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Posted - 05/25/2010 :  2:23:43 PM  Show Profile  Visit jevers's Homepage
Cincinnati's Second Championship In Three Years Caps Record Breaking Season

SEASON IN REWIND: The Cincinnati Cyclones, the ECHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens and Nashville Predators, finished their 2009-10 season on Friday night (May 21) in a 2-1 win over the Idaho Steelheads. The victory gave the Cyclones a four games to one series triumph for the Kelly Cup championship.

HOW THEY GOT THERE: The Cyclones began their journey to the title in the opening round against defending Kelly Cup champion South Carolina. After winning that series in five games, Cincinnati battled Charlotte and knocked off the American Conference regular season champions in seven games. The Cyclones captured the American Conference playoff title in a seven game triumph over Reading, before the club snagged its second Kelly Cup title in the win over the Brabham Cup champion (for the ECHL's best regular season record) Idaho Steelheads in five games.

ROUND ONE - SOUTH CAROLINA: The Cyclones claimed the opening round of the Kelly Cup postseason with a three games to two triumph over South Carolina. The Stingrays entered the series as the fourth seeded team and was the defending Kelly Cup champion.
Game One: After spotting South Carolina a 1-0 lead early in the first period, Jeremy Smith put the defending champs in lockdown and the Cyclones grabbed a 6-1 win. Dustin Sproat led the way with a goal and three assists, while Brian O'Hanley had a pair of goals and an assist and Jimmy Kilpatrick potted a pair of goals. Smith's 31 saves highlighted the triumph and gave Cincinnati a 1-0 lead in the best of five series.
Game Two: South Carolina got a goal in the opening minute and parlayed that into a 3-1 win over the Cincinnati Cyclones. Jimmy Kilpatrick netted the lone goal for Cincinnati, ripping a shot just inside the left post for his third score of the playoffs. Jeremy Smith turned away 28 shots in the defeat.
Game Three: Cyclones forward Josh Heidinger's shot from the left faceoff circle at 16:49 of overtime was the only marker in a 1-0 win at South Carolina. Brock Sheahan and Will Ortiz had the assists on the score. Jeremy Smith knocked away all 25 shots he faced in collecting his first pro playoff shutout.
Game Four: South Carolina took a 3-2 win in overtime on a Gregg Johnson score--his first of the playoffs. Jeremy Smith stopped 22 shots in the defeat. Barret Ehgoetz and Ian McKenzie had the goals for Cincinnati.
Game Five: The Cyclones got a power play goal from Barret Ehgoetz at 16:15 of overtime to claim a 3-2 win over South Carolina. Ehgoetz had a pair of goals to pace the offense, while Jimmy Kilpatrick's tally with 5:32 remaming forced the extra session. Jeremy Smith turned away 32 shots in collecting the win.

ROUND TWO - CHARLOTTE: In the American Conference Semifinals, the Cyclones met Charlotte for the first-time ever in the postseason. Charlotte, playing in its final postseason in the ECHL as the club moves into the AHL, went into the round as the American Conference's top seed after having the best record of all the teams in the eastern half of North America.
Game One: The Cyclones twice climbed back from two goal deficits to grab a 4-3 win against Charlotte. Brett Robinson's goal with 4:22 remaining gave the club the win. Robinson finished the night with two points and a plus-three rating. Brett Motherwell, in his first-ever Kelly Cup playoffs appearance, had a goal and an assist. Maxime Lacroix and Dustin Sproat had the other lamplighters for Cincinnati. Jeremy Smith knocked away 16 shots for the win.
Game Two: Charlotte used three special teams goals to claim a 5-0 win over Cincinnati. The Checkers scored a pair of power play goals and notched a shorthanded marker. Mike Bartlett had a pair of goals--including the game winner in the triumph.
Game Three: The Cyclones exploded for a club playoff record nine goals in a 9-5 win over Charlotte. Cincinnati got three power play goals and two shorthanded efforts to secure the triumph. Jimmy Kilpatrick and Maxime Lacroix each had three point nights, while Mathieu Aubin, Barret Ehgoetz, Brett Motherwell and Brian O'Hanley each had two point nights. Jeremy Smith redirected a career playoff-high 37 shots.
Game Four: The Cyclones dropped a 4-1 decision to Charlotte. Brett Robinson netted the lone score, a shorthanded penalty shot. Jeremy Smith stopped 27 shots in the loss.
Game Five: The Cyclones rallied for a 2-1 win over Charlotte. Dustin Sproat's third goal of the postseason coming on a delayed penalty call late in the second period was the difference. Jeremy Smith stopped 32 shots in the win. Hans Benson's goal in the final minute of the first period knotted the scores at one each.
Game Six: Charlotte took a 3-0 decision to force a decisive seventh game.
Game Seven: The Cyclones finished off their best of seven series with the Charlotte Checkers in a 2-1 decision in the seventh game. Mark Van Guilder had both Cincinnati goals and Jeremy Smith stopped 33 shots in picking up his seventh victory of the USA Collision Centers postseason for the club.

