It’s been a while since our last Cyclones game/team oriented post, sorry for slacking off.

-Since our last post the Boys have rolled out a 9-3-0-0 record which is good enough for 2nd in the North Division and 3rd in the American Conference. The Cyclones currently lead Toledo Walleye by 1 point and trail the Kalamazoo K-wings by 1 point. The ‘Clones have one game in hand on Toledo and Kalamazoo has played one game less. That means tonight’s (1/13/10) game is pretty important.

-The Cyclones took 3 straight from Trenton but the 1st two  left a little to be desired. Sure a win is a win, but the Boys blew four 2 goal leads between the first 2 games allowing Trenton to force the game into a shootout. Luckily, once in the shootout Jeremy Smith came up large and Dustin Sproat was clutch and the Cyclones prevailed.  In the Sunday matinee, the Cyclones went with Robert Mayer between the pipes and he posted a shutout. The Cyclones also posted wins against Kalamazoo (2), Johnstown and Reading during the stretch. The losses came against Toledo and Wheeling (2).

-Speaking of Jeremy Smith, he was forced to carry the load for a few games in the absence of Robert Mayer who was on assignment in Hamilton and performed admirably for a rookie. This year Coach Weber is seemingly experimenting with some goalie strategy. We are familiar with his tendency to alternate goalies which was established in the first 2 seasons. The came last years train wreck between the pipes. This year it seems like Chuck is using a bit more strategy with his two young goalies. When they’re are both here Chuck has done everything from alternating them; rewarding a good game with another start; playing the hot hand; and now it’s been mentioned that he may even be starting his goalies based on their past performances against the opponent.

-Speaking of call-ups and reassignments, it’s been a revolving door around here the past few weeks. We’ve seen Mark Van Guilder come and go twice; Jason Josza and Hans Benson were both called up to the AHL and have since been returned. The Cyclones have received Ian McKenzie from Milwaukee. If I recall, Milwaukee was kind enough to return Reid Cashman to us for about a game before he was recalled again. Currently both Mike Mclean and Dustin Sproat are on assignment with the Admirals.

For the first time under Chuck Weber the Cyclones will be sending 2 to the ECHL All Star Game. Matt Pierce is currently 4th in rookie scoring and when you throw in his +14 rating (which is 11 better than rookie scoring leader Justin Donati, 3 better than 2nd placed Maxime Gratchev, 21 better than 3rd placed Maxime Tanguay and 11 better than 5th placed Pat Galivan) along with his lack of penalty minutes (8 on the season) , it really shows the impact he’s had for the Cyclones and is certainly All Star worthy. Jeremy Smith is putting in a solid performance for a rookie netminder and is sitting near the top of the leader board in several statistics. I think nods should be giving to Scott Reynolds (14g-18a-32pts +14) and Dustin Sproat (11g-17a-28pts +5) who are playing very well and should have been considered as well.

-The special teams are still a case for concern. The Power Play Unit is having trouble converting and is second to last in the league. The answer is not doing as the fans suggest when the yell “SHOOOOT!!” at every opportunity, but to stay with what they’re doing and to be patient. Unless you’re down by 1 with less than a minute to go there is no reason to rush and force things since it really makes no difference when you score on the PP. The Boys are getting chances they just aren’t finishing. The Penalty Kill has slipped to 5th in the league, which is still pretty good. The problem I see is it’s inconsistency. It seems that when they are playing well they will shut everyone down, but when they aren’t on top of it then it is almost as if a goal is eminent. The call ups of Sproat and McLean have probably effected the PK a bit since they were often the 2nd Unit forwards.

That’s all for now. I’ve got a few more topics rolling in my head which I hope to bring you over the All Star Break if not before.
-Mike-

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Comments
  1. joe says:

    Good to see another entry in the blog.

    I hadn’t noticed that the pp was so dismal-2nd last in the league. I have to put the blame on the point play. It’s not so much an indictment of Jozsa and Motherwell. I don’t thnk either are suited to play the point on the pp and they’re (unfortunately) the best we have in the absence of Cashman.

    I’m sure that Weber will remedy this situation via trade at some point.

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