Cyclones, Wranglers Battle For ‘AA’ National Title
PRINCETON, N.J. – The battle to determine the national ‘AA’ hockey champion begins on Saturday when the American Conference Champion Cincinnati Cyclones host the National Conference Champion Las Vegas Wranglers in Game 1 of the Kelly Cup Finals at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati.
Game 2 will be Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET before the series travels to Nevada where the Wranglers will host Games 3 and 4 at 7:05 p.m. on May 29 and 30 at the Orleans Arena. Game 5, if necessary, will be at 7:05 p.m. on June 2 at the Orleans Arena. The series would return to Cincinnati for Game 6, if necessary, at 7:30 p.m. on June 5 and Game 7, if necessary, at 7:30 p.m. on June 7.
Cincinnati is the top seed in the Kelly Cup Playoffs after finishing 55-12-5 to capture the Brabham Cup with 115 points. The Cyclones beat South Carolina in five games in the American Conference Finals after beating Reading in seven games in the division finals and Johnstown in four games in the first round.
Las Vegas swept Utah in the National Conference Finals after beating Alaska in five games in the conference semifinals and Stockton in six games in the quarterfinals. In its three previous postseason trips, Las Vegas has been eliminated by the eventual Kelly Cup champion with Idaho in 2004 and 2007 and Alaska in 2006.
Cyclones Chasing League Wins Record
The Cyclones have won 67 games in the regular season (55 wins) and postseason (12 wins), the second most in league history behind Alaska which won 69 games when it won the Kelly Cup in 2006. The only other teams to reach 60 wins are Gwinnett with 61 wins when it finished second in 2006 and Trenton with 61 wins when it lost in the Kelly Cup Finals to South Carolina in 2001.
Cincinnati is also trying to become only the third team in the 20-year history of the ECHL to win both the Brabham Cup, the trophy awarded to the regular season point champion, and the Kelly Cup. The South Carolina Stingrays were the first team to win both trophies in 1997 and the Alaska Aces repeated the feat in 2006.
Cyclones, Wranglers Combine For 221 Regular Season Points
Cincinnati (115 points) and Las Vegas (106 points) combined for 221 points in the regular season, surpassing the record of 220 points by Alaska (113 points) and Gwinnett (107 points) in 2006.
This is only the second time in 20 years that the Kelly Cup Finals have had two teams that scored 100 points in the regular season. Cincinnati (115 points) and Las Vegas (106 points) are only the fourth and fifth teams with 100 points to reach the Kelly Cup Finals and the first since Alaska and Gwinnett in 2006.
Las Vegas is the first team in league history to score 100 points in three consecutive seasons after having 112 points in 2005-06 and 106 points in 2006-07 when they won the league regular season title. The only two teams to finish the regular season with 100 points and win the Kelly Cup are Alaska (113 points in 2005-06) and South Carolina (100 points in 1996-97).
Third Meeting Between Regular Season Conference Winners
This is the third time in 12 years that the Kelly Cup Finals have featured the regular season conference winners. Cincinnati won the American Conference with 115 points and Las Vegas won the National Conference with 106 points. The finals in 2006 had Alaska, first in the National Conference with 113 points, and Gwinnett, first in the American Conference with 107 points, while in 2001 it was South Carolina, first in the Southern Conference with 91 points, and Trenton, first in the Northern Conference with 104 points.
Finals Return To Ohio, Make First Nevada Visit
This is the second year in a row and the third time in the last seven years that Ohio has hosted the Kelly Cup Finals. It is the first time that the finals have been played in Nevada as Las Vegas joined as an expansion team in 2003-04.
This is the fifth time that Ohio has hosted the ECHL championship as in 1993 and 1994 the Toledo Storm won the Riley Cup, the trophy presented to the ECHL postseason champion from 1989-96. The Dayton Bombers lost in the Kelly Cup Finals to the Idaho (Boise) Steelheads in 2007 and to the Greenville (South Carolina) Grrrowl in 2002.
The Kelly Cup Finals have been played four times in South Carolina, three times in Florida, New Jersey and Ohio, two times in Idaho, Louisiana and Virginia and one time in Alaska, Georgia, Illinois, Mississippi and Nevada.
The Kelly Cup champions the last four years have come from Alaska (Aces in 2006), Idaho (Steelheads in 2004 and 2007) and New Jersey (Trenton Titans in 2005) while the runner-ups have come from Florida (Everblades in 2004 and 2005), Georgia (Gwinnett Gladiators in 2006) and Ohio (Dayton in 2007).
