Postseason play begins Friday night for the Cincinnati Cyclones and fans are hyped. The minor league team finished first in its division and is hoping home ice advantage will propel it to the next round.
Head Coach Matt Thomas says his team thrives off the crowd's energy. "So if we get a chance to go and compete for a championship we really hope that the city and the fans will make this a very tough building for visiting teams to come and play."
Thomas is used to winning. He's the all-time leader in playoff wins for the ECHL and was recently named the league's Coach of the Year.
At "Fan Appreciation Night" April 5, fans were looking forward to the Kelly Cup playoffs. Seven-year-old Logan Wurster summed up the winning season. "They're scoring goals. They've been getting into fights. They've gotten power plays. They've done very good this season."
Play-by-play announcer Everett Fitzhugh says the Cyclones will leave it all on the ice Friday. "We're still hungry. We're always hungry for more."
Defenseman Eric Knodel loves the fans and the city. "This city's great. It's such a nice city. I love playing here. The fans are awesome."
You can bet season ticket holder Larry Dotson will be in his seat at U.S. Bank Arena. The Batavia man explains part of his interest is in player development for this minor league team.
"When you root for the Cyclones you root for the jersey, not so much the player. You get to know the players and love 'em, but with the up and down of being a minor league team, the excitement of watching a player develop is what really gets you in Cincinnati," says Dotson.
The puck drops at 7:30 Friday at U.S. Bank Arena.