Well the Cyclones mascot said it best after game five of this contentious series. The Cyclones have had two opportunities to put this series in the bag and have let the Bears escape each time.
The first period saw the insertion of a new face in the Orlando lineup in the person of goaltender Chris Gibson. Gibson was added after the game four incident that rattled the cage of Max Clermont.
The contest opened with the usual chippiness that we have come to know as the hallmark of these Conference Quarterfinals. The fact is that these two teams just don’t like each other and certain players are not going out for beers after the game.
The Cyclones drew first blood as Byron Froese tallied the initial goal on Gibson midway through the period. This delighted the crowd at US Bank Arena because the last two games have been scoreless in the first.
Two minutes later the home team increased the lead by keeping the pressure on the Bears in the form of a goal by Josh Birkholz assisted by blueliner Chris Reed. Again the ‘Clones more than doubled up the shots on net, fifteen to four in the opening twenty minutes.
The second period opened with the tight defense seen in the last game and the usual pushing and shoving as the squads began to let some of the anger simmer. Once again it didn’t take the Floridians long to cut the score to a one-goal deficit when C.J. Severyn put the puck behind Rob Madore at 1:27 in.
The remainder of this period saw the Cyclones go on the power play several times as the tripping and slashing between these rivals escalated.
The Cyclones continued their frustration by going oh for forever with the man advantage as the Orlando penalty kill dominated.
This is where the nastiness ramped up and resulted in more crease crashing and open ice hits including a collision involving Rob Madore on his way to the ‘Clones bench on a delayed penalty call. The period ended with the Bears still behind by a goal.
The Bears would however begin the next period on the power play as Jonathan Hazen sat in the box.
On the next Cincinnati penalty the Bears evened the score on a power play goal by Blake Kessel raising the tension in the barn.
Plenty of time remained for the Cyclones to answer and end the series at home. The stanza ended with another ‘Clone in the sin bin and still a huge advantage in the shots on goal category with Cincinnati ahead 41 to 18. Both teams looked tired at this point going into overtime.
The Solar Bears were determined to force a return to the Amway Center and with 14:47 remaining in the extra period Eric Baier put the biscuit in the basket to the delight of the Florida fans in attendance.
This was a dagger in the heart of the Cyclones faithful who were hoping to see an end to the series. So once again the series will continue with the Cyclones on the road hoping to close it out on Tuesday night down south. The Solar Bears continue their season on a quest to regain an advantage in the series.