday, April 15 – Cincinnati at FORT WAYNE 6:00 pm ET
Game 3 – Thursday, April 19 – Fort Wayne at CINCINNATI 7:35 p.m. ET
Game 4 – Saturday, April 21 – Fort Wayne at CINCINNATI 7:35 p.m. ET
*Game 5 – Sunday, April 22 – Fort Wayne at CINCINNATI 3:05 p.m. ET
*Game 6 – Tuesday, April 24 – Cincinnati at FORT WAYNE 7:30 p.m. ET
*Game 7 – Wednesday, April 25 – Cincinnati at FORT WAYNE 7:30 p.m. ET
* If Necessary
Ahead of game one, the Cyclones AHL affiliate, the Rochester Americans, sent goaltenders Jason Kasdorf and Jonas Johansson, as well as defenseman Arvin Atwal back to Cincinnati. Gearing up to compete in a playoff run of their own, the Americans delivered the trio in response to the heavy load of players acquired from the Buffalo Sabres. Johansson makes his return after a recall nearly a month ago on March 16. In seven games with the Amerks, Johansson finished out 4-3-0-0 with a .861 save percentage. Kasdorf and Johansson competed in 27 and 28 games, respectively, for the Cyclones, with similar stats. As for Atwal, the d-man left Cincinnati on Jan, 31, recording three points (2g-1a) and 23 penalty minutes in 14 games with Rochester.
New additions to Cincinnati that will be remaining on the roster for the playoffs include forward, Myles Powell, and goaltender, Hayden Stewart. Powell wrapped up a four-year career at Rochester Institute of Technology, while Stewart completed his time at Cornell University. In his five games with the Clones, Powell recorded one goal and two assists (3 pts.). Stewart’s first game as a Cyclone came against the Komets in Cincinnati, saving 26 out of 28 shots to give his team the overtime win. He went on to backstop three more games, finishing off with a 2-2-0-0 record.
After tonight’s matchup, the two will return to Komet’s ice tomorrow at 6:05 pm. The series will then head to Cincinnati for games on Thurs., April 19, Sat., April 21, and if necessary, Sun., April 22.