Posts Tagged ‘kalamazoo’

As we get ready to roll into March and the real push for the playoffs we thought it would be good to bring up the magic numbers that will give everyone an idea of where things stand. First and foremost the Eastern Conference standings currently look like this:

1 *Reading Royals 55 35 15 2 3 75 0.682 192 165 0-2-0-0 7-3-0-0 818
2 *Greenville Road Warriors 58 35 20 2 1 73 0.629 197 157 3-0-1-0 6-3-1-0 805
3 *Kalamazoo Wings 56 30 20 2 4 66 0.589 202 188 9-0-0-2 8-0-0-2 926
4 South Carolina Stingrays 57 32 21 2 2 68 0.596 163 163 3-0-1-0 6-2-1-1 771
5 Florida Everblades 59 30 25 1 3 64 0.542 200 185 0-1-1-0 4-4-1-1 1045
6 Wheeling Nailers 56 29 24 0 3 61 0.545 185 166 0-8-0-1 1-8-0-1 932
7 Elmira Jackals 55 25 23 6 1 57 0.518 200 200 3-0-0-0 5-3-1-1 1169
8 Cincinnati Cyclones 55 24 22 6 3 57 0.518 159 180 0-1-0-0 5-4-0-1 1020
9 Gwinnett Gladiators 57 25 25 2 5 57 0.500 167 198 3-0-0-0 5-5-0-0 1002
10 Toledo Walleye 55 25 26 3 1 54 0.491 179 206 0-3-0-0 4-6-0-0 956
11 Trenton Devils 57 21 31 1 4 47 0.412 179 208 0-3-0-1 4-5-0-1 995

 

With that out of the way, here’s how the “magic numbers” break down:

Reading – 14

Greenville – 16

Kalamazoo – 23

South Carolina – 21

Florida – 25

Wheeling – 28

Elmira – 32

Cincinnati – 32

The “magic number” represents the number of points needed to reach 89 points which is one more than Toledo (currently in 10th place but can potentially score more points than Gwinnett bases on 2 fewer games played). The number decreases by 2 each time the team wins or when Toledo (or whichever team is in 9th place based on total available points) loses. The number decreases by 1 when the team or 9th place team loses in OT/SO. When the “magic number” hits 0 the team can not finish lower than 8th and is in the playoffs.

There is also a “tragic number” for those teams on the outside looking in. The “tragic number” is essentially the number of points the team is away from being eliminated. They are as follows:

Trenton – 22

Gwinnett – 32

Toledo – 33

The “tragic number” reduces by 2 when the team loses or the 8th place (currently Cincinnati) wins in regulation and by 1 when the team loses in OT/SO or the 8th place team loses in OT/SO. When the “tragic number” hits 0 the team has been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.

For example, if the Cyclones beat Toledo in regulation, the ‘Clones “magic number” becomes 28 based on the Cincinnati win and Toledo loss. Toledo’s “tragic number” would become 18. That’s the proverbial 4 point game that we talk about at times.

It’s important to keep an eye on the standings to see where teams stand, as the 8th and 9th place teams will change and the “magic/tragic” numbers will then be effected by other teams.

Get it?

Here’s how the schedule breaks down for the battling for the last few playoff spots:

CIN TOL ELM GWT TRE
Games remaining 17 17 17 15 15
Games left with group 5 8 7 5 9
Games left with CIN X 4 0 1 0
Games left with TOL 4 X 1 0 3
Games left with ELM 0 1 X 2 4
Games left with GWT 1 0 2 X 2
Games left with TRE 0 3 4 2 X
Games left with REA, GRV, KAL 8 5 8 6 11

So what does it all mean?

For Cincinnati, while the Division isn’t mathematically out of reach the ‘Clones will need loads of help and is unlikely. The ‘Clones could climb as high as 5th but given the inconsistent play that has plagued Them throughout the season it is much more likely for them to hold onto 8th or perhaps climb to 6th or 7th. The 3 games with Toledo will be key and could determine whether the Fish or the ‘Clones make a run for the Cup. The way the schedule plays out, the Kalamazoo Wings are quite the allies of the Cyclones as just about any K-Wings win (provided they aren’t against the Cyclones) will benefit the ‘Clones’ playoff chances.

