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The push for the playoffs continues Friday night as the Cincinnati Cyclones (31-29-10) will visit their I-75 rivals in the Toledo Walleye (48-14-7) in a 1st Round Preview at the Huntington Center in Downtown Toledo.

If you were not able to catch Wednesday night’s affair in Fort Wayne, you missed a nail-biter that had that playoff feel to it. I know I’m biased, but, quite frankly, Cincinnati should’ve won this game. They outplayed the Komets for a good 90% of the game, but, ran into a hot goalie who saved the Komets’ tails.

It was a defensive battle until the final six minutes of the 1st period. In fact, three goals were scored in that time frame. Fort Wayne got it started off as an absolutely terrible turnover by a Cincinnati defenseman gave it right to James Martin in the slot, Rob Madore had no chance, and it was 1-0 Komets on the powerplay. The Cyclones would quickly answer with a pair of goals. On the man-advantage, Jack Downing let an absolute cannon blast loose that blazed by Roman Will to tie the game at one. Then in the final minutes of the 1st, Joe Basaraba fed a perfect cross crease feed to Geoff Irwin who was there to tap it in to make it 2-1 Cincinnati after 20 minutes of play.

To be quite honest, I’m not sure how he did it because ECHL TV did not want to cooperate with me, but Brett Perlini struck in the 2nd for the Komets to pull the game even at two. It would become a battle of the netminders from there as we would not see anymore offense the rest of regulation and into Overtime.

I’m not sure what I did to piss off the hockey gods but they really hate me. Knowing how much I “love” shootouts, of course that’s exactly how this bout would end. Fort Wayne’s Brett Perlini was the lone scorer to give the Komets the 3-2 victory.

Cincinnati didn’t receive any help from the Reading Royals as they fell to the Wheeling Nailers 2-1. The Cyclones now have 2 points on Wheeling for the final playoff spot in the North Division. Wheeling still has a game in hand AND the puck of destiny. If the Nailers were to win out and take all 3 of their games this weekend, regardless of what the Cyclones do, Wheeling would get the spot as they own all tiebreakers. As it stands, the Cyclones would have to win BOTH games this weekend and Wheeling MUST lose at least one for Cincinnati to clinch.

Cincinnati is in a tough position Friday night. They’re up against a tough Toledo team that is almost near impossible to beat on their home ice. In fact, the last time the Cyclones beat the Walleye at the Huntington Center was way back in October at the Regular Season opener where the Clones fried the Fish 4-1. Overall though, Cincy has fared very well against the North Division leaders. Currently rocking a 3-2-1 record against Toledo, Friday night will decide who will win the regular season series. If Cincy was to make the playoffs, get used to seeing Toledo. I guarantee you the Walleye are the more than likely 1st Round opponent for the Cyclones if they make it.

However, we end today’s posting with some unfortunate news. The Cyclones lost a very big piece of their organization with the death of Lauren Hill.

For those that don’t know the story, Lauren was an aspiring athlete who had been battling a rare brain cancer for the past year and a half. Knowing she had only two years to live, she dedicated her time to spending time with her family, friends, living life to the fullest, and helping her nonprofit foundation that she confounded raise money to help find a cure for her rare disease. During her journey, she touched so many lives and inspired so many people. She quickly made national news for her courage and determination to live in the moment overcoming any and all obstacles.

Although, there is something not many who aren’t in Cincinnati know about; how special she was to the Cincinnati Cyclones organization. She quickly became the face of this team. We have a couple videos we’ll share with you to show just how much she meant to the Cyclones organization and fans.

Her favorite player was Christiaan Minella. The first video we’d like to share was taken after a game earlier this season where Minella took her out onto the ice for a couple laps around the U.S. Bank Arena ice surface.

 

The second video was also taken earlier this season. Lauren was invited to drop the ceremonial first puck in front of a standing ovation in Downtown Cincinnati.

She was 19 when she passed away Friday Morning in the hospital. Her smile and presence will be greatly missed throughout U.S. Bank Arena. I’m pretty sure the guys in the Cyclones locker room are all thinking one thing after the news this morning. In honor of her memory, let’s give her a playoff run.

We drop the puck from the Huntington Center in Downtown Toledo at 7:15pm EST.

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