Cincinnati beat second-place Dayton in a shootout and won on the road at Johnstown to improve to 32-22-4 and remain in first place in the North Division with 68 points. All seven teams are all still in the race for the five playoff berths in the division and only eight points separates the top five teams.
In the North Division, berths in the Kelly Cup Playoffs will be awarded to the first-place team as well as to the next four-best teams, based on regular-season point totals. The fourth seed and the fifth seed will play a best-of-three series in the Division Quarterfinals with the winner advancing to meet the division winner in the Division Semifinals, a best-of-five series that also had the second seed playing the third seed. The winners will advance to the best-of-seven Division Finals with the winner advancing to the American Conference Finals to meet the winner of the South Division.
The Cyclones host Reading on Wednesday and Trenton on Friday and Saturday before traveling to Troy, Ohio on Sunday for a game at Hobart Arena against second-place Dayton. Cincinnati, which had a voluntary suspension for each of the past two seasons, is looking to reach the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the third time in four seasons, including 2003 when the Cyclones lost in Game 7 of the conference finals to eventual champion Atlantic City.
Dayton, which has registered a point in its last eight games (6-0-2), has 66 points (30-20-6) and is three points ahead of Toledo (31-26-1) and Trenton (29-25-5). The Bombers have 20 more points than last season and their most wins and points since 2001-02 when they finished first in their division with 92 points (40-20-12) and advanced to the Kelly Cup Finals. Looking to reach the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2002, Dayton hosts Reading on Tuesday and Friday and Cincinnati on Sunday at Hobart Arena in Troy, Ohio. Toledo plays at Wheeling on Wednesday and Saturday and hosts the Nailers on Friday. Trenton travels to Cincinnati on Friday and Saturday and Johnstown on Sunday.
Looking to reach the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the fourth season in a row, Reading holds the final postseason spot with 60 points (27-27-6), which is two points ahead of Johnstown (26-27-6) and eight points in front of Wheeling (23-29-6). The Royals play at Dayton on Tuesday and Friday and at Cincinnati on Wednesday before hosting Johnstown on Saturday and Wheeling on Sunday. Johnstown travels to Reading on Saturday and hosts Trenton on Sunday. Wheeling hosts Toledo on Wednesday and Saturday and travels to Toledo on Friday and to Reading on Sunday.