Toledo will get Trenton 3 more times before playing 5 of 7 against current Division leaders. It makes those 3 games must wins for the Fish. The 3 game series with Cincinnati at the end of March could be even more important for the Fish than the ‘Clones. Toledo may have to take 2 of 3 to get in.

Elmira has been on a roll since firing Malcolm Cameron (go figure!) and hold the tie breaker with the ‘Clones based on wins (25 to 24). The Jackals have 4 more games with Trenton which could go along way towards getting them into the post season. However, time will tell if the Jackals current form is just a surge as a result of Cameron’s firing as often happens after coaching changes or if they’re really making a run. If they really have found their stride, they should sneak in.

Gwinnett probably has the toughest road to the post season of the teams battling for the final few spots. The Gladiators have played 2 more games than all but Trenton. Also, 11 of their remaining 15 are either against teams fighting for their playoff lives (5) or division leaders (6). The 5 games with the teams in the playoff battle will be must wins, any points dropped here could seal their early tee times.

The Trenton Devils are all but dead in the water. While they are good against the teams in the playoff battle (10-8-1), 6 of their remaining games are against Division leaders. They have a mathematical chance of getting in but they have to turn it around now and have no room for error.

The Wheeling Nailers should make it in. However, if their current struggles continue, which is very possible, it could get dicey near the end. Wheeling’s success is tied directly to their roster and with so many guys being called up, and finding success in the AHL, even if they make it, they aren’t likely to hang around long unless they get those guys back.

Reading, Greenville, South Carolina, Kalamazoo and Florida are all in baring monumental collapses down the stretch.

So there you have it. We’ll be trying to update the Cyclones’ magic number for you as it changes. We’ll be back tomorrow to look back at February and weigh in the the trades and other personnel changes. We’ll also be bring you the first draft of our playoff predictions later in the week.

-Mike-

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After earning 2 points from Elmira in come from behind fashion the Cyclones spent the week preparing for a trip to meet the Kalamazoo K-wings in a pair of games this weekend. While 2 points on opening weekend is nothing to scoff at, the games left a lot to be desired with regards to the play of the Cyclones. Here are a few things to keep an eye on when the Cyclones take on Kalamazoo this weekend…

-Defensive zone play has to get better. The Squad has 2 very capable net minders in Jeremy Smith and Marc Cheverie but if they are continually seeing odd man rushes night after night it’s going to make for a long season.Look for the Cyclones to tighten up the neutral zone play and pinch a little less in the offensive zone.

-The Boys showed Their resiliency over weekend, winning the 3rd period after a very rough 2nd period on Friday and coming from behind to ultimately take the overtime victory on Saturday.While this kind of resiliency is great to have on the Team, the Cyclones gave up the 1st goal in each of Their 1st two contests. Scoring 1st and scoring early is important  in any game, but it is especially so against the K-wings and potential net minder Ryan Nie.

-No word on if the Cyclones will have the services of forwards Barret Ehgoetz and Ryan Del Monte this weekend, both players are currently with the Rochester Americans of the AHL. Del Monte has seen action in 2 games since getting the call and Ehgoetz one.

-The Cyclons will see Scott Reynolds take the ice for the 1st time this Season. Reynolds, who was called up to Rochester before the Cylones even played a preseason game was released from his PTO (Professional Try-Out contract) on October 20th. Reynolds played in 6 games posting a goal and an assist for the Americans.

The Team will have the services of Kelly Cup Playoff Co-MVP net minder Jeremy Smith as they head to Kalamazoo. Jeremy had a shaky start in his preseason start against Wheeling but we all know the type of game he is capable of playing. It will be interesting to see how Coach Skalde manages the 2 young prospects should they both spend extended periods of time here in Cincinnati.

The Cyclones have added another defenseman to the mix with the signing of tough guy Benn Olson. There isn’t much out there on Olson as a player, but he has quit an impressive fight card for a 3rd year pro. It’s an interesting signing by Skalde. The Squad has an agitator in Chris Morehouse and a tough guy in James DeLory. My best guess is that Skalde wants another tough guy on the Team in the event DeLory gets recalled by Rochester because I just don’t see how this acquisition makes the Team better.