ROUND THREE - READING: The fifth-seeded Cyclones took on the seventh-seeded Reading Royals in the conference finals. Reading, which had both of its AHL affiliates (Providence and Toronto) miss the Calder Cup playoffs--received numerous players for the Kelly Cup run.
Game One: The Reading Royals grabbed a 5-2 win from the Cyclones to open the American Conference Finals. Brett Robinson had a pair of goals in the defeat, as Jeremy Smith steered aside 23 shots in taking the loss.
Game Two: Goaltender Matt Dalton stopped a career playoff-high 45 shots in a 3-1 win over the Cyclones. Brett Robinson had the lone goal for Cincinnati.
Game Three: The Reading Royals scored three times in the first eleven minutes and cruised to a 4-2 win over the Cyclones. Barret Ehgoetz and Jimmy Kilpatrick had the goals for Cincinnati in the loss.
Game Four: The Cyclones used a three goal second period to blow open a 6-4 win at Reading on May 8. Dustin Sproat had a pair of goals and an assist, while Josh Heidinger had a goal and an assist and Mathieu Aubin and Barret Ehgoetz each had a pair of assists to pace the offense. Jeremy Smith stopped 28 shots to secure the defensive effort.
Game Five: The Cyclones got two goals from Mathieu Aubin and two point games from Dustin Sproat and Mark Van Guilder in a 5-0 victory over Reading on May 4. Robert Mayer turned away all 29 shots he faced in his first pro playoff shutout. Cincinnati used a three goal second period for the second straight night to blow the game open.
Game Six: The Cyclones rallied from a two goal deficit early in the first period with a three-goal flurry in a 1:35 span midway through the first to grab a 6-3 win over Reading. Barret Ehgoetz and Dustin Sproat had two goal games, Brett Robinson had a three point night and Jeremy Smith came on in relief to stop all 14 shots he faced in the triumph.
Game Seven: Cyclones center Barret Ehgoetz netted the lone goal of the game in the first period and Robert Mayer knocked away 25 shots in a 1-0 win over Reading. The triumph was the fourth straight against the Royals after dropping the opening three games of the series.

ROUND FOUR - IDAHO: The Cyclones entered their second Kelly Cup Finals series against the regular season champion Idaho (48-17-7). The Steelheads captured the National Conference championship with a four game sweep of Utah and a six game triumph over Stockton.
Game One: The Cyclones got goals from Mark Van Guilder in the first and last minutes of the game to lead the club to a 3-2 win over Idaho in the opening game of the Kelly Cup Finals. Robert Mayer had 28 saves and Maxime Lacroix had a pair of assists in the triumph.
Game Two: The Cyclones got the only goal of the evening off of a deflection from the hip of forward Dustin Sproat with 20.1 seconds to play in regulation time in the 1-0 win. Barret Ehgoetz flipped a puck into the slot for Mathieu Aubin to fire on goal, Sproat came to the front of the net and had it bounce off his leg for the score. Robert Mayer stopped all 18 shots he faced in taking the victory.
Game Three: After spotting Idaho a 3-0 lead early in the second period, the Cyclones rallied to force double overtime before falling 4-3. Brett Robinson, Jimmy Kilpatrick and Mark Van Guilder had the goals for the Cyclones. Robert Mayer stopped a playoff-high 30 shots.
Game Four: The Cyclones got goals 53 seconds apart in the third period from Reid Cashman and Dustin Sproat to rally from a 2-1 deficit in the third period to grab a 3-2 win over Idaho. Robert Mayer stopped 27 shots in taking his fifth win of the playoffs.
Game Five: The Cyclones captured the Kelly Cup with a 2-1 win. Dustin Sproat and Brett Robinson collected the scores and Robert Mayer stopped 22 shots for the victory.

