By Andrew Miller
Cincinnati Enquirer Contributor
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. – As Ryan Russell was skating down the ice, Cincinnati coach Chuck Weber shouted from the bench for the rookie to shoot the puck.
Russell was obviously listening.
Russell scored a short-handed goal with 4:07 left in overtime, and Cedrick Desjardins stopped 50 shots to lead the Cyclones past South Carolina 2-1 Saturday night in Game 5 of the American Conference finals.
The Cyclones, the Brabham Cup winners during the regular season, won the best-of-seven playoffs series, 4-1, and will now take on Las Vegas for the Kelly Cup.
With the Stingrays on the power play, Russell picked up a loose puck off a faceoff inside the blue line, skated the length of the ice and beat goalie Davis Parley just over his glove for the winning goal.
“Everyone on the bench was yelling at Ryan to skate and take it wide and throw the puck on net,” Weber said. “Ryan has been searching for a goal here of late. He just hasn’t gotten any bounces here lately, so I was happy for him when he scored.”