Archive for October, 2009

Midweek Update

Posted: 2009/10/28 by Mike in 2009-2010 Regular Season
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The Cyclones made some roster moves today as they get ready to make the trip to Elmira. Barret Ehgoetz has been put on 3-day Injured Reserve, Dwayne Zinger has been moved to 7-day Injured Reserve, Jamie Coghlan is now on 21-day Injured Reserve and rookie Mark Voakes is also on 21-day Injured Reserve. The Cyclones also added a forward, signing Bryan Marshall.

Ehgoetz missed the second half of Saturday night’s game against Wheeling. At the Coach’s show, Coach Weber indicated that, pending the MRI results, it was a wait and see type injury and threw the 7 to 10 day time frame out there. Barret, who plays in all situations, will be really missed on the Penalty Kill. Last season, when the PK was terrible to begin with, the loss of Barret may have made converting PP chances practically automatic. This season, he’ll still be missed, but the return of Scott Reynolds makes it a little more tolerable. However, guys, like Chris Mueller and Mike McLean, will have to step up if the PK is going to keep rolling.

In a previous post I mentioned we might see Dwayne Zinger make his Cyclones’ debut this weekend but it looks like we’ll have to wait a bit longer. Weber mentioned that Zinger had been skating on his own and was hoping to join practice this week.

If I have my information right Jamie Coghlan had some off-season surgery and while he is close to 100%, my guess is Coach Weber would rather wait until he’s healthy then risk a re-injury. One thing to keep in mind with Jamie is, while he has to remain in IR for a full 21 days, his time already spent on IR counts towards that total.

I’m not sure what is wrong with Mark Voakes, but his offense will be sorely missed.

Last season the ‘Clones were plagued by injuries late in the season. I realize that injuries in the the game hockey happen, but sometimes when a guy is a little banged up, it’s better to sit him down to heal than to keep playing him and risk something minor becoming more serious; and, to a certain extent, my guess is that’s what is happening here. There is no reason to bring back a guy like Zinger or Coghlan early when there is a full compliment of healthy guys.

The Cyclones came out of training camp with 10 forawrds, now with 2 of those forwards on IR, the team had to bring someone in to fill the void; enter Bryan Marshall. I can’t really tell you much about Marshall that you can’t read in the team press release, or get off his hockeydb page; other than that he played his college hockey in the CCHA. The CCHA can easily be considered one of the top 2 Conferences in college hockey (Hockey East being the other and which one is tops depends on who you ask) and regularly turns out top caliber players. This years Cyclones team already has 3 former CCHA players; Brock Sheahan (Notre Dame), Kevin Roeder (Miami University-Ohio) and Chris Mueller (Michigan State), and we’ve seen what these guys can do. The question will be if Bryan will still with the team long term.

-Mike-

Two for Two

Posted: 2009/10/26 by Mike in 2009-2010 Regular Season

The past weekend saw the Cyclones play a home and home series against the Wheeling Nailers. Friday night the Boys made the trek to Wheeling and the ‘Clones rolled to a 5-2 victory. The Cyclones returned home on Saturday where they took a 3-1 decision in their home opener.

In spite of hearing that the boys were battling some illness earlier in the week, I made the journey to Wheeling to see the guys play in person for the first time since training camp. All I can say is if the performance I saw Friday night was by a team that was less than 100%, then the ‘Clones will be a force to be reckoned with when fully healthy. Led by Mark Voakes the Cyclones offense sprang to life, with Mark netting not only his first professional goal, but his first professional hat trick as well.  Chris Mueller and Scott Reynolds added to the scoring.

Saturday night saw the Cyclones play their first game at USBA. The 5086 in attendance saw the Team raise the North Division Championship Banner before the opening puck drop. After the pregame festivities, it was time for the Guys to continue their successful start. After being embarrassed on their home ice, Wheeling definitely had a little more jump to their game in hopes of playing spoiler. That jump allowed Wheeling to take advantage of one of the few breakdowns the Cyclones had and jump to a 1-0 lead, but the Cyclones battled back and by the end of the second were up 2-1 off of goals by Matt Pierce and Chris Mueller. Mueller added a late empty net goal and the Cyclones took a 3-1 victory.

