Archive for the ‘2009-2010 Kelly Cup Playoffs’ Category

You voted… we counted… and here are the winners of each category in the First Annual Cycwords Awards! :) To all who voted, tweeted, and pushed the votes for us, thank you! We had votes coming in from all over the US!

Most Valuable Player
Fan Vote: Jeremy Smith/Robert Mayer, 50% (61 of 122)

Most Memorable Moment
Fan Vote: Game 7 vs. Reading, 64% (58 of 90)

Best Forward
Fan Vote: Dustin Sproat, 40% (28 of 70)

Best Defenseman
Fan Vote:
Brian O’Hanley, 36% (25 of 70)

Most Improved
Fan Vote:
Brian O’Hanley, 43% (26 of 61)

Best New Guy
Fan Vote:
Maxime Lacroix, 43% (28 of 65)

Best Rookie
Fan Vote:
Jeremy Smith & Robert Mayer, 63% (39 of 62)

Unsung Hero
Fan Vote:
Chris Morehouse, 25% (17 of 69)
(nearly a four way tie between Morehouse, Del Monte, Benson, & Josza)

Biggest Disappointment
Fan Vote:
Dwayne Zinger, 43% (30 of 70)

Opinions? Disagree with the majority? Let us know! We want to hear it!

Now that the 2009-10 season has been nicely wrapped in shiny black and silver packaging, we at Cycwords thought it would be nice to have the fans & readers vote on individual awards for various categories across the board. Please keep in mind, this encompasses the entire season, October through May, not just the playoffs. We’ll leave the poll up for a week or until the votes stop coming, then we’ll tally it all up and compare readers’ votes to our own choices!

Please click each link below to vote for each category:

Most Valuable Player

Most Memorable Moment

Most Valuable Player

Best Forward

Best Defenseman

Best New Guy

Best Rookie

Most Improved

Unsung Hero

Biggest Disappointment

-Dannielle

P.S., Happy two year anniversary of our first Kelly Cup. :)

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.

-Mike-

We’ll be back with more when we’re done celebrating. :)

After watching the 1st 2 games on the B2 Network, I wanted to take a few minutes this morning to drop some of my observations on everyone.

– The Steelheads don’t like physicality. It’s scary to think that the Cyclones, who are far from being considered a physical team have appeared to have gotten under Idaho’s skin with their physical play. I don’t even want to think about what Idaho’s reaction to a team like South Carolina or Charlotte would have been. Those two teams were far more physical than the Cyclones are. In Game 2, Idaho tried to counter by dressing Adam Huxley but to no avail. They didn’t have an answer for Cincinnati’s “bumps.”

– Speaking of hitting. There was quite the uproar from many Cyclones fans regarding the penalty to Ian Mckenzie in game 1 for boarding when just a few minutes earlier in the game Idaho’s Cody Lampl but a nearly identical hit on Ryan Del Monte (who was also cut on the play) with out a penalty being called. Well, if you heard last nights pregame you heard Chuck comment that he received an apology from the League regarding the non call on Lampl. It’s the lack of consistency on calls like that are very frustrating.

– I was glad to see Mckenzie remain in the line up. Ian is a big kid and when he’s playing like one he can be a force on the ice. When is physical his game really picks up. Sure he’ll get the occasional elbowing call when he checks a guy under 6 feet tall because he’s so damn tall, but you also get hits like the one he put on Marty Flichel. That hit will be my nomination for hit of the year.

– How about that Mathieu Aubin.

– The Cyclones have used a two-headed monster in net all Season and the Playoffs should be no different. Jeremy Smith is an MVP candidate for getting the Boys this far; that effort won’t be forgetten. However, all those games with little rest, have taken their toll. There are rumors floating around that Jeremy has dropped 10lbs since the start of the playoffs. It’s just a rumor but completely conceivable and the loss of that much weight will cause some serious fatigue in an elite level athlete. Mayer is fresh and I think he will continue to get starts, but Coach Weber will have a short leash much as he had in Game 6 against Reading. Jeremy, your efforts are why the Cyclones are still playing. Thank you, I know you will be ready if called upon.

-Welcome back Jimmy Kilpatrick.

– The National Conference is billed as playing “run and gun” hockey. Thus far from what I’ve seen, the Steelheads fit that bill. Thy remind me a lot of Reading and Kalamazoo, who liked to score mostly in transition or early in offensive zone possession before the defense could get set up. The Cyclones did quite well against those teams during the regular season so there is no reason to think that trend won’t continue. If the game turns to one involving end to end rushing the Boys could be in trouble, but if they play Their game, I’m quite confident.

– The Steelheads are one of the highest scoring teams in the League and the Cyclones have done well to neutralize them. It kept the Idaho crowd out of the game. In Game 1 they were louder in booing the Referee for making a legitimate call than they were when their team scored it’s 2 goals in the first. In Game 2 the loudest noise they made was the “GASP” with about 20 seconds to go.