The 4,396 miles from Duluth, Ga. to Anchorage, Alaska was the greatest distance ever between two teams in the Kelly Cup Finals. It was not, however, the farthest distance between two playoff teams which is 4,444 miles, the distance from Anchorage to Trenton, N.J., home of the Titans who beat the Aces in the conference finals en route to the Kelly Cup title in 2005.
Cyclones Feature High-Scoring Rookie Desharnais
Cincinnati rookie David Desharnais leads the Kelly Cup Playoffs with 15 assists and 22 points in 16 games after leading the league in the regular season with 106 points in 68 games. The 106 points was the most scored by an ECHL rookie since 1996-97 when Dany Bousquet of Pee Dee had 107 points (54g-53a). Desharnais was only the fourth rookie in 20 years to lead the ECHL in scoring joining Alex Leavitt of Alaska (91 points in 2005-06), Daryl Harpe of Erie (122 points in 1988-89) and Bill McDougall of Erie (148 points in 1989-90).
The 21 year old won the ECHL awards for Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year and Leading Scorer while also being named First Team All-ECHL and to the ECHL All-Rookie Team. He is only the fifth rookie in ECHL history to be named MVP and the first since Frederic Cloutier in 2001-02.
Cyclones defenseman Chad Starling won the league award for Plus Performer of the Year and was named Second Team All-ECHL. Starling’s plus-minus rating of +48 was the highest in the ECHL since 1995-96 and tied the fifth-best plus minus rating in league history.
Cracknell, Peter Ferraro, Mosienko Lead Wranglers
Adam Cracknell of Las Vegas is second in the Kelly Cup Playoffs with 21 points in 15 games while his 13 assists tie him for second and his eight goals tie him for fourth. Peter Ferraro of the Wranglers is tied for second with 13 assists and is third in scoring with 20 points in 14 games while Tyler Mosienko is tied for fifth with 17 points and tied for sixth with 11 assists in 15 games.
Cyclones, Wranglers By The Numbers In Postseason
Las Vegas leads the Kelly Cup Playoffs with 65 goals and 4.33 goals per game while Cincinnati is second with 59 goals and 3.69 goals per game. The Cyclones are tied for third in goals-against average with 2.44 while the Wranglers are sixth with 2.73.
The Wranglers are 6-1 at home and 6-2 on the road and 5-1 in one-goal including 4-1 in overtime. The Cyclones are 6-2 at home and 6-2 on the road and 4-2 in one-goal games including 2-1 in overtime.
Las Vegas is fourth on the penalty kill with 88.7 percent (55-for-62) and sixth on the power play with 18.1 percent (15-for-83). The Wranglers are tied for third with three shorthand goals and tied for 14th with two shorthand goals allowed.
Cincinnati is second on the penalty kill with 89.7 percent (104-for-116) and seventh on the power play with 17.9 percent (20-for-112). The Cyclones are tied for eighth with one shorthand goal and tied for 17th with three shorthand goals allowed.
Cyclones Had Record-Setting Season
The Cyclones 115 points and 55 wins are the second-most in the 20-year history of the ECHL behind Louisiana’s 116 points and 56 wins in 2001-02.
Cincinnati set the ECHL record with 17 wins in a row from Jan. 16-29, breaking the record of 14 by Knoxville from Dec. 28, 1993-Jan. 29, 1994 and Louisiana from Nov. 23-Dec. 22, 2001. Cincinnati also had an ECHL season-high and team-record 14-game home winning streak from Jan. 5-Mar. 12.
The Cyclones tied the ECHL record with 26 road wins while their 29 home wins tied the league record for fourth-most held by Pee Dee in 1998-99, Toledo in 2002-03 and Gwinnett in 2005-06 and their 12 regulation losses ties the record for third-fewest losses held by Alaska in 2005-06 and Las Vegas in 2006-07. Cincinnati had four home losses tying the record for third-fewest shared by nine teams including Gwinnett and Alaska in 2005-06.
Wranglers Becoming Model Of Consistency
Las Vegas is the first team in the 20-year history of the ECHL to score 100 points in three consecutive seasons after having 112 points in 2005-06 and 106 points in 2006-07 when they won the league regular season title. The Wranglers are the top seed in the National Conference for the second straight year after going 47-13-12 and finishing first in the conference regular season standings and third overall in the league with 106 points.
B2 Networks Will Broadcast Kelly Cup Playoffs
Every game of the 2008 Kelly Cup Finals will be available on B2 Networks, the “Official Broadband Broadcast Provider of the ECHL.” It marks the fifth year in a row that fans around the globe have been able to follow every postseason game on B2 Networks, which launched the B2 Triangulation Interactive Player for the 2008 Kelly Cup Playoffs.