The team seems to be coming together quite well. The offense was firing on all cylinders and it was good to see the Power Play finally tally some goals going 2 for 5 on Friday night. The most impressive thing I noticed on Friday night was the puck possession. It’s only speculation but I would venture that the Cyclones controlled the puck for roughly 75% of the game and anytime a team can control the puck like that, odds are they will come away with the win. Saturday night, while being a little more balanced, Wheeling still spent much of the game chasing the puck around their own end.

The Penalty Kill is still clicking along as well and you have to like how this team looks defensively tight now. They got off to a rocky start the opening weekend but since then have only giving up 3 goals on 62 shots over the course of 3 games.

At the individual level, Mark Voakes was a player that caught my eye during training camp. He’s got a good set of hands, a goal scorers touch and he sees the ice well. Chris Mueller is stronger on the puck than any player I’ve seen in a Cyclones sweater thus far. He may not always look pretty with fancy puck handling, but holds the puck with brute force. Jeremy Smith continues to “make all the saves he’s supposed to, and a few of the ones he’s not,” as Coach Weber likes to say.

As we head into this weekends games against Elmira and Wheeling, we could see some changes to the lineup, with the possibility of Dwayne Zinger coming off of IR. Coach Weber mentioned he has been skating on his own and may join the team for full practice this week.

I had the chance to talk to Coach Weber briefly about the goal tending duo that he has this season. He said the team left Robert Mayer hanging a few times in his start against Elmira but given Jeremy Smith’s shutout performance in Johnstown he had earned the right to start this past weekend against Wheeling and with a solid performance Friday chose to go with him again on Saturday. Chuck said Mayer will probably get a shot in one of the games this weekend but did not say which and there is going to be a healthy competition between the two young goalies.

-Mike-

A SPECIAL Performance

Posted: 2009/10/18 by Mike in 2009-2010 Regular Season

The boys started the winning ways Saturday night on the back of rookie goaltender Jeremy Smith’s shutout performance  and an absolutely stellar Penalty Killing effort. You can read Hammer’s recap here.

Coach Weber has a saying about goaltending that goes “make all of the stops you’re supposed to, and few of the ones you’re not.” Needless to say Smith took this to heart, stopping everything on a way to a shutout in his pro debut. Thankfully the B2 was functional for the game so I was lucky enough to get to see it. While the the Boys did an excellent job of blocking shots in front of Smith, Johnstown did have several chances to put the pressure on and when they did Jeremy was up to the task each time.

Speaking of Johnstown putting pressure on, you would think 8 Power Play chances would help, but just as they did at even strength the Cyclones defense cut off passing lanes, blocked shots and cleared pucks from trouble areas near the net. Even when Johnstown was able to create some chances Smith played large. According to the ECHL stat sheets the Cyclones killed of all 10 of their short handed situations this weekend (2 on Friday and 8 on Saturday). That’s a far cry from the Penalty Killing of last season. What a difference a year makes. My main concern is the simple fact that the boys took 8 penalties for the game. Regardless of how solid the PK is, taking that many penalties is playing with fire, especially with offense not firing on all cylinders.

I’m not sure how concerned Chuck is with it yet, but when the Penalty Killing Squad is putting up more offense than the Power Play, and half the goals for the team on the year, it raises and eyebrow in my book. Granted the boys have only played 2 games and odds are the offense will come together especially since the line up is now set going into the first full week of practice of the regular season. I’m expecting big things going into the home and home against Wheeling this coming weekend.

I’m giving a big thumbs up to the defense in last nights game. From the goaltending, to the penalty killing, to the play at even strength, they were simply stellar. The games thumbs down goes to the offense. The puck control and pressure is there, the Boys just have to be able to finish. Scoring opportunistic goals on the PK is great, but if the boys don’t start finding the back of the net at even strength and on the PP, it’s going to be a long season. In time I’m confident things will come together.