During a month in which the NHL is bringing attention to cancer awareness and raising money to help find a cure, the Cyclones have lost a member of the family. Original Cyclone Craig Charron lost his battle with stomach cancer earlier this week. For more on Charron, please read this article from the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Charron’s family during these trying times. Please go to www.CragCharron.com if you’d like to help.

 

-Mike-

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

As I sit here typing up this latest entry I am also preparing to listen to John “The Hammer” Hamel call the last game the Boys will play at the Cambria War Memorial this season and probably the foreseeable future. It really is the end an era, for Johnstown and the ECHL. I was lucky enough to take a road trip to Johnstown during the 2008 Kelly Cup Championship Season; from pre-game beers and Baby Huey’s at Scotts by Dam (the taco’s are something else too)  to taking in a game at the fabled War Memorial, the city left quite an impression on me. I think taking in a game in Johnstown for any hockey fan, especially those with an affinity for the minor leagues. I was really hoping to make it back for one last hurrah but it didn’t work out. As Cyclones fans we know what it is like to lose our team so I hope to see hockey’s return to Cambria County sooner rather than later. Here is a link to a good article on hockey’s history and current situation in Johnstown.

The Boys now find themselves chasing the Division Title after giving up 2 points to Kalamazoo last night. Luckily, the ‘Clones have one more shot at the Wings, but they will still need some help from Toledo if they are to raise another Division Banner.

Last night’s game saw the return of Kevin Roeder and Matt Pierce. Both looked solid in their returns, Roeder had several good hits and Pierce was in and around the net. It’s good to see them back at this point to get a few games in before the Playoffs to shake the rust off.

In other news from last night, Curtis Sanford was injured during Hamilton’s game at Abbotsford. It will likely mean that Robert Mayer will be getting recalled. During the pre-game interview from Johnstown Chuck indicated the injury to Sanford was of the 7 to 10 day variety. The game in Abbotsford saw former Cyclone David Desharnais net 2 goals and included a rather humorous meltdown by Abbotford’s head coach.

It’s too early to guess at the playoff match-ups but it’s never too early speculate at the playoff roster which is due on April 5th. The ECHL hasn’t announced the rules for the 2010 playoff rosters yet but they haven’t changed the past few seasons so here is what we can expect:

Kelly Cup Playoff Roster
Requirements, Guidelines

April 6, 2009

PRINCETON, N.J. – Here are the roster requirements and guidelines for the Kelly Cup Playoffs as outlined in the 2008-09 Playing Manual issued to all ECHL coaches.

Amateur players who have completed a full season of college or junior hockey during the 2008-09 season can be named to a team’s playoff roster after their college or junior team has finished their season, including the playoffs.

For professional players who have played for any professional team in 2008-09 and former professional players to be named to a team’s playoff roster, they must have played (i.e. taken at least one shift) in five regular season ECHL games.

Former professional players who went back to full-time university status and regained amateur status shall be considered amateurs for the purpose of playoff eligibility and subject to the conditions of amateur players.

Players on two-way contracts with American Hockey League teams must have played (i.e. taken at least one shift) in five regular season AHL games in order to be named to a team’s playoff roster Veteran players on two-way contracts with AHL teams must have played (i.e. taken at least one shift) in 10 regular season AHL games. Players on two-way AHL contracts who are bought out or released from their contract during the season are still subject to the minimum playing requirement. Players on NHL contracts and one-way AHL contracts are exempt from the rule as are goaltenders. Each team is allowed two non-veteran players who are on two-way contracts with AHL teams that are exempt from the rule.

The League Office will decide any questions about eligibility and its ruling will be final.

ECHL teams must submit their Kelly Cup Playoff roster to the League Office by 3 p.m. ET on Monday.

The maximum number of players allowed on a playoff roster is 23. Playoff rosters will consist of a 20-man active roster and those players who are on injured reserve or recalled.

If in the event of injury, illness, recall or suspension by the League, a team is reduced to less than two goaltenders and 16 skaters, the team may sign amateur players under emergency conditions. Goaltenders that served as an emergency backup in the regular season may be used if they started out on the club’s roster as an emergency backup. Emergency backup goaltenders will not count toward the 23-man limit and may play at any time.

When the emergency conditions have ended the amateur player or goaltender must be removed from the roster.