SETTING A RECORD: The Cyclones finished the postseason by playing their 24th game to set a new record for games by a team in the Kelly Cup playoffs. South Carolina played 23 games in capturing the Kelly Cup in 2009.

SETTING A RECORD, PART 2: The Cyclones also went into the ECHL record books, tying the record for fewest shots on goal in a Kelly Cup Finals game. The 15 shots on goal in game four tied Idaho's record set in game five against Dayton in the 2007 Finals. Ironically, the Steelheads captured the trophy that night--scoring four times.

THAT'S A LOT OF HOCKEY!: The 4-3 double overtime loss to Idaho in game three (May 18) was the third-longest game in Cyclones history. The longest contest in Cincinnati history occurred on April 6, 2003 when Nick Bootland scored at 11:02 of double overtime in game four of its series against Peoria. Last year, on April 20, Matt Syroczynski netted a score at 3:48 of double overtime in versus Wheeling.

PART OF THE COMMUNITY: The Cyclones contributed more than $210,000 in goods, materials and support to the Cincinnati area community during 2009-10. In the past four seasons the team has contributed more than $465,000 in community assistance.

SPROAT IS MR. CLUTCH: Cyclones forward Dustin Sproat has scored the game winning goal in two of Cincinnati victories in the Finals. The first ten wins in the playoffs for the Cyclones were scored by different players, while the last five games had repeat game winning goal scorers.

THIRD IN THREE: The comeback effort in game three against Idaho (May 18) marked the third straight postseason that the Cyclones trailed a game by three goals and battled back to force overtime. In 2008 during the American Conference Finals against South Carolina, Thomas Beauregard ended the second game of the series with an overtime marker. Last year during the North Division Finals, the club scored three times in the third period before Jimmy Kilpatrick's goal in the second minute of extra time dropped Elmira in the second game of the series. In game three (May 18)--down 3-0 in the second period, pair of third period goals knotted the game at three apiece before the Steelheads scored in the opening minute of double overtime.

WEBER MOVES TO THE TOP: With the victory to secure the Kelly Cup, Cyclones Head Coach Chuck Weber won his 45th career Kelly Cup playoff game. He has passed former Alaska Aces coach (and current St. Louis Blues coach), Davis Payne with that total for most by a coach in any four year period in ECHL history. Payne accomplished his 38 win run from 2004-07.

MORE WEBER: Cyclones Head Coach Chuck Weber now has the third-most ECHL playoff wins in history, tying John Marks (ten seasons) for the position. John Brophy had 55 wins in an eleven year coaching career, while Davis Payne collected 50 triumphs in seven seasons. Jeff Brubaker (43 wins--seven seasons), rounds out the top five. Weber has as many Kelly Cup playoff games (45) in four seasons as Payne did in six campaigns.

SIX STRAIGHT WINS!: The Cyclones victory in game two of the Finals (May 15) was the club's sixth straight--establishing a club playoff record. Last year, Cincinnati won five straight starting with the seventh game against Wheeling and then swept all four games from Elmira in the North Division Finals from April 20 through May 1. Two other times in postseason history has Cincinnati won five in a row. The win streak was snapped in game three (May 18) in the 4-3 double overtime loss.

CHASING HISTORY: For the first time in ECHL history, a pair of coaches who have previously won Kelly Cup championships are meeting for the title. Chuck Weber won his title in 2008, while Derek Laxdal led Idaho to a championship in 2007. Weber was a part of ECHL lore in the 2008 Finals as well, as he and Glen Gulutzan were the first pair of John Brophy Award winners (ECHL's Coach of the Year) to meet in the championship. In both of these matchups, Weber has prevailed.

