Archive for December, 2009

Cincinnati Cyclone Dustin Sproat and Hockey Players for Kids will be hosting a pond hockey tournament for kids this Tuesday (12/29/2009) at the Cincinnati Gardens.

-HP4K is partnering with the Children’s Hunger Alliance, a nonprofit organization in Ohio that is committed to breaking the cycle of childhood hunger through education, leadership, advocacy and service.

The tournament is open to any USA-registered Mite or Squirt players.

The basics:
– Teams will be picked at random on the day of the event
– USA certified coaches and members of the Cincinnati Cyclones will be volunteering time to direct players
– We will play a 3V3 (or 4V4) format based on participation numbers
– Round robin 10 minute periods to determine a championship pairing

NOTE: Anyone interested in stopping by is encouraged to bring a donation for one of the following collection drives:
– Canned food to be donated to a local food pantry.
– Gently used toys and board games for the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Cincinnati.
– Gently-used physical activity equipment (playground balls, tennis racquets, soccer balls, etc.).

You can still register the day of the event, so come on down!!!-

If you’re not familiar with HP4K, you can learn more at HP4K’s website or at HP4K’s Facebook page.

I hope to see you there.

-Mike-

Advertisements

Tuesday night’s match up with Toledo started off well enough with Barret Ehgoetz notching his 8th of the season putting the Cyclones up 1-0, but from there Toledo capitalized on a series of defensive missteps scoring the next three goals. The Cyclones rallied but couldn’t overcome the early deficit falling to the Walleye 5-2.

-A tip of the hat goes to Hans Benson who recorded a Gordie Howe hat trick.

-Goal tender Robert Mayer got the start but didn’t last through the first. Mayer was visibly upset when he got pulled. While he was left hanging on the 1st and 3rd goals and the 2nd was off a scramble in front of the net where the white jerseys where just out numbered and out worked by the blue jerseys, a team needs to their goalie to come up big and make those saves when they are controlling the game they way were.

-Dwayne Zinger gets another night of reprieve. He was-2 and was on the ice for 3 of Toledo’s 5 goals, but outside of the portion of the 1st when the whole team was a defensive zone mess, he once again played a solid game.

Looking ahead to Trenton…

-The Cyclones split the 2 game series with the Devils back in November.

-Trenton looks to have a fairly balanced line up offensively with 9 players double digit point totals.

-Those same players are a collective -45 on the season, so there are goals to be had. Trenton has only scored 67 times this season which tied for last in the league and they have given up 97 goals which is the 4th highest in the league.

-In the November series the Cyclones saw both Trenton goalies; Dave Caruso in the win and Gerald Coleman in the loss. Coleman is a monster of a goalie that has cause the Cyclones some issues, it won’t surprise me if we see Coleman on Thursday and Sunday with Caruso getting the Saturday start.

-Coach Weber has said he’ll be going with the goalie that is playing and practicing the best. We will probably see Mayer for one of the games with Smith getting the other 2, but when it comes to the goal tending you never know with Chuck.

-Both Trenton goalies have GAA over 3.5 and judging from the cumulative plus/minus of the Devil’s they aren’t a shut down team defensively. The scoring chances will be there, the Cyclones will need to convert. Trenton may not be the most offensively potent team in the League but the are capable of capitalizing on mistakes and stealing a game if a team lets up.

-Mike-

The Boys came out firing on all cylinders Saturday night and captured a 3-2 win highlighted by a 1 goal, 1 assist night for Dustin Sproat and the beat down Hans Benson gave to Rob LaLonde. In the Sunday afternoon rematch the Cyclones came out flat in the first giving up 2 early goals and they never really recovered on the way to a 4-2 loss, their first loss in 5 games. The weekend split with Reading shows how far the Team has come since the start of the year, but also shows there is still growing to do.

-The Cyclones put forward Mark O’Leary on waivers Saturday. This was probably to make room for Mark Van Guilder, but could also indicate that Mark Voakes is getting close to returning.

-Speaking of Mark Van Guilder…I thought he looked like he was pressing and trying to force his game a bit on Saturday night. He looked much more like the player of last season on Sunday. He didn’t register on the score sheet in either game, but if his play on Sunday is any indication, that will should change soon. In possibly related news, it’s been reported that Nashville forward Jordan Tootoo is out for 4 to 6 weeks. I haven’t seen any roster moves yet, but with Milwaukee playing tonight in Toronto and Tuesday in Hamilton, Nashville playing tonight and Thursday night, I’ll be surprised if something doesn’t happen at some point.

-Dwayne Zinger…OK OK, I’ll leave him alone, at least until Tuesday. Honestly, I think Dwayne played his 2 best games of the season and I hope he keeps it up.

