After the recent 5-1 win over the Johnstown Chiefs I started wondering, “what is it about February?” With the exception of 06-07, the Cyclones have been stellar in the Month. In 07-08, the Boys went 13-0 before finally dropping a game to Stockton (they won their lost 4 games in January that year to post a League best 17 game win streak). Last Season the Fresno Three began to find their rhythm which helped the Squad post an 8-5 record which helped to jump-start Their run at the North Division Title. The season the Team finds them on a game win streak to start the month and can finish the month no worse than 7-6. I’m not sure what it is, but it seems that Chuck’s teams really start to roll in the second half of the season.
Some other notes and observations…
- The Cyclones (34-17-0-1 69pts) sit on top of the North Division, are in 2nd place in the Conference, and are positioning Themselves for a possible run at the Brabham Cup. According to Hammer’s weekly notes, the Cyclones have a “magic number” of 28 to qualify for the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
- The NHL is in the midst of the Olympic break and the trickle down has begun. The Hamilton Bulldogs have sent down Maxime Lacroix and the Milwaukee Admirals have sent down both Jason Jozsa and Ian McKenzie. The Team is playing well right now so Chuck will have some tough decisions to make. In order to meet roster requirements someone will have to be put on short-term IR and according to the ECHL transactions for 2/16/10 Brett Robinson has drawn the short straw. Regardless of whether or not he has a substantial injury, after 52 games every player has some bumps and bruises to deal with, so hopefully a little rest will re-energize Robo for the stretch run. Defensively I think the choices are even harder. The Boys have been playing well together right now; limiting chances and getting involved in the scoring. If there is a weak spot it would be either Marchesi or Prokop but would inserting Josza for one of them be an upgrade to the line up? I’m not so sure it would be right now.
- Early in the season the big question was how would the Cyclones’ two young goalies develop. After a shaky start it appears they are settling in. Both Smith and Mayer rank in the top 5 for GAA. The tandem has accounted for 4 shutouts on the season (2 a piece). The Team has been lucky this season in that neither goalie has had to carry the load for an extended period as Cedrick Desjardins did down the stretch in 06-07. If that remains to be the case it will be nice to go into the playoffs with 2 relatively fresh goalies. It should be noted that the Canadiens would probably like to move either Cary Price or Jaroslov Halak this season and that could throw a wrench into Chuck’s goalie rotation if the deal that Montreal makes does not include another goalie.
- It’s great having Mark Voakes back in the line up. He’s got a lot of skill and when you look at his numbers it’s hard not to ask where he’d be had he not been hurt most of the year. In the 15 games he’s played he’s put up 7 goals and 5 assists for 12 points. His scoring presence has really opened the ice up for the rest of the team.
- A quick look just about any Cyclones’ score sheet or a trip to the ECHL stat page and the thing that jumps out, at least to me, is how balanced the scoring on this years Squad is. The Team might lack the pure individual skill of the 07-08 team, but it makes up for it in team play. There does seem to be some go to guys, but overall it seems that the names on the score line are always changing. It’s been the case for most of the year so there is no reason to think it won’t continue. It makes the Team very hard to match up against defensively.
- When the Cyclones announced the return of Scott Reynolds, I figured him to hit 50pts. He currently sits at 46pts, I’m thinking he’ll exceed my expectations. It’s great to see too. Scott gets recognized as such a great defensive forward that his offensive ability gets overlooked. This year he’s shown his ability to play a complete game. I wish he’d get the chance to play at the next level.
- Congratulations to Dustin Sproat, who recorded his first professional Hat Trick in a 6-2 smack down of the Johnstown Chiefs. Dustin came into training camp with some extra jump in his game and he’s kept it going as the season has progressed. As a side note, the Cyclones will be hosting Their second annual talent show with the proceeds going to Dustin’s foundation Hockey Players for Kids.
- Jason Jozsa has played 10 games with the Admirals so he will be playoff eligible for the Cyclones.
- It won’t be too much longer and we might get to see a few new faces as College hockey winds down. It seems that every year we see a few guys that come out to play on spring break of after their season ends, or as I like to call it “The Billy Irish-Baker Plan.” I mention this simply because Mercyhurst has 7 Seniors this season.