ECHL: Cincy, Greenville bring opening round to a close

Doyle Woody,Adn Staff

The first round of the ECHL's Kelly Cup playoffs closed tonight when Cincinnati eliminated Orlando and Greenvile sent Kalamazoo packing -- both the Cyclones and Road Warriors advanced with road wins.

Cincinnati won 2-1 at Orlando on the strength of Rob Madore's 39 saves and second-period strikes from Dan Eves and Wade Megan. The Cyclones, who won the Kelly Cup in 2010 and 2008, move on to face the Fort Wayne Komets, who as the No. 8 of eight seeds knocked off the No. 1-seeded and defending Cup champion Reading Royals in five games.

Greenville used 35 saves from Jason Missiaen and Emerson Clark's game winner with 1:56 left -- and it added an empty-net goal -- to advance. The No. 7-seeded Road Warriors in the Eastern Conference semis get the No. 6-seeded Wheeling Nailers, who swept the No. 3-seeded South Carolina Stingrays.

So, get this: In the Eastern Conference, the 1-2-3-4 seeds fell and the 5-6-7-8 seeds advanced. Worth noting, however, than just 12 points separated No. 1 Reading and No. 8 Fort Wayne in the regular season. (Also worth noting: The Road Warriors, sadly, do not play in The Thunderdome, but in the Bon Secours Wellness Center, which does not sound nearly as menacing. Drag. Hey, maybe the Road Warriors' fans call their rink The Thunderdome -- clearly The Blog is not totally tuned in about the Eastern Conference.)

In the Western Conference, the 1-4-6-7 seeds -- in order, Alaska Aces, Idaho Steelheads, Bakersfield Condors and Stockton Thunder -- advanced.

The Aces open their best-of-7 conference semis against Idaho on Thursday night at Sullivan Arena. Bakersfield and Stockton crack their best-of-7 Friday in Bakersfield.