In addition to broadcasting ECHL games the past five seasons, B2 Networks has also broadcast the last two ECHL All-Star Games as well as every game of the conference finals and the Kelly Cup Finals each of the past four years. The first hockey game broadcast by B2 Networks was the Las Vegas Wranglers in February 2004 and the first hockey championship carried by B2 Networks was the 2004 Kelly Cup Playoffs.
National Conference Looks For Fourth Straight Title
The Kelly Cup champion has been from the National Conference each of the past three years with Idaho in 2007, Alaska in 2006 and Trenton in 2005 before moving to the American Conference when the league was realigned before 2005-06.
The Kelly Cup has been won three times by teams from the Northern Conference (Atlantic City in 2003, Peoria in 2000 and Hampton Roads in 1998) and the Southern Conference (Greenville in 2002, South Carolina in 2001 and Mississippi in 1999) and once by a team from the Western Conference (Idaho in 2004).
The first season that the Kelly Cup was awarded the ECHL did not have conferences but rather three divisions (East, North and South) and the winner was South Carolina from the East Division.
In the eight years prior to the Kelly Cup, the ECHL Champion came from the East Division four times (Hampton Roads in 1991 and 1992, Richmond in 1995 and Charlotte in 1996). There was one champion from the West Division (Toledo in 1993) and one champion from the North Division (Toledo in 1994).
Kelly Cup Championship Banners In Seven States
South Carolina (South Carolina Stingrays in 1997 and 2001 and Greenville in 2002) has produced three of the 11 winners of the Kelly Cup while Idaho (Idaho Steelheads in 2004 and 2007) and New Jersey (Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies in 2003 and Trenton Titans in 2005) have each produced two champions. The other four champions have been from Alaska (Alaska Aces in 2006), Illinois (Peoria Rivermen – 1999), Mississippi (Mississippi Sea Wolves – 1999) and Virginia (Hampton Roads Admirals – 1998) have each produced one winner.
Nine States Are Home To ECHL Champions
In the first 19 years of the ECHL, Virginia has been home to the most champions with four (Hampton Roads Admirals in 1991, 1992 and 1998 and Richmond Renegades in 1995). North Carolina (Carolina Thunderbirds in 1989, Greensboro Monarchs in 1990 and Charlotte Checkers in 1996) and South Carolina (South Carolina Stingrays in 1997 and 2001 and Greenville Grrrowl in 2002) have each had three champions. Idaho (Idaho Steelheads in 2004 and 2007), New Jersey (Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies in 2003 and Trenton Titans in 2005) and Ohio (Toledo Storm in 1993 and 1994) have each produced two champions while Alaska (Alaska Aces in 2006), Illinois (Peoria Rivermen in 1999) and Mississippi (Mississippi Sea Wolves in 1999) each have one winner.
Kelly Cup Playoffs Produce Alaska’s Greatest Sports Moment
Alaska’s run to the Conference Finals in 2005 was chosen as the “Greatest Team Sports Moment In Alaska History” in an online poll by The Anchorage Daily News: Alaska’s Newspaper. The Aces had more than six times the number of votes received by the second-place finisher – “Libby Riddles Becoming First Woman To Win The Iditarod In 1985,” and the team was honored by the City of Anchorage with “Alaska Aces Pride Day”.
2008 Kelly Cup Finals Schedule
Game 1 – Saturday, May 24 at 7:30 p.m. ET at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati
Game 2 – Sunday, May 25 at 7:30 p.m. ET at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati
Game 3 – Thursday, May 29 at 7:05 p.m. PT at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas
Game 4 – Friday, May 30 at 7:05 p.m. PT at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas
Game 5 – Monday, June 2 at 7:05 p.m. PT at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas *
Game 6 – Thursday, June 5 at 7:30 p.m. ET at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati *
Game 7 – Saturday, June 7 at 7:30 p.m. ET at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati *
* – If Necessary
Kelly Cup Champions
2007 – Idaho defeated Dayton, 4 games to 1
2006 – Alaska defeated Gwinnett, 4 games to 1
2005 – Trenton defeated Florida, 4 games to 2
2004 – Idaho defeated Florida, 4 games to 1
2003 – Atlantic City defeated Columbia, 4 games to 1
