It’s moving month, or month and a half as the case may be for the Cyclones. The next 6 weeks will see them play the bulk of Their remaining home games, all but wrap up Their season series with current North Division leading Wheeling and see South Division opponents South Carolina, Florida and Greenville come through USBA. While the Cyclones will have a very busy March, it will be the next 6 weeks that will see the Cyclones either solidify Their playoff hopes or slip to find themselves on the outside looking in.

Here are my thoughts and some other tidbits to chew on:

On Pace…Last update I suggested that the Cyclones would need to win roughly 60% of Their games the rest of the way in order to make the playoffs and getting above .500 before the All Star break would be a good start. The ‘Clones have won 5 of 7 since the start of 2011 which puts them at 16-14-7 for 39pts and .527 win percentage. It’s a good start but with 4 Divisional games left before the break anything can happen, but I like the trend.

Home Cooking…If that trend is going to continue after the break the Cyclones are going to have to improve at home. They are currently just 6-9-2 at home. That’s not good and with 11 of the next 14 games taking place at USBA over the next 6 weeks, if the Boys can’t improve at home they’ll have quite an uphill battle ahead of them in March.

Raising the Bar…When the Cyclones headed to Florida for the 3 game set I would have been happy had the Boys just managed 3 or 4 points from one of the League’s more potent offenses. Instead, the ‘Clones came away with 6 points and more impressively, held the Everblade offense to just 2.3 goals per game, which is almost a full point less than their season average. Had the Cyclones not allowed 5 goals against in the 3rd game of the series, that average would have been much better. While Florida isn’t the most difficult team to game plan for, their roster is loaded with some of the most skilled guys in the league, the 3 wins against that kind of lineup show what the Cyclones are capable of when the coaching staff gets it right and the players execute for 60 minutes.

Best of 3…Coming off a 3 game sweep of the Everblades, the Cyclones returned home for a date with Kalamazoo before entering into a big 3 game set with the Nailers. The Cyclones kept Their momentum rolling with a scrappy OT win against the K-wings setting things up for the Nailers. Unfortunately, for the nearly 6000 in attendance, after playing nearly 12 consecutive periods of solid hockey, the Cyclones got nailed. Before the game was even 8 minutes old, the Cyclones found Themselves in a 3-0 hole. After a goalie swap the Cyclones battled back thanks to a 2 goal effort from Brady Calla but the 3-0 hole was too much to overcome.

I didn’t get a chance to watch game 2 of the series at Wheeling but it sounded like a rather balanced match, once again showing that when the Boys play the way They need to They can play with and beat just about anyone.

With only a handful of games left against the Division leaders, it makes Tuesday’s rubber match a must win for the Cyclones. The ‘Clones and Nailers are even on games played. A win for the Cyclones will make the Division race a near dead heat with the Cyclones trailing by a mere point, while a loss will put the Boys 5 pts behind.

Olson continues to impress…I’ll admit I wasn’t an early supporter of Olson, mostly because I’ve never been a proponent of having an enforcer playing a roll which sees him play a regular shift, aka defense. Benn was more than effective as an enforcer but his skating and defensive showings in those early games made him look like a liability. As the season as wore on Benn has proven to be more than capable on the blue line. In fact, he currently leads all Cyclone defensemen with a +7 rating. While Olson has become a fan favorite for pugilistic reasons, he’s become a CycWords favorite for his play.

Balanced Scoring…It probably doesn’t come as a surprise but the Cyclones don’t have a player in the top 10, top 20 or even top 30 in the League when it comes to scoring. The Cyclones leading scorer is Mathieu Aubin who currently ranks 32nd in the League. While the Cyclones lack a superstar scorer, Their scoring is spread very evenly through the line up which makes them difficult to match up against.

Scotty doesn’t know…Scott Reynolds has, for several seasons been a stand out defensive forward for the Cyclones. After spending the 2008-2009 season in Europe, he returned to the Cyclones in 09-10. Last season Scott put up 56pts in 70 games and finished the season +19. Reynolds was one of Coach Weber’s go to forwards, along with Barret Ehgoetz, for defensive situations and penalty kills. Scott excelled in these scenarios and the points he put up were a pleasant added bonus. Scott started the season overseas this season and since returning to the Cyclones has 19 pts and is -4. If the Cyclones are going to make a serious run They will need Scott to regain the form that made him one of the Leagues top 2-way forwards last season.

 

 

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