We have a lot of good things in store for our faithful readers this summer but before I get to those I thought I’d take a quick look back now that I’ve had a chance to let it set it in. The ECHL has already posted a very nice article on all the accomplishments of the Cyclones’ 2nd Kelly Cup in 3 years, John “the Hammer” Hamel has typed up a nice little game recap and even the Enquirer had a nice little story. It’s all very good reading.
I commented in blogs very early in the Season about this Teams resiliency and that theme continued into the post Season. This Team didn’t always play the prettiest hockey, but they always worked hard. Coach Weber summed this Team up best when he told the Enquirer, “This team, we were a bunch of workers. There was no superstar on this team. What I took the most pride in was that they found a way to win when people thought they couldn’t.” It seemed that every night a different player was stepping up. If a player struggled one night, it seemed that he’d be the hero the next.
The Cyclones probably had the most difficult road to the Kelly Cup Finals. One that saw them take on last years champion South Carolina in a 5 game series that left little room for error. The they moved on to a 7 game slug fest with Regular Season Conference Champion Charlotte. Their reward for winning that series was a date with Reading, who had one of the most loaded rosters in the playoffs, for the Conference Final.
I never doubted this Team’s work ethic or resolve, but I will admit I questioned how much the Boys had left in the tank when they returned to Cincinnati for Game 6 against Reading, but as always they found that little bit extra and when they scored 3 times in about 1:30, I knew They would complete the come back and march on to win a bigger piece of hardware.
The research I did on Idaho going into the Finals told me that they weren’t much different from teams such as Kalamazoo and Reading. After watching the first 2 games of the Series I didn’t really see anything in the Steelheads’ game to make me think any different. The Cyclones were far from a physical team and it seemed that Idaho struggled with it. It makes me wonder how Idaho would have reacted if they would have played the likes of Charlotte. To Idaho’s credit, they did adjust. It was a clear that it was going to be a Series of closely played games.
The Idaho press had the Steelheads picked as the odds-on favorite, but why? Sure, Idaho was the Brabham Cup winner and they were near the top of the League in several categories, but let’s face it, with the lack of inter-conference play this Season those stats and that record were a bit stacked; when a team plays only 7 teams over the course of a 72 game season the numbers can become a bit skewed. Yes, the Cyclones played a division heavy schedule but They did play every team in the American Conference at least once. I should also point out that at one point the Cyclones were battling for a Conference regular season title and Their #5 playoff seed was a bit misleading. That must have been missed by the Idaho press.
Idaho made a big deal of being without Tyler Spurgeon and goalie Richard Bachman. However, Idaho goalie Rejean Beauchemin was no slouch and actually had numbers comparable to ECHL Goalie of the Year Todd Ford. And if they want to talk about Tyler Spurgeon, I’ll raise them Scott Reynolds and Matt Pierce, both of which were injured and saw little or no playoff action, yet were key members of the Squad.
When it was all said and done, the Cyclones were simply the better TEAM. They were a group of players that bought into a system and believed in the words on Their playoff t-shirts which read “BIG WE, little me.” It was a tightly battled Series but resiliency and composure saw the ‘Clones persevere.
Before I move on to what we have in store for you this summer, I want to give a shout out to Jason Jozsa. Jason was on the losing side of the Cyclones 2008 Kelly Cup Championship and it was good to see him lift the Cup. Congratulations Jason!
Ok, you’ve put up my ramblings this long so here’s what to look for this summer:
-The 1st annual CycWords Awards poll will be up soon. We’ll let you know, so be sure to vote.
-Every summer for the last four years Cyclones fans have been asking themselves, “Will Coach Weber be back?” We don’t have any inside info, but we are going to do our best to keep a tally of open coaching positions around the game. The first installment of “Weber Watch 2010″ will be up soon.
-Every so often there is talk amongst fans about the Cyclones joining the AHL. Dannielle and I will give our comments on the pro’s and con’s of such a move.
-Of course we’ll be doing our best to stay on top of player signings and other news regarding the Cyclones and affiliate news that effects the Team.