2002 – Greenville defeated Dayton, 4 games to 0
2001 – South Carolina defeated Trenton, 4 games to 1
2000 – Peoria defeated Louisiana, 4 games to 2
1999 – Mississippi defeated Richmond, 4 games to 3
1998 – Hampton Roads defeated Pensacola, 4 games to 2
1997 – South Carolina defeated Louisiana, 4 games to 1
American Conference Finals (Best-of-Seven)
#1 Cincinnati Cyclones (55-12-5) vs. #2 South Carolina Stingrays (47-22-3)
Cincinnati Wins Series 4-1
Game 1 – South Carolina 2 at CINCINNATI 6
Game 2 – South Carolina 4 at CINCINNATI 5 (OT)
Game 3 – Cincinnati 4 at SOUTH CAROLINA 5 (OT)
Game 4 – CINCINNATI 3 at South Carolina 1
Game 5 – CINCINNATI 2 at South Carolina 1 (OT)
North Division Finals (Best-of-Seven)
#1 Cincinnati Cyclones (55-12-5) vs. #3 Reading Royals (38-26-8)
Cincinnati Wins Series 4-3
Game 1 – Cincinnati 3 at READING 5
Game 2 – CINCINNATI 3 at Reading 2
Game 3 – READING 5 at Cincinnati 2
Game 4 – Reading 3 at CINCINNATI 5
Game 5 – READING 1 at Cincinnati 0
Game 6 – CINCINNATI 4 at Reading 2
Game 7 – Reading 1 at CINCINNATI 6
North Division Semifinals (Best-of-Seven)
#1 Cincinnati Cyclones (55-12-5) vs. #4 Johnstown Chiefs (36-30-6)
Cincinnati Wins Series 4-0
Game 1 – Johnstown 3 at CINCINNATI 5
Game 2 – Johnstown 1 at CINCINNATI 4
Game 3 – CINCINNATI 4 at Johnstown 2
Game 4 – CINCINNATI 3 at Johnstown 2
National Conference Finals (Best-of-Seven)
#1 Las Vegas Wranglers (47-13-12) vs. #6 Utah Grizzlies (32-30-10)
Las Vegas Wins Series 4-0
Game 1 – Utah 2 at LAS VEGAS 5
Game 2 – Utah 3 at LAS VEGAS 4 (OT)
Game 3 – LAS VEGAS 3 at Utah 2 (OT)
Game 4 – LAS VEGAS 5 at Utah 2
National Conference Semifinals (Best-of-Seven)
#1 Las Vegas Wranglers (47-13-12) vs. #5 Alaska Aces (41-26-5)
Las Vegas Wins Series 4-1
Game 1 – Alaska 0 at LAS VEGAS 8
Game 2 – Alaska 1 at LAS VEGAS 3
Game 3 – LAS VEGAS 5 at Alaska 2
Game 4 – Las Vegas 5 at ALASKA 6 (OT)
Game 5 – LAS VEGAS 6 at Alaska 3
National Conference Quarterfinals (Best-of-Seven)
#1 Las Vegas Wranglers (47-13-12) vs. #8 Stockton Thunder (27-40-5)
Las Vegas Wins Series 4-2
Game 1 – STOCKTON 4 at Las Vegas 2
Game 2 – Stockton 4 at LAS VEGAS 5 (OT)
Game 3 – LAS VEGAS 3 at Stockton 2
Game 4 – LAS VEGAS 4 at Stockton 3 (OT)
Game 5 – Las Vegas 3 at STOCKTON 6
Game 6 – Stockton 1 at LAS VEGAS 4
Celebrating its 20th Anniversary in 2007-08, the ECHL is the Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League and the third-longest tenured professional hockey league behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League.
ECHL began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states and has grown to be a coast-to-coast league that will play with 24 teams in 16 states and British Columbia in 2008-09.
The league officially changed its name to ECHL on May 19, 2003.
The ECHL has affiliations with 26 of the 30 teams in the NHL in 2007-08, marking the 11th consecutive season that the league has had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.
There have been 355 former ECHL players who have gone on to play in the NHL after playing in the ECHL, including 99 in the last three seasons. There have been 210 former ECHL players who have played their first game in the NHL in the past seven seasons.
There are 15 coaches in the NHL who have ECHL experience including former Wheeling coach Peter Laviolette, who is head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes, and former Mississippi coach Bruce Boudreau, who is head coach of the Washington Capitals.
The ECHL is represented for the seventh consecutive year on the National Hockey League championship team in 2007 with Anaheim assistant coach Dave Farrish, players Francois Beauchemin and George Parros and broadcasters John Ahlers and Steve Carroll.
The ECHL has affiliations with 26 of the 29 teams in the American Hockey League in 2007-08 and for the past 18 years there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup champion.
In each of the last two seasons there have been more than 225 players who have played in both the ECHL and the AHL and there were over 800 call-ups involving more than 500 players. In the last five seasons the ECHL has had more call-ups to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined with over 2,000 call-ups involving more than 1,000 players since 2002-03.
Further information on the ECHL is available from its website at ECHL.com.