-Mike-

With the season now officially underway, just running down a few notes from the last few days:

Seeya Later: Former Miami Redhawk Kevin Roeder is the first call-up of the season, as the Syracuse Crunch have signed him to a professional tryout (PTO) according to theahl.com. Not sure if this is a long or short term call-up, but I’ll be on the look out for more info.
Oh captain, my captain: According to the team’s official Twitter, Barret Ehgoetz will once again don the C for the Cyclones. Dwayne Zinger gets one A, while Jason Josza (home) and Scott Reynolds (road) split the other. While Zinger is on IR, Josza and Reynolds will both sport the A.
Speaking of captains: Former Cyclone Mathieu Aubin is one of 5 alternate captains in Bakersfield. Congrats.

Cyclones Drop Opener

Posted: 2009/10/17 by Mike in 2009-2010 Regular Season

The Boys lost 5-2 in their first tilt of the regular season. You can read Hammer’s recap here.

Unfortunately, due to the failure of the B2 network I was unable to watch the game and was left to listen to the game on 153o Homer the Sports Animal, which seemed to be battling its own technical difficulties. From Hammer’s call it sounded like the boys put forth enough effort to win but left some chances on the table; putting shots wide and trying to score through the elusive “6-hole” in the golaies chest. Elmira converted on odd man rushes and defensive breakdowns that failed to clear pucks from trouble areas in front of the net. Again, this is what I gathered from listening to the game, had I been able to watch, I might be typing up something completely different.

One area which I found disappointing, was the Power Play. Granted, the ‘Clones only had 3 opportunities and it’s early in the season, but with the fire power this team seems to have up front, it’s a little disappointing they couldn’t convert on one. I’m sure that will change once the boys develop some chemistry with each other. On the Special Teams upside, the Penalty Kill was a perfect 2 for 2.

At the individual level, I take my hat off to defenseman Kevin Roeder and I raise an eyebrow at Jon Landry. I don’t know how many minutes Roeder played, but he was the only player from the ‘Clones to finish the tilt on plus side of things (+1). Landry, on the flip side, finished -4 which is sub par for a player of his caliber in my opinion. Was he pressing, perhaps trying to do too much? Or maybe he just had a bad game, it happens. I’ll wait a few more games before forming an opinion.

When it’s all said and done it’s just 1 game and it’s still early. There are 71 games left and to be honest the month of October is brutal with 5 of 6 games on the road. If the ‘Clones go 3 and 3, I think that would have to be considered success. If those 3 wins can come in the division against Wheeling then all the better.

-Mike-

Let There Be Hockey

Posted: 2009/10/15 by Mike in 2009-2010 Regular Season
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The Regular Season Roster has officially been released. Other than the last minute reassignment of Michael Busto, by the Montreal Canadiens, to the Dayton Gems of IHL, there really aren’t any surprises. Even the loss of Busto isn’t that big of a surprise, from what I observed he was the weakest defenseman left in camp and with Coach Weber needing to make one more cut to pair the roster down to a more manageable 22 players, it just makes sense to ask Montreal to reassign him rather than cutting a higher caliber player.

So with no further delay here are your 2009-2010 Cincinnati Cyclones:

Forwards (10)

Barret Ehgoetz, Bryan Leitch, Scott Reynolds, Brett Robinson, Dustin Sproat, Matt Voakes, Mike McLean, Jimmy Kilpatrick, Hans Benson and Chris Mueller

Defense (10)

Brian O’Hanely, Matt Pierce, Brock Sheahan, Jason Jozsa, Reid Cashman, Doug Krantz, Kevin Roeder, Jon Landry, Dwayne Zinger and Jamie Coghlan

Goal (2)

Robert Mayer, Jeremy Smith

Dwayne Zinger and Jamie Coghlan will begin the season on Injured Reserve.

This has to be the most talented Cyclones squad to start the season since the teams return.  That being said, the entire League will be operating at a higher level as the trickle down takes effect (there are players in the AHL that were NHL regulars last season and therefore there are more AHL caliber players with jobs in the ECHL).

