Tifu's Late Goal Lifts Royals Over Cyclones, 3-2
CINCINNATI, Ohio – Yannick Tifu sent home the game-winner with just 11 seconds remaining in regulation to lift the Reading Royals (11-5) to a 3-2 victory over the Cincinnati Cyclones (9-7) in front of 2,811 at U.S. Bank Arena on Friday night. The triumph gave Reading a 3-1 edge in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals.
It didn’t take long for the Royals to get out to a two-goal lead. Just 21 seconds into the first frame, Alex Berry lifted a shot over Cincinnati goalie Michael Houser (L, 21 saves, 9-7) from the bottom of the left circle after receiving a pass from Kirk MacDonald. 41 seconds later Evan Barlow put his team up 2-0, their largest lead of the series, with a wrist shot of his own from nearly the same spot on the ice. The teams skated evenly for the remainder of the period.
The Cyclones got their first tally of the night at 14:52 of the middle stanza. John McFarland launched a slap shot from the top of the left circle that trickled through the legs of goaltender Riley Gill (W, 27 saves, 8-3); Dan Eves found the puck behind Gill and knocked it into the back of the net – cutting the Royals lead in half. The score held at 2-1 as the teams headed into the second intermission.
With 8:51 remaining in the game, Cincinnati capitalized on a power play to even the score. After a bench minor penalty for too-many men on the ice was called against Reading, Mike Pelech fired a one-timer from Josh McFadden past Gill’s stick side to knot the game at two goals apiece. Unfortunately, in the final 11 seconds, Yannick Tifu chopped a loose puck toward the net beat Houser for the game-winner. Reading held on to win it by a 3-2 final.
The Cyclones Radio Network Stars of the Game are as follows:
First Star: Joel Champagne (Game-winning goal for Reading)
Second Star: Dan Eves (1 goal, 1 assist for Cincinnati)
Third Star: Evan Barlow (1 goal for Reading)
The Cyclones will return to U.S. Bank Arena TOMORROW for Game 5 of the best-of-seven series featuring a Kids Eat FREE night presented by John Morrell – the puck drops at 7:30pm! Call 513.421.PUCK or visit CyclonesHockey.com to reserve your seats! On-air coverage of the action can be heard on the Cyclones Radio Network (FM 100 The FAN, America One, CyclonesHockey.com) 20 minutes prior to the opening face-off. Fans can also get the latest team updates throughout the season on Facebook and Twitter (@CincyCyclones).
Click here to view tonight's box score