THAT'S A HUGE CROWD: The Cyclones set an ECHL playoff record with the crowd of 13,438 at game five on May 21. That surpassed the crowd of 12,722 that witnessed the Cyclones upended Las Vegas for the Kelly Cup on June 5, 2008. Since 2000, the Cyclones have attracted four of the top eight playoff crowds in the ECHL. The 8676 that saw game one of the 2008 Finals (May 29) v. Las Vegas is the fourth-largest crowd and the 7703 in the next day (May 30) for game two is eighth-largest.

MORE CROWDED NEWS: For the third straight season, the Cyclones attracted more fans on average in the Kelly Cup playoffs than the regular season. Cincinnati brought 50,744 through the door at U.S. Bank Arena through twelve dates, an average of 4229 per game. That average was third-best in the postseason and topped the club's previous best finish in playoff attendance--fourth (4935)--set in 2008.

COMBINED ATTENDANCE SETS RECORD: During the regular season, the Cyclones brought in 139,919 to U.S. Bank Arena. With the 50,744 attending the playoff games, the club brought 190,663 in. That total shatters the previous mark of 155,230 set by the team in its inaugural year (1995-96) at Louisville. The previous high in Cincinnati was 145,121 set during the 2007-08 championship run. Between the regular season and playoffs, the Cyclones averaged 3973 per game at U.S. Bank Arena.

BIG REGULAR SEASON CROWDS: The Cyclones brought in 10,512 for the game against Johnstown on Fan Appreciation Night (April 2), the third-largest in team history. The Education In Hockey Day game on November 17 brought 8944, the fifth-largest crowd ever and the biggest regular season weekday game to be played by the team at U.S. Bank Arena. The Pink In The Rink contest on February 20 drew 7175--the eighth-largest crowd in team history. In addition to these games, six other crowds were in excess of 6000 people.

LAST WORD ON ATTENDANCE: During the 2009-10 regular season, the Cyclones averaged 3887 per game at U.S. Bank Arena--15th of the 20 teams in the league and 47th of the 78 teams playing mino pro hockey. For the third straight year, the club led the ECHL in percentage of attendance increased (29.2 percent) and was second among all teams in minor pro hockey (Quad City - IHL at 34.2 percent). The increase of 783 fans per game compared to last season is also the biggest in the ECHL for the third straight year and second-biggest among all teams in minor pro hockey (Quad City increased 1028). Ontario was second in the ECHL at 595.

ROAD WARRIORS: The Cyclones won eight road playoff games this season, most in the ECHL postseason. The club record for road triumphs is eight, set by the 2008 Kelly Cup champions. During the regular season, Cincinnati led the American Conference--and was second to Idaho (23)--in road wins with 21.

BACKS TO THE WALL: The 2009-10 Cincinnati Cyclones were pretty good in the postseason in facing elimination games, posting a 6-0 mark. The club hurdled the first challenge in game five at South Carolina, taking a 3-2 overtime decision. The second barrier was the seventh game against Charlotte, a 2-1 gut-check win. The third task occurred on May 8 in Reading, a 6-4 triumph. The fourth, came in the 5-0 win at Reading on May 9. The fifth happed on May 11 in the 6-3 victory and the sixth came on May 12 in the 1-0 triumph.

ELIMINATION GAMES: Under Head Coach Chuck Weber, the Cyclones are 9-2 in games that require a win to keep a playoff season alive. On the other side of the coin--in the past four years Cincinnati is 9-5 in games when it can eliminate its opponent from the postseason. Since the start of the 2008 Kelly Cup playoffs that record is 9-2 with the ability to eliminate the opponent.

NARROW MARGINS: The Cyclones played three 1-0 games in the postseason. The first came in overtime in the third game of the South Carolina series (April 9), as rookie Josh Heidinger scored in the 17th minute of bonus time to end the game. The second came against Reading in game seven on May 12, when Barret Ehgoetz netted the only tally in the seventh minute of the game. The most recent was Dustin Sproat's lamplighter with 20.1 seconds remaining on Saturday night.