-I liked what I saw out of Jeremy Smith. In past games I’ve noticed him struggle after giving up early goals. I thought he played very well, in spite of giving up the 4 goals. On the 1st goal there were maybe some things he could have done different, but it was an amazing pass from former ‘Clone Ben Gordon to Daniel Steiner, who had eluded his check to receive the pass as he skated to the weak side post unmolested, that made the goal. Then second goal deflected off of Doug Krantz. He probably wants the 3rd goal back, but it was a well placed rocket of a shot by Stefano Giliati that was created by a horrendous turnover off the stick of Ryan Del Monte. On the 4th, a power play goal, the puck managed to find it’s way through 4 players, who were all screening Jeremy, before finally finding the back of the net. Smith battled throughout, in a game that, from the start, just felt like it was going to be one of those games were nothing goes right.

-Reading won the special teams battle going 2 for 12 on the power play whereas the Cyclones were shutout on their 7 chances.

-Whoever picked the 3 stars for Sunday’s game put them in the wrong order. Personally would have gone with Zinger with the 3rd star, Gordon (Reading) with the 2nd and Reading goalie Dalton as the 1st. Sure Gordon had 2 assists, but Dalton stopped 36 of 38 shots and of those 38, 25 of them were high quality chances.

-I had a friend in the visitor’s tunnel waiting to play for the Cincinnait Fire Fighter Hockey Team and he relayed to me how visibly upset the Royals were with their play on Saturday Night. It’s impossible to know how the short turnaround effected the Cyclones, but Reading came out firing on Sunday and the score could have been much worse after the first period. I hope the Cyclones were as upset with their Sunday performance as Reading was with theirs the previous night.

-Next up is Toledo this Tuesday night (12/15).  Toledo will come to town on a 3 game win streak and trailing the Cyclones by just 1 point in the standings; the ‘Clones do have 2 games in hand on the Walleye.

Here is some quick news and notes as we head into a 2 game set with Reading:

-The Cyclones should have a new face in the line-up this weekend. According to the AHL transaction page Mark Van Guilder has been loaned to Cincinnati. Van Guilder led the 08-09 Cyclones with 22g-44a for 70pts. He’s played in 13 games for the Admirals. His production has struggled a bit in the AHL, and with the play of Chris Mueller, Milwaukee can afford to send Mark here for a few games to hopefully jump start his game. Mark got off to a slow start last season but came on strong late in the season after finding confidence in his game.

-Speaking of Chris Mueller, he’s played in 12 games for the Admirals scoring 2 goals and logging 3 assists. If he continues with that effort, I can’t see him coming back to Cincinnati anytime soon.

-The Reading Royals come to town leading the East Division with 29 points, which is also good for 3rd in the conference. The Cyclones have 27 points but have 2 games in hand on the Royals.

-Reading will give up goals. While the Royals come into town with a winning record they have given up more goals than they’ve scored. Their roster boasts 4 goalies, 3 of which have GAA’s over 3. Rookie Matt Dalton gets the bulk of the action for the Royals and sports a 3.47 GAA and a .906 SV%.

-Return of the Bens and a Joey. Ben Gordon, Ben Mcleod and Joey Ryan will return to Cincinnati. Gordon and McLeod, along with 2 players to be named later, were sent to Reading at the trade deadline last season for Mac Faulkner and Gerard Miller. Joey Ryan became a part of the trade in the post season  and was expected to play this season for the Toronto Marlies but found himself at the bottom of the depth chart for the defensively deep Marlies. The final player in the trade was Kyle Rank who is currently playing for the Portland Pirates. An underachiever last season Gordon leads the Royals with 11 goals and 16 assists for 27 points.

-The Cyclones PK Unit has climbed back to 2nd in the league, killing off 85.4% of the short handed situations they face. The Royals on the other hand are 18th in the league with just a 79.5% kill rate. The teams have nearly identical PP Units; the Cyclones converting on 16.5% of their chances and Reading converting at 16.4%. Reading has accumulated over 200 more PIMs than the Cyclones, so I give the Cyclones the advantage in the special teams battle.

-Reading has 2 players in the top 20 of the League when it comes to scoring in Ben Gordon and Daniel Steiner.

This is definitely not last years Reading Royals team. They’ve been upgraded at nearly every position. I think the the keys for the Cyclones are:

*Be tenacious on the forecheck. Get pucks deep and keep them there.

*Get a goal early. With 2 young net minders and most likely playing against a rookie goalie, getting the first goal does wonders for the confidence of whom ever we have in net and establishishes doubt in the head of the opposition.

*Stay balanced. The past few games have seen different lines and different players involved in the scoring making it very difficult to match up defensively.

*Shut them down. The numbers indicate that Reading gets much of their scoring from just a few players. The Cyclones have to shut these guys down and force someone else to step up.