Players who finish the regular season on injured reserve are eligible to play in the playoffs once their full injured reserve time has been completed. Players may be activated and placed on the team’s 20-man active roster with all roster guidelines (salary cap, veteran limits, etc.) in effect.

Players injured in the playoffs may be placed on injured reserve and replaced on the active roster with either a player whose injured reserve time has been fully served or a player who is returning from a recall. Players on injured reserve must remain with the member club unless otherwise approved by the League Office.

Players who are on recall to the NHL or the AHL at the playoff roster deadline that a team wishes to have eligible to play must be named to the 23-man playoff roster.

If a player is recalled off a team’s active roster during the playoffs, he may be moved to inactive status or replaced with a player whose injured reserve time has been completed or by a player returning from a recall.

Questions regarding playoff rosters are determined solely by the League Office.

Basically, Chuck gets to pick 23 total players, 20 active and 3 inactive. One point of note is that emergency back up goalies do not count towards the 23 man limit so the Cyclones could stick with Mayer and Smith and simply use Lee Lansdowne as a back up should Robert Mayer be on assignment in Hamilton when the Playoffs start.

The Cyclones’ roster currently sits at 23 with 2 goalies, 9 defensemen, and 12 forwards. However, Dwayne Zinger will most likely not be named to the playoff roster due to injury reasons and there is concern regarding Jamie Coghlan which reduces the roster total to 21. That leaves room for Max Lacroix and Brett Motherwell when they return from assignment in the AHL. Assuming there aren’t any injury concerns, I don’t see Chuck adding any Junior or College players late as he did last season with Felix Petit.

It should also be noted that Chris Mueller is playoff eligible for the ‘Clones but I highly doubt he’ll be named to our roster. The Milwaukee Coaching Staff loves the kid and named him to their Clear Day Roster over the likes of Ian McKenzie and Mark Van Guilder.

What you’re left with is a Playoff roster that doesn’t look any different than the current roster. With the way the team has played the past few games one could argue that some changes need to be made, however, I lean the other way and going into the playoffs there is quite a bit that can be said in favor of having familiarity with your teammates.

-Mike-

– The Cyclones wrapped up their Southern road trip with a 2-2 record. The Boys took one game from Charlotte, played to a split with South Carolina and dropped the match up with Gwinnett. The .500 record isn’t bad but it’s not the 3-1 I was hoping for. The loss to Gwinnett is especially painful after dropping the 2nd game at South Carolina. The Cyclones now have just one game in hand on the Stingrays while trailing them by 3 points. The Cyclones are going to need some help if a Conference title is in Their future.  Luckily for the Cyclones a tie in points will play into the Cyclones hands since the ‘Clones hold the advantage in head to head match ups.

– Unfortunately for the ‘Clones, while They were battling to a .500 record down South, the Kalamazoo K-wings have been rolling. The Cyclones still lead the Division but the K-wings have closed to within 3 points with 3 games in hand. Reaching the playoffs shouldn’t be a problem for the Boys, but they can’t afford to take any nights off down the stretch if they plan on capturing the Division and Conference titles.

– Congratulations to Patrick Prokop for tallying his 1st goal as a professional Monday night at Gwinnett. If only it had been in a winning effort.

– When the Cyclones got back to Cincinnati, Mark Voakes and Scott Marchesi barely had enough time to do their laundry before packing for Bakersfield. The Cyclones received “future considerations” in the the deal. It comes to no surprise that a defensemen was dealt; Marchesi is a solid and serviceable D-man, but the Cyclones have an overstock of D-men and with Krantz and Roeder due back soon there will be quite the competition for D spots on the playoff roster. Voakes is quite the offensive weapon and his defensive play has improved. I’m sad to see him go, but he’s been injured much of the season and the Team had been playing well in his absence but regardless of Voakes’ potential he’ll have a “what if” hanging over his head. Moreover, you have to give up someone good to get someone good as Chuck always says.