This years Squad should have no problem putting the puck in the net. Mike McLean was one of Dayton’s leading scorers last season and the Bombers were terrible last year, so I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do with some talent around him. Matt Voakes has shown an excellent pair of hands and a nose for the net. Brett Robinson could have a break out year as a rookie, I don’t think comparing him to the Jimmy Kilpatrick or Mark Van Guilder of last season would be a stretch. Sproat has shown an extra step speed wise. Scott Reynolds is capable of a point per game, in spite of his perceived role a primarily defensive forward. and then you have Barret Ehgoetz, well, he’ll just be Barret and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Defensively, I really like the balance that Chuck has assembled on the blue line. There is a good mix of physical “stay at home” guys  like Roeder and Zinger, and offensively minded guys like Krantz and Cashman.

Special teams should be solid as well. Once the guys get a feel for each other the PP should clip right along. On the PK, with Ehgoetz and the return of Sproat and Reynolds, as well as the defensive core that Chuck has to work with, I would venture that we’ll be near the top of the league.

The only real question mark is the goal tending. Neither Mayer or Smith lit it up during their preseason outings, but those were just that, preseason outings. Both Mayer and Smith have been in training camps since mid September and I’m sure are looking forward to playing in a game that actually means something. Both are well thought of prospects by their organizations and both performed better than some other goalies that have been through town (not to name names).  Time will tell.

Let’s play hockey!

-Mike-

Breaking Camp

Posted: 2009/10/13 by Mike in Training Camp
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This years Training Camp, which Coach Weber called the most competitive in his time here in Cincinnati, wraps up this week. The camp saw potential ‘Clones spend most of their time practicing behind closed doors down at USBA; they did have two public sessions at Northlands Ice Center, which will serve as their new practice facility. I was able to check both sessions out and was impressed with what I saw.

The Team also played two preseason games against the Toledo Walleye. The first game, played at USBA, saw the ‘Clones control the play but ultimately lose 3-2. The second game played at Toledo’s Tam-o-Shanter saw the Cyclones’ offense come to life and take a 7-4 decision.  John “the Hammer” Hamel’s official recaps for both games can be found here.

As the team gets ready to pack up and head on the road to Elmira, where they will open the season, Coach Weber still has some tough decisions to make before Wednesday, when the final rosters are do. The latest round of cuts inlcude Sam Bloom (F), Travis Winter (F), Jason Woll (D) and Felix Petit (F).

I was a bit disappointed to see Woll and Petit go. I’ve always liked the tenacity of Woll back on the blueline; he played a physical and chippy, yet mostly clean game. He played a solid game but compared to the others in the defensive core, I just don’t think that he had the same skill and someone had to be the odd man out. The Waiving of Petit caught me completely by surprise. The numbers Felix generated in the Junior ranks would suggest that he has plenty of offensive potential. Coach Weber spoke briefly about Felix Monday night at the Coach’s Show stating that Felix was very good on the PP, but didn’t mention much else about it. It’s only speculation but my guess is Felix wasn’t quite solid enough in the defensive zone.

As I type, the Cyclones announced they have released Kyle Hagel from his Tryout Agreement. I can’t say that this really surprises me, I figured that only Hans Benson or Hagel would make the squad. During the preseason game I was impressed with Benson’s skating where a Hagel didn’t really show up for moe other than his fight, which was a solid performance I should add.

The release of Hagel puts the roster at 23.  The ECHL roster maximum for active players is 20 (not including suspended players or injured reserve). The League allows for 3 players to be on active reserve; one on 3-day, one on 7-day and one on 21-day. With creative use of the IR, Chuck will not be required to waive another player. However, that would require someone to be put on the 21-day IR to start the season.

Barring another player release, the next stop is Elmira and the regular season, which makes me wonder; what’s worse than the bus trip to Elmira for a road game? How about the bus trip to Elmira for a HOME game.

-Mike-