That last note leads me to the CycWords Call to Action:

The Cyclones play up to 3 games this week and USBA needs to be loud and filled with energy for all 3. During the pregame interview on Friday night Coach Weber said the energy from the Crowd gave the Boys a lift and intimidated Reading a bit. Mathieu Aubin said he loves the crowds in Cincinnati and the energy from Game 7 gave him “goosebumps.” We have to it again.

When you call the Box Office on Monday don’t just buy tickets for Thursday and Friday. We MUST fill the building all 3 nights. Our Team is running on fumes at this point and OUR energy will become THEIR energy. We ARE the 7th man.

-Mike

For one night, it was as if the spring of 2008 had come rushing back to US Bank Arena. It was a Wednesday night and the lower bowl was mostly full; 5200 people all united on the edge of their seats, breathing and screaming in unison with every terrorizing second of a one-goal game, breathless with every flick of Brett Robinson’s stick or snap of Robert Mayer’s glove. It was do or die.

You fail, and you’re booking tee time and packing your car for home.

Win, and you’ll live to see another week.

For the greater part of May thus far, the Cyclones lived on a thin wire: lose, and it’s over. The Reading Royals had four chances to send them home, but a poetically-perfect goal by one of the few remaining members of the 2008 team – now-captain Barret Ehgoetz – sent the Royals home, instead.

For one night, it really was as if 2008 had come back to life. Aubin. Ehgoetz. Poised, acrobatic goaltending.  A swollen, enthusiastic crowd. Techno music in warmups that set the pace of your heartbeat for the entire game. Tears. Trophies. Writing new banners to hang in the rafters come October.

Most of that team has moved on. To Europe, to the AHL, to greener pastures elsewhere. Some are still here (Ehgoetz, Reynolds, although injured). Some have found their way home (Aubin). But what has not moved on from those days is the pride in the fans. In 2006 when Chuck Weber and the current incarnation of the Cyclones arrived, the fans had heart. There were nights when 2,000 was a crowd to be excited about.  Then there were playoffs.

And playoffs. And playoffs. And playoffs. Four seasons. Four deep playoff runs. Conference Finals three times in four years, Kelly Cups finals twice. Breaking records and making history like it’s nothing. The winning tradition continues to live on and the pride in Cincinnati continues to grow. And for the continuing, and growing fan support, I salute you, Cyclones fans. Carry on, and see you next week.

Side note: According to Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Jean-Michel Daoust has signed a two-way contract with the Minnesota Wild.

— Dannielle

Sorry everyone, I said I was going to update the blog yesterday but I was so exhausted from Game 7 and our post game festivities that I just didn’t have it in me. Better late than never right?

In 2007-2008, the Cyclones had one of those historical kinds of years putting up 115pts in route to capturing the Brabham Cup, not to mention every other Trophy in the League sans 2; they weren’t allowed to win the National Conference Championship and David Desharnais should have won the Sportsmanship Award.

This year there were no regular season awards to lay claim to, no division title and a playoff seed that would have them face South Carolina and Charlotte without a home ice advantage. None the less, this years Squad will go down in history as the 1st team in ECHL history and just the 6th team in professional hockery to win a 7 game series after falling into a 3 games to none hole.

During the 1st two series against South Carolina and then Charlotte the Cyclones built up the statistical anomaly of winning had every odd numbered game while losing every even numbered game. The Boys had never defeated the same team in consecutive games, nor had They lost to the same team in consecutive games. And then came Reading…

The Royals came to town and were everything they were billed up to be. They were skilled and had a potent power play that had no trouble capitalizing on the oppositions mistakes. Defensively, they were more than capable and when there were breakdowns there was Matt Dalton in net to erase them.

The Cyclones played well enough to win the 1st 2 games of the series, but couldn’t solve Dalton and ultimately headed to Reading down 2-0 in the series. Game 3 felt like a must win for the Boys but again, Dalton came up big. Again, it wasn’t that Reading was out playing the Cyclones, it was more that Dalton was “in the zone” and even though the Royals had all the momentum it just felt like if the Cyclones could just crack Dalton they could extend the series. They only problem was there was no margin for error.

In game 4, Dalton crack and when he did the flood gates opened. The Cyclones, after scoring just 5 goals in the 1st 3 games of the series lit Dalton up for 6 goals to force a game 5. The 6 goals were scored by a Cyclones line up, which on paper, looked much less potent. The Cyclones leading scorer, Jimmy Kilpatrick, was made a healthy scratch by Coach Weber. During a pregame interview Coach said the decision was made because Jimmy was playing outside of the Team Dynamics and he would be back in the line up when he had his “attention”

In Game 5, Chuck made another surprising decision; not only was Kilpatrick still sitting in the stands, but playoff stand out Jeremy Smith would be replaced in goal by Robert Mayer. The offense continued to convert, putting 4 in the back of Dalton’s net before he was pulled to start the 3rd. Mayer was stellar, as was the defense in front of him. Mayer would post a 29 save shut out to send the series back to Cincinnati.