That leads me to those “future considerations” we all love so much. It seems to me that Voakes is a bit much to give up if Chuck is just creating some roster space and getting cash back. It is possible, but I have to think there will be a player coming from Bakersfield at some point. That thought had me taking a look at Bakersfield’s roster. The name that jumps out at me is, of course, Mathieu Aubin. Aubin, a part of the 2008 Kelly Cup Squad made the move out wast to start the season and I think he would make a great addition to this years team. Mathieu may not be the most fleet of foot player out there but he is good along the wall and more importantly in front of the net, not to mention he has pretty good hands. I love the energy that Morehouse brings and he is certainly has no issue playing in the dirty areas of the ice but he lacks the finishing touch that someone like Aubin would bring. Will he be involved in the deal? Time will tell. I would certainly like to to see him back in a Cyclones sweater…

– The ECHL trade deadline is just days away at this point so the question remains if Chuck will make any other moves. My guess is we’ll know more tomorrow once the AHL announces the Clear Day Rosters.  Early word out of Milwaukee is that Ian Mckenzie, Mark Van Guilder and Reid Cashman will not make the Admirals list (also left off the list was Ryan Maki, who played for the Kelly Cup Championship Squad. I’m not sure the status of his contract or whether of not he can be assigned here.) Chris Mueller is speculated to make the Admirals Clear Day Roster which is great for him and not so great for us. None of this is final until the AHL officailly releases the rosters tomorrow but it is possible that moving Voakes and Marchesi was just to make room for McKenzie, Van Guilder and Cashman but I’m going to keep my fingers crossed about that Mathieu Aubin. I’ll update tomorrow with the official Clear Day Rosters for Milwaukee and Hamilton.

– Things seem to be going pretty well in Bridgeport for Brett Motherwell. The ECHL posted a nice article on him. Here’s a link to the full article from ctpost.com.

-Mike-

I’m not going to spend too much time on the trip to Kalamazoo which resulted in a 6-3 loss, although I will go as far as to say that even though the result was the same, the Boys played better than they did on their previous trip to Kalamazoo. A week ago the Guys looked lethargic, on this trip the Team looked to have the will and desire to win but just didn’t have the legs after 6 games in 9 days.

Here are a few observations, new and notes that hit me over the weekend:

– The stretch of 6 games in 9 days isn’t much different than what a team might see in the playoffs, so in that regard it’s a good test to show the rookies what a playoff series might feel like. However, in the playoffs both teams are subject to the same schedule.

– The ECHL hasn’t done the Cyclones favors with the schedule. The January schedule had the home/road or road/home turnarounds of at least 5 hours. The most recent was the last trip to Kalamazoo at the end of that 6 in 9 stretch. While the Boys were playing all week the K-wings had several days off. This week the Guys will complete a 3 in 3 with a trip to Kalamazoo where the K-wings will have yet again been resting up for several days.

– The Cyclones went with a short bench on Saturday night. On Friday Chuck went with 11 forwards and 5 defensemen; Mark Voakes returned to the line up and Dwayne Zinger was absent. On Saturday night the Cyclones skated with 10 forwards and 5 defensemen due to the call up of Ian Mckenzie. The short bench definitely didn’t help the Cyclones that night and it raises the a question as to the health of Dwayne Zinger, who did play on Thursday night.

– If Zinger is injured and is going to be out for any length of time, it leaves an already depleted D-core in a tough spot. Both Kevin Roeder and Doug Krantz remain on long term IR and Jason Jozsa is on assignment in Milwaukee which leaves the Team with 6 defensemen, including Zinger. Luckily, the return of Voakes allows either Scott Reynolds or Barret Ehgoetz to drop to the blueline if needed. Depending on the status of Roeder, Krantz and Zinger, I would imagine Chuck will be looking to acquire a D-man from somewhere.

There was a very nice article on Cincinnati.com about Jeremy Smith and Robert Mayer. Be sure to check it out and let Tom Ramstetter know we appreciate the coverage.

– I’ll be heading to the Coach’s Show tonight. Hopefully I’ll get some insight to the defensive situation and the status of Adam Henrich.

-Mike-

Last night the Cyclones put together one of Their best performances of the year and took it to the South Carolina Stingrays defeating them a 3-2 in overtime. If you missed it, you can check out the video highlights here.

In my last post I stated how large a test this was for the Team. South Carolina came in to the game with the League’s best record and an abundance of goal scorers. There is always a question when you see a team from another Division play to a good record, but this wasn’t the case with South Carolina. They have dominated in the South and have more than held their own when opposing teams from the East and North Divisions. South Carolina is a legitimate contender for another Kelly Cup Championship. They have good size, they skate very well, and play a disciplined, team oriented game.