*Win the 5 on 5 game and make Reading pay on the PP. The Cyclones have been iffy on the PP this season but with Readings questionable PK Unit, the Cyclones have to convert and make Royals pay.

-Mike-

I’m sure most have heard the news that Adam Henrich has been suspended by the team. This was brought up at last night’s Coach’s Show and rather than speculating and/or starting rumors, here are the nuts and bolts of what   Chuck had to say on the situation;  after playing a game for Springfield Adam asked to be released from his AHL PTO and has returned home to deal with some personal issues. He was suspended so the Cyclones would retain is AA level rights. When pressed for more information on the topic Chuck said he believed Adam would play again this season but did not make any speculation as to where it would be; Cincinnati could remain as an option. Should Adam choose to return to action this season and Chuck feels he is no longer a good fit for the Cyclones, a player of Adam’s skill will be quite valuable on the trade market.

When Adam was acquired from Ontario for Jon Landry in early November, I thought Adam was a great addition to the lineup but didn’t expect him to stay in the line up for long. A player of his size and ability don’t stick around in the ECHL very long, especially when he plays on a team like the Cyclones, whose coach has an open door policy which encourages players to take call-up opportunities. Unfortunately, Adam’s stay in Cincinnati was hampered by injury and now this.

I hope Adam can get his issues dealt with and put behind him. He is a young, talented player that can still have a bright hockey future ahead of him. If he returns to the Cyclones, I’ll be glad to have have him. If not, I wish Adam the best in whatever the future the holds for him.

-Mike-

When Malcolm Cameron brought his Florida Everblades squad to Cincinnati, i’m sure he had visions of finishing off their 7 game roadtrip through the North Division with a winning record. It wasn’t to be as the Cyclones took Friday’s game 2-1 in a shootout and then locked the Everblades down on Saturday with a 3-0 win to send the ‘Blades home with a 3-3-1 record. I’m sure the warm and sunny weather in Florida will offer some consolation.

-The 2 wins keep the Cyclones just a point behind Kalamazoo for the Division lead (the K-wings currently have 1 game in hand on the ‘Clones) and moves them to 6th in the Conference with 27 points.

-Florida brought in a couple of top notch goalies in Barry Brust, who got saddled with a shootout loss, and Mike Morrison, who earned his loss in regulation. The Cyclones got a boost from the AHL when the Milwaukee Admirals decided to call-up Jeremy Smith and send Mark Dekanich down for the weekend. Dekanich’s stellar play was not doubt a catalyst for the weekends results. It was good to see an AHL caliber goalie in town again, hopefully watching what it takes to perform at that at that level will be a good motivator for Robert Mayer. And speaking of Brust, what was with the “twitch” that was going on with his stick hand.

-The Cyclones were without the services of Matt Pierce for the weekend. He was called up along with Smith, but was promptly “McElroyed” by the Admirals. At least the Ads were kind enough to send him back.

-Reid Cashman was recalled by Milwaukee yesterday. Hopefully he won’t get “McElroyed” and actually get to play this time.

-As Dannielle pointed out the Penalty Kill is still going strong. It even got back to it’s early season form killing off 8 0f 8 short handed situations against a talented Florida team

-Dwayne Zinger? The horse is still dead and I’m still beating it. He HAS to get better ASAP.

-The ‘Clones played two of their more physical games against Florida and I think it took them by surprise. It was good to see the Boys finishing their “bumps” in big ways but not skating out of position to do so.

-Mike-

Finally, my friends, Hamilton is healthy enough to send a player down to us: Maxime Lacroix has been assigned. Lacroix, 22, has 1 point in 16 games with Hamilton, but in 2008-09 he amassed 64 points in 63 games (also 18 points in 23 playoff games) en route to a Kelly Cup Championship with South Carolina. He also maintains well over a penalty-minute per game, so he appears to have a bit of a chippy side to him.

Also I thought I’d catch up on some stats for the boys:
— Dustin Sproat is tied for twelfth in the league in points with 23.
— Matt Pierce, currently on recall to Milwaukee, is sixth in the league in goals with 12.
— Pierce is also tied for the league lead in PPG with 6. While Barret Ehgoetz and Adam Henrich (all with Ontario) are tied for 13 with 4.
— Reid Cashman’s 8 PPA are good for 7th.
— Scott Reynolds is shooting 100% in the shootout on the year (2 for 2).
— Matt Pierce is 5th in rookie scoring.
— The Cyclones have allowed the least goals in the division at 61. Across the league, only Idaho (58) has surrendered less.
— Their 297 PIM are least in the league; 150 less than any team in their division. With only having allowed 103 shorthanded opportunities, their 85.4% is third (88.1% at home). Let’s not talk about the powerplay (16.5%, by the way).
— Jeremy Smith’s 2.45 GAA is 2nd best in the league.

-Dannielle