TRENTON, New Jersey – Andy Bombach’s goal in round two of the shootout proved to be the game-winner as the Trenton Titans (27-29-2-2) defeated the Cincinnati Cyclones (40-17-4-3) by a 2-1 final score in front of 3,254 at Sun Center on Friday night. With the Cyclones earning a point despite the loss, they officially clinched a Kelly Cup Playoff berth.
The Titans broke a scoreless tie late in the opening period as Brian Haczyk slammed a power play goal past Michael Houser (SOL, 36 saves, 15-5-2, 2.38 GAA) from the bad angle at 18:25 to give his team a 1-0 lead at the first intermission.
Cincinnati notched a power play goal of its own as Jeremy Tucker caught a pass from David Pacan in the Titans’ slot and dangled past Cal Heeter (W, 35 saves, 3-2-0) to even things at one with 11:36 gone in the middle period. And thanks to a strong defensive period for the Cyclones, the game was deadlocked through 40 minutes of play.
Both teams continued the defensive stalemate in the final frame of regulation, as the goaltenders remained perfect since allowing the earlier goals. And as the third period came to an end all square at one, the Cyclones officially clinched a Kelly Cup Playoff berth – as their magic number was at one coming into the night. Much like the previous three periods, overtime was defensive as well. After killing off a late penalty, the Cyclones forced the game into a shootout to determine the winner. After a scoreless first round, Trenton’s Andy Bombach beat Houser with a high snap shot to give his team the edge. Then, as Heeter denied three more Cyclones shooters, the Titans earned the extra point in a 2-1 final score.
This year is the earliest the Cyclones have clinched a postseason berth since returning to ECHL play in 2006.
The Cyclones Radio Network Stars of the Game are as follows:
First Star: Andy Bombach (Game-winning goal in shootout for Trenton)
Second Star: Cal Heeter (35 saves, Winning goaltender)
Third Star: Michael Houser (36 saves for Cincinnati)
Cincinnati will continue its weekend trek through the Atlantic Division with a Saturday night matchup against the Reading Royals at 7:05pm. Fans can hear all the action of the game on the Cyclones Radio Network (FM 100 The FAN, America One, CyclonesHockey.com) beginning at 6:45pm.
The Cyclones will return to the ice at U.S. Bank Arena on Friday, March 29 when they host the Evansville IceMen at 7:30pm!