In order to win, or even to simply play with the Stingrays, the Cyclones had to match that style of play. We know the Cyclones can be disciplined so that wasn’t going to an issue. My biggest concern was whether or not the Boys would show up from the opening drop and play for a full 60 minutes or longer. The Guys answered my concern and matched the Stingrays stride for stride.

I don’t want to make the game sound like it was all sunshine and strawberry fields. The Stingray offense generated many good scoring chances and actually out shot the ‘Clones 37-27. The Cyclones could have easily be playing from behind if it weren’t for the team defense of the Cyclones. The Boys kept up with Their stingy defensive play, harmlessly clearing the few rebounds that Robert Mayer left on the weak side. Some say you have to make your own luck in the game of hockey and the Guys worked hard in that department. It seemed like every puck that trickled around or past Mayer was either cleared from the goal mouth, Brett Robinson had a particularly good one late in the 3rd, or they went wide. On the flip side it seemed that the Boys were in the right place at the right in the offensive zone as well.

It was apparent that both teams showed up to play last night. It will be interesting to see what the rematch next Thursday night will bring. Before the Cyclones can think about that they must first deal with the rough turnaround that is a trip to Kalamazoo tonight.

The K-wings are coming off a 5 day rest and the Cyclones will be playing Their 6th game in 9 days, not to mention  They’ll be dealing with the emotional and mental fatigue that comes with an overtime win against the League’s leaders. The Cyclones have dominated the season series with Kalamazoo to this point, but tonight could be a potential let down. However, the Cyclones have a 3 day break from games coming up, so if they can harness the same energy and play as they did last night for one more game, there really isn’t a reason to think a let down will be the case.

In other, possibly related observations,

– The Cyclones went with an odd line up last night, dressing 11 forwards and just 5 defensemen. Absent from the D-core was Dwayne Zinger. Zinger was active in the previous game against Charlotte after being scratched for a few.

– Speaking of Dwayne Zinger, it’s common knowledge that I’m not a huge fan of Dwayne. I do like his leadership and grit and was concerned about skating down one defenseman from the start. After watching the game for just a few minutes it was clear that, at least in my opinion, that Dwayne would not have been able to keep up with the pace of the Stingrays. I have no idea if Dwayne is nursing yet another injury or if it was a strategic move to keep both Morehouse and Benson in  for grit and allowing for Mark Voakes to return to the line up to add some skill, all the while taking the lumbering Zinger out of the equation.

– It was great seeing Mark Voakes back on the ice. He played very well for a guy that hasn’t been in the line up regularly for more than a month, especially on the power play. One can’t help but wonder if he could have been the Teams 3rd All Star had been been healthy for the first half.

– I said in my last post it was going to be crucial for the Cyclones to take advantage of Power Play chances against the Stingrays. The Cyclones went 2 for 4 against the 6th best PK in the lead. The spark that started with Kilpatrick grew to a flame with the addition of Voakes. Hopefully it’s a trend that will continue.

– Robert Mayer was on his game. The big question mark at the beginning of the season was how the two young net minders would develop. Both have proven there metal. Sure there have been a few hiccups along the way and i’m sure there will be a few more, but as long as the great games keep out numbering the bad ones I like our chances.

– What more is there to say about Chris Morehouse. I love the way this kid plays. It’s great that he’s here too because it doesn’t seem that anyone wants to fight Hans Benson. It’s OK though, I haven’t seen Chris turn down a fight yet and the guys that come after him are surprised to find out how tough the kid is.

– I really don’t think anyone in the ECHL wants to fight Hans Benson. I’ve seen Hans have “conversations” with several players and they all back down from Hans and then choose to go with Morehouse a few minutes later.

– Yesterday I made the speculation that we could be seeing Chris Higgins be assigned here at some point as a result of the McLean deal. Higgins was recalled by Syracuse, Gwinnetts AHL affiliate, but no other movement has been announced. Syracuse played last night but and Higgins was not in the line up. So at this point it’s hard to say what the “future considerations” were, are or will be.

– According to the AHL transaction page the Cyclones will be without the services of forward Ian McKenzie tonight in Kalamazoo. He has been recalled to Mikwaulkee by Nashville.

-Mike-