Eastern Conference Finals Preview

Eastern Conference Finals (Best of Seven)

#1 Reading Royals vs. #2 Cincinnati Cyclones
Series Matchup Sheet

The 2013 Eastern Conference Finals are a rematch of the 2010 American Conference Finals, which saw Cincinnati make ECHL history, coming from an 0-3 deficit to win the series 4 games to 3. The Cyclones became the first, and to this point only, ECHL team to win a best-of-seven series after losing the first three games.

This is the fourth all-time postseason meeting between the two clubs. The 2008 North Division Finals also went seven games, with the Cyclones prevailing in that series as well. In their most recent meeting, the 2011 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Reading defeated Cincinnati 3 games to 1.

The Royals are appearing in the Conference Finals for the third time in club history. In addition to its 2010 appearance against Cincinnati, Reading fell 3 games to 2 to Florida in the 2004 Eastern Conference Finals.

Cincinnati is in the Conference Finals for the fifth time. The Cyclones won the American Conference title in 2008 and 2010 on their way to capturing the Kelly Cup both seasons. Cincinnati fell 4 games to 3 to Atlantic City in the 2003 Northern Conference Finals and dropped a 4 games to 0 decision to South Carolina in the 2009 American Conference Finals.

In the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Reading eliminated Greenville 4 games to 1, becoming the first team in ECHL postseason history to win all four games in a best-of-seven series by shutout. The Royals defeated Florida 4 games to 3 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, winning the 24th Game 7 in ECHL history 4-1. Yannick Tifu leads Reading in the postseason with eight goals and 14 points. Tifu’s eight goals are tied for second overall in the playoffs through two rounds. Brett Flemming leads all defensemen in the postseason with three goals, and his seven points are tied for third among blueliners. Mark Owuya and Riley Gill have split time in goal for the Royals, and are the top two goaltenders in the Kelly Cup Playoffs. Owuya, who is 3-2 with two shutouts in five appearances, leads the ECHL with a 1.61 goals-against average and is tied for third with a .926 save percentage, while Gill is second with a 1.81 goals-against average while posting a 5-2 record with two shutouts in seven games.

Cincinnati defeated Toledo 4 games to 2 in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals before eliminating Gwinnett 4 games to 2 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Cyclones are 3-1 in overtime through two rounds, and have put together a 4-1 record in games decided by one goal. David Pacan, who was named to the ECHL All-Rookie Team, leads the Cyclones and is tied for third overall, with 15 points (8g-7a). Trevor Lewis, who had seven points (3g-4a) in the six games against Gwinnett, is tied for second in the league during the playoffs with 10 assists. Michael Houser has played every minute in goal during the playoffs for Cincinnati, and is tied for first with eight wins, while leading the playoffs with 339 saves and 796 minutes played. Houser is fourth with a 2.03 goals-against average and is tied for third with a .926 save percentage.

Reading won all three of the head-to-head meetings during the regular season. Tifu led the Royals in the season series with three goals and five points, while Gill picked up the win in his lone appearance against Cincinnati, stopping 32 of 34 shots in a 3-2 win on March 16. Mathieu Aubin led Cincinnati against the Royals with two goals, with Pacan recording a team-high three points (1g-2a).

The winner of the Eastern Conference Finals receives the E.A. “Bud” Gingher Memorial Trophy. Trophy. The trophy is named in recognition of E.A. “Bud” Gingher, who was Chairman of the ECHL Board of Governors from 1992-95. Gingher, who passed away in 2002, co-founded the Dayton Bombers in 1991 and owned the team for seven seasons, serving as President and Governor until selling the team in 1998. Gingher was inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame in 2009.

Game 1 – Friday, May 3 at 7:05 p.m. ET at Reading
Game 2 – Sunday, May 5 at 4:05 p.m. ET at Reading
Game 3 – Wednesday, May 8 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Cincinnati
Game 4 – Friday, May 10 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Cincinnati
Game 5 – Saturday, May 11 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Cincinnati (If Necessary)
Game 6 – Monday, May 13 at 7:05 p.m. ET at Reading (If Necessary)
Game 7 – Tuesday, May 14 at 7:05 p.m. ET at Reading (If Necessary)