Last night, the Cincinnati Cylones were shutout 4-0 in Game 6 of the 2014 Kelly Cup Finals. They were bested by the ECHL’s top team during the regular season, the Alaska Aces. It is Alaska’s third ever Kelly Cup triumph: 2005-06, 2010-11, and 2013-14.
It may not have gone the way of the Cyclones but there were some outstanding performances and positives to take from their brilliant push for the Kelly Cup this season. Let’s go through them.
The obvious positive to take out of the Cyclones successful season is that they played a deep season. It’s great for that organization but also huge in terms of player development for the likes of Taylor Aronson, Zach Budish, Magnus Hellberg, and Josh Shalla. While their fellow Nashville Predators prospects are in summer vacation mode – they were all training, practicing, and playing in a competitive atmosphere. The longer the development time – the better.
~ECHL Playoff Stats~
Shalla: 23 GP, 17 points (11 goals, 6 assists), +2, 14 PIM
Budish: 24 GP, 11 points (6 goals, 5 assists), +7, 12 PIM
Aronson: 24 GP, 7 assists, +6, 18 PIM
Hellberg: 0 GP
Alright, so you’re thinking Hellberg didn’t really gain much during this time. Think again. From his injury in January to his eventual return with the Cyclones in late-March he was doing next to nothing as far as on-ice activity. If anything, he was practicing lightly as he slowly pushed himself back to game shape. The entirety of the Cyclones Kelly Cup run he has been healthy and working. Think of it this way. In what could be a lost season for him in his development – the Cyclones deep run may have offered him a lifeline to get his time out with injury back.
Speaking of Hellberg, it must have been a humbling season for him in the case of not getting the net. Marek Mazanec took his spot in Nashville. Scott Darling nudged him aside in Milwaukee. And then Rob Madore was “the man” in Cincinnati. Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason always told me that Hellberg is very accountable of himself and his performances. That’s something I agree with in my two-seasons around the big Swede. It’s that mentality that should have made his sitting on the bench during the Kelly Cup Finals run not as much of a bummer as you would expect. After all, his counter-part was making a name for himself.
The MVP of the 2014 Kelly Cup Finals wasn’t awarded to a member of the winning Alaska Aces. Instead, for the first time in ECHL history, it was given to the side that came up short. It was awarded to netminder Rob Madore. During the Cyclones run to the Kelly Cup he started all 24 games, won 14, had a 2.29 goals against average, and a 0.930 save percentage. In short, he was astonishingly good all throughout the playoffs.
Madore was under contract to the San Antonio Rampage. According to CapGeek, similar to Darling on the Predators page, he doesn’t exist! I’ll take that as a one-year deal that expires this off-season UFA style. If I’m right, I think Mr. Madore did himself just as much justice in the ECHL Playoffs as Darling did for the Admirals this season. He performed well enough to get on plenty of teams’ radar. Madore turned 26-years old in May. Darling will turn 26-years old in December. Needless to say the goaltending options are out there this off-season – two of which coming right out of our organization (Milwaukee and Cincinnati).
How do you feel the Milwaukee Admirals products performed during the Cincinnati Cyclones Kelly Cup run? Does their extended playoff run help them heading into the 2014-15 AHL season?