Cyclones Claim North Division Title
COMING UP: The Cincinnati Cyclones, the 2008 Kelly Cup champions, open defense of their title in the North Division semifinals against the Wheeling Nailers. The best-of-seven series gets underway on Thursday (April 9) and Friday (April 10) at U.S. Bank Arena. Game three will be played at WesBanco Arena on Saturday night (April 11) at 7:35pm. That game will be carried on MAX-FM (97.7 and 99.5).
GAME INFO: The games on Thursday and Friday are Games A and B of the ticket packages for season ticket holders. Game C, if necessary, will be played on Saturday, April 18 and would be the sixth game of the series.
DIVISION CHAMPS AGAIN!: The Cyclones completed their four game sweep of Johnstown in the final eight days of the season to claim the North Division championship. Saturday's 6-0 whitewashing of Johnstown slipped Wheeling into the final playoff spot in the division.
BIG WINNERS: Since the start of the 2007-08 season and through the playoffs of last season--the Cyclones have compiled a record of 112-42-12 (.711 winning percentage). It is the best winning percentage of any team in the ECHL.
WHEELING AND THE CYCLONES: The series with Wheeling marks the first time that the Cyclones have met the Nailers in the postseason. Wheeling won season series from Cincinnati, 6-5, including wins in three of five contests at U.S. Bank Arena. Under Head Coach Chuck Weber, the Cyclones are 19-18 against their opponent from West Virginia. All-time, Cincinnati has a 28-29-4 record versus Wheeling.
THESE TEAMS ARE OFFENSIVE: During the eleven games between these teams, a total of 102 goals were scored (9.3 goals per game). Wheeling outscored Cincinnati, 54-48. The Cyclones scored a season-high ten goals in a 10-4 triumph over the Nailers on Jan. 14. Wheeling netted a season-high nine goals in a 9-7 triumph over Cincinnati on Oct. 27. Florida led the ECHL with 269 goals, while the Nailers were second in the league with 263 goals and Cincinnati was third in scoring with 259 goals.
ROAD WARRIORS: The Cyclones finished the season 22-13-1 away from U.S. Bank Arena this season. The 22 victories are the most in the ECHL and will be one more than Florida will amass. During the 2007-08 season, the Cyclones led the ECHL with 26 road victories. The 48 triumphs away from home over the past two seasons is the most ever by an ECHL club over that time frame.
IN CHUCK WE TRUST!: Under the direction of Head Coach Chuck Weber, the Cyclones are 7-0 in games played in the divisional semifinals. Cincinnati outscored the opposition, 30-11, in those games.
CHUCK IS GOOD IN OPENERS: Head Coach Chuck Weber has been in the coaching business for ten seasons and his teams have been to the postseason nine times. In seven of the eight campaigns that his clubs have gone to playoffs, they have won the opening round.
FAMILIAR FACES: The Cyclones will have four faces from the Kelly Cup championship team on the playoff roster for this season. Center Barret Ehgoetz, defenseman Matt Macdonald, defenseman T.J. McElroy and left wing Matt Syroczynski will have the opportunity to participate with the club in postseason.
NORTH STANDINGS: The Cyclones finished the season tied with Trenton for the North Division title. Both teams had 87 points with Cincinnati taking the top spot based on tie-breaking criteria. Elmira finished third (85) points and will take on Trenton in the first round of the postseason. Wheeling took the fourth spot with 80 points. Johnstown narrowly missed the Kelly Cup playoffs, amassing 79 points. Dayton finished in sixth with 71 points and Reading rounded out the field with 54 points.
HAPPY ENDING: The Cyclones 6-0 win on Saturday night marked the first time in the three years that Chuck Weber has been head coach that the club has won its last game of the regular season. In 2006-07, Cincinnati dropped the last game at home against Charlotte that allowed Dayton to win the North Division title. Last year, a loss at Trenton finished the campaign--but help from Florida allowed the squad to capture the Brabham Cup for the league's best record. Saturday night, the triumph allowed for a North Division title.