SEVENTH HEAVEN: The Cyclones were a part of the ECHL's 21st game seven in league history on May 12. Cincinnati has been a part of six seventh games--which also is a league record. The Cyclones are 4-2 in these games and have three triumphs on home ice.

STORK A SEVENTH GAME VETERAN: Cyclones Assistant Coach Dean Stork has been involved with nine of the 21 seventh games in ECHL history. Playing in four as a player and coaching five others with the Cyclones, Stork has a 7-2 record in these contests.

DIRECTOR OF COMEBACKS: Cyclones Head Coach Chuck Weber guided the club to eight come-from-behind wins in the 2010 Kelly Cup playoffs and 17 in his four playoff seasons at the helm. In the four regular seasons under Weber's direction, Cincinnati has recorded 64 regular season comebacks.

PHILADELPHIA AND CINCINNATI SHARE BOND: The cities of Cincinnati and Phiadelphia share a special bond that was forged during the week of May 12. That night, the Cyclones became the sixth team in pro hockey history to eliminate a 3-0 deficit in a best of seven series to rally and advance in the postseason. The 1-0 win over Reading (about an hour away from Philadelphia) advanced the club to the Kelly Cup Finals. The Philadelphia Flyers won their best of seven series against the Boston Bruins on Friday night. The Flyers rallied from a 3-0 deficit in the series AND a 3-0 deficit in game seven. They become the sixth, and seventh, teams in pro hockey history to achieve this. The 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, 1960 Rochester Americans (AHL), 1975 New York Islanders, 1989 Adirondack Red Wings (AHL) and 1999 Orlando Solar Bears (IHL) are the others. Cyclones coach Chuck Weber worked in the front office of the Orlando club and went into coaching the following year.

CYCLONES AMONG LEADERS: The Cyclones had numerous players among the statistical leaders in the Kelly Cup playoffs. Dustin Sproat tied for the lead in goal scoring with eleven, tied for the league lead in game winning goals with three and finished second with 20 points. Barret Ehgoetz and Brett Robinson tied for third in goal scoring with nine each, while Ehgoetz also finished sixth in scoring with 17 points. Jimmy Kilpatrick ended up ninth in scoring with 16 points, while Mark Van Guilder took twelfth in scoring with 15 points. Mathieu Aubin also hit the leaderboard in 17th place with 13 points. Hans Benson wound up second in penalty minutes with 65 and Ryan Del Monte was fifth with 41 PIM. Maxime Lacroix and Robinson led the league in shorthanded goals with two apiece. Robert Mayer led the postseason with a 1.54 goals against average and three shutouts, while Jeremy Smith led the postseason in minutes played 988 and ended up second in saves (430). Brett Motherwell had eleven points to finish second among defensemen in scoring, while Brian O'Hanley had eight points to finish sixth among rearguards and Jason Jozsa had seven points to take seventh on the chart. Reid Cashman had a pair of power play goals to lead all defensemen, while Brock Sheahan had ten minor penalties to finish third among defensemen in that category.

THE MVP GOALIE COMBO: Cyclones Head Coach Chuck Weber's two-headed goaltending monster of Robert Mayer and Jeremy Smith was named the co-Most Valuable Players of the Kelly Cup playoffs. The pair combined to turn in a 15-7-2 record with a 2.29 goals against average, a .917 save percentage and four shutouts.

THAT IS ODD: The Cyclones enjoyed success in the Kelly Cup playoffs in odd numbered games of a series (games one, three, five and seven), posting a 11-3 record. Cincinnati struggled a bit in the even numbered games side (games two, four and six), turning in a 4-6 record--but won the last four straight.

CH-CH-CH-CHANGES: The Cyclones utilized 42 different players during the season (40 seeing action in games), making up 47 different lineup combinations. Fifteen players were promoted a total of 21 times for 257 games during the season. Robert Mayer spent a week in Montreal practicing with the team during the Winter Olympics.

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