Oh, and then there was the brawl. Reading was obviously a frustrated team and by the 3rd period went from frustrated to frazzled. The Video doesn’t really show how things got started, but from putting together different accounts here is a composite account of what went down. Royals Captain Dinos Stamoulis began slashing every that moved. Ryan Del Monte took exception and slashed at Stamoulis’ stick, which was being waved at chest/head level. Del Monte was then atacked from behind by 2 other Royals players. At that point, everyone grabbed a partner and the chaos was on. Both teams would be fined, the Royals would have Stamoulis and Kwiet suspended for 1 game each and Cyclones lost the services of Ryan Del Monte as a result of the frackous.

Game 6 told the story of the series as far as I’m concerned. Reading came out of the gate quickly and jumped to a 2 goal lead. The Reading players celebtrated each goal as if it were a Championship clincher. The Cyclones then struck back, scoring 3 goals in a span of around 1:30. Reading did tie the score late in the 1st but he seed of doubt had been sowed. I can remember looking at the Reading bench after Barret Ehgoetz’s goal at 10:26 of the first, the Royals players sat, seemingly emotionless, their faces dead pan while their coach stood there statching his head. Even when Reading tied the game late in the 1st there was little sign of positve emotion. During the 1st intermission, while Larry Courville was possibly still scratching his head, Cyclones’ Coach Weber was making another excellent coaching move. Robert Mayer didn’t have the greatest period giving up 3 goals on just 7 shots so Chuck decided to go with Jeremy Smith to start the 3rd and the shutout streak began.

Game 7, saw Smith continue in net and he continued to stimy the Royals. Dalton was strong in net, but the ‘Clones converted when Ehgoetz found the back of the net on a very nice pass from Dustin Sproat. It was all the ‘Clones would need as they continued to shut out the now struggling Reading offense.

The thing that I will remember from Games 6 and 7 were the crowds. While not the largest crowds to take in a playoff game at USBA they were two of the loudest. The only crowd with more energy that sticks out in my mind was Game 6 of the Finals in 2008. The greatest part was that it seemed everyone was there for the game. Sure, cheap beer is great but there was history being made and people seemed to know it.

Next up is Idaho, who as the regular season National Conference Champions recieved a 1st round playoff bye and have only played 10 games to the Cyclones 19. I don’t want to go into a rant on the playoff formula but I will say that the only thing worse than what they came up with would have been to just let all 8 National Conference Teams in. There had to be a better way.

Here are some things to keep an eye on:

– Idaho’s Adam Huxley and Cincinnati’s Hans Benson could provide some fireworks this series. Although, unless completely necessary Hans should try to keep his hands to himself. Benson plays a regular shift and has potential to contribute offensively, whereas Huxley is only really suited to collecting penalty minutes.

– Where oh where is Jimmy Kilpatrick? Does Chuck have his attention yet? I would look for a refreshed and motivated Kilpatrick should he return to the line up.

– The French express are going to have to pick it up. Mathieu Aubin has picked up his offensive game late in the Reading series and that needs to continue. Maxime Lacroix has been a streaky scorer this season. He plays as hard as anyone but sometime the points just don’t come. Now is as good a time as ever for him to start a scoring streak.

– The series will showcase some of the leagues best goaltending. Idaho will be going with Rejean Beauchemin, who has only played 3 playoff games thus far and hasn’t looked stellar but his regular season numbers indacte he is quite capable. The Steelheads  rookie sensation Richard Bachman is currently on assignment in the AHL. His availabilty could have a big effect on the series outcome. The Cyclones also boast 2 qualtiy netminders, who, thus far, haven’t shown any signs of playoff pressure effecting them.

– Secondary scoring will be key, as it always in the Playoffs. On paper, Idaho looks similar to Reading in that they get the bulk of their scoring from just a few guys. On the other hand, the Cyclones only have 1 player averaging more than 1 point per game, but it seems that every game the Boys get scoring from somewhere. Guys like Sproat, Eghoetz and Van Guilder will have to keep it going, but scoring  from guys like Will Ortiz and Josh Heidinger can make the difference in the Series.

– Special teams will continue to be a hot topic. The Cyclones’ power play has improved lately but still isn’t great. Idaho is converting at  just under 20% so staying out of the box for the Cyclones will continue to be key. The PK’s look to be fairly comparable with the ‘Clone killing just over 80% and Idaho killing just under 80%. Interestingly, both teams have posted 4 short handed goals.

– The numbers really don’t mean a thing. Since there was no interconference play this season, there really isn’t a way to compare the teams stat wise. Factor in that Idaho hasn’t played as many games as the Cyclones and those numbers become meaningless. In the past when American Conference teams would travel out west I could look at records and stats and make assessments accordingly. This season all we can really do is wait for them to play the game.