ABOUT SATURDAY NIGHT...: The Cyclones collected power play goals 52 seconds apart in the first period to set in motion a 6-0 win over Johnstown. Gerard Miller and Matt Syroczynski's scores in the final four minutes of the opening frame built a 2-0 edge. Jimmy Kilpatrick's back-to-back goals in the second and third periods, extended that lead. Rookies Felix Petit and Matt Dias finished off the scoring in the title clinching game. Ryan Nie turned aside 30 shots in collecting the shutout.
ABOUT FRIDAY NIGHT...: The Cyclones got a power play goal from Mark Van Guilder 2:11 into overtime to claim a 4-3 win over Johnstown last night. T.J. McElroy collected three assists and Jimmy Kilpatrick had a pair of assists in the triumph.
ABOUT WEDNESDAY NIGHT...: The Cyclones rallied with a pair of second period goals to claim a 4-3 win over Johnstown and earn a berth in the Kelly Cup playoffs. Frederic St. Denis' first ECHL goal knotted the scores at two and opened the door for the comeback. Dustin Sproat, Matt Syroczynski and Mark Van Guilder each had a goal and an assist to lead the charge. Loic Lacasse stopped 19 shots to take his eleventh win of the season.
COMEBACKS!: The Cyclones rally versus Johnstown Friday night marked fifteen times this season that Cincinnati has registered a comeback win. Last season, the squad recorded 25 comebacks and in the three seasons under Chuck Weber, the club has rallied 53 times to win. Three times the Cyclones have erased two goal deficits in 2008-09. Eleven comeback triumphs have occurred since Christmas.
MILLER LITE CYCLONES COACHES SHOW: The Miller Lite Cyclones Coaches Show will be held Mondays from 7-8pm at Jefferson Hall at Newport on the Levee. Head Coach Chuck Weber and a pair of players are present at the show each week. Due to other events at Jefferson Hall, there will not be a show this Monday (April 6).
CH-CH-CH-CHANGES...: The Cyclones welcomed Matt Dias to the lineup Saturday night making him the 58th player to dress for the club this season. Last year, a total of 46 different players appeared in games for Cincinnati en route to the Kelly Cup championship. The Cyclones have now employed 44 different lineups this season.
ATTENDANCE NUMBERS UP: The Cyclones drew 111,750 to the 36 games at U.S. Bank Arena this season, an average of 3104--which is 17th in the ECHL. Through the 36 regular season games of last season, the club drew 90,778--an average of 2522. Cincinnati has not reached 111,750 in regular season attendance since the end of the 2002-03 season when 131,141 passed through the doors. Attendance this season is up 23.1 percent over a year ago--when the Cyclones had the highest percentage increase in attendance (36.8 percent) of any pro hockey team in North America. The 2008-09 percentage increase is the second-highest among minor league teams (Tulsa-CHL 28.9%). From two seasons ago (2006-07), attendance for the team has increased 68.3 percent.
MORE ATTENDANCE: While the top two teams in minor hockey attendance improvement are more than 20 percent better, attendance in minor league hockey has fallen 1.6 percent over 2007-08. Despite this trend, the Cyclones have increased attendance by 582 fans per home game, second-best in minor league hockey. Cincinnati's 582 fans per game is the biggest improvement in the ECHL (Wheeling is up 82 per game to rank second). The top per game average increases in minor league hockey are: Tulsa-CHL 1218, Cincinnati-ECHL 582, Springfield-AHL 550 and Grand Rapids-AHL 532.
ATTENDANCE CLOSER TO HOME: The Cyclones are one of four ECHL teams this season with an increase in attendance. Cincinnati is averaging 582 fans more per game this season, while Wheeling (82) , Victoria (52) and Dayton (15) are the other teams with increases in 2008-09.
ONE MORE ATTENDANCE NUGGET: Since the club moved to Cincinnati prior to the start of the 2001-02 season, a total of 589,981 fans have attended Cyclones games over that six year stretch.
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