Cincinnati, South Carolina
Meet In American Conference Finals

The 2009 Kelly Cup Playoffs American Conference will get underway on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. ET at the North Charleston Coliseum when the South Division champion South Carolina Stingrays host the North Division champion Cincinnati Cyclones.

South Carolina will host Game 2 at 7:05 p.m. ET on Monday before the best-of-seven series travels to U.S. Bank Arena for Games 3 and 4 at 7:30 p.m. ET on May 13 and 15.

The winner will advance to the Kelly Cup Finals where they will meet either Las Vegas or Alaska, who begin their best-of-seven American Conference Finals series on Saturday. Alaska won the Kelly Cup in 2006 and is in the conference finals for the fourth time in five years while Las Vegas was in the Kelly Cup Finals for the second year in a row.

It is a repeat of the 2008 American Conference Finals which the Cyclones won in five games en route to the Kelly Cup championship. It marks only the second time in league history that teams have met in the conference finals in back-to-back years. Peoria and Trenton met in the conference finals in 2000 and 2001 with Peoria capturing the Kelly Cup in 2000 and Trenton losing to South Carolina in the Kelly Cup Finals in 2001.

It is the fourth trip to the conference finals for South Carolina and the third trip for Cincinnati. The Stingrays are 2-1 in conference finals series having captured the Kelly Cup in 1997 and 2001 while the Cyclones are 1-1 having defeated South Carolina on their way to the Kelly Cup in 2008 and losing in seven games to eventual Kelly Cup winner Atlantic City in 2003.

The Kelly Cup trophy is named for Patrick J. Kelly, who was one of the founding fathers of the ECHL and the second inductee into the ECHL Hall of Fame in 2008. Kelly served as Commissioner for the league’s first eight seasons and was named Commissioner Emeritus in 1996, a title that he continues to hold. Kelly, who celebrated his 55th season in professional hockey in 2007-08, coached 1,900 career games and had 935 wins. Kelly coached in the Eastern Hockey League, the Southern Hockey League and the National Hockey League where he was the only coach to ever lead the Colorado Rockies to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Stingrays are trying to become the first three-time winner of the Kelly Cup. South Carolina won the trophy the first year it was presented in 1997 and became the first two-time champion in 2001. The Stingrays were the first team in history to win both the Brabham Cup, the trophy awarded to the regular season champion, and the Kelly Cup in the same season in 1996-97. Stingrays head coach Jared Bednar was a member of both championship teams. South Carolina has qualified for the postseason a league record 15 times in 16 seasons and is the all-time leader with 128 postseason games and 69 postseason wins.

Cincinnati is the defending champion and one of only three teams to win the Brabham Cup and the Kelly Cup in the same season. The Cyclones had 71 combined wins in the regular season and postseason breaking the ECHL record of 69 wins by Alaska when it won the Kelly Cup in 2006. Cincinnati was the third team to finish the regular season with 100 points and win the Kelly Cup joining Alaska (113 points in 2005-06) and South Carolina (100 points in 1996-97).

In the 12 years that the Kelly Cup has been presented to the postseason winner there has never been a team that has captured it in back-to-back years. The postseason trophy from 1989-1996 was the Riley Cup which had back-to-back winners twice with Hampton Roads in 1991 and 1992 and Toledo in 1993 and 1994.

South Carolina was the fourth seed overall and the second seed in the South Division with a winning percentage of .634 and a record of 42-23-6 while Cincinnati was the top seed in the North Division and the fifth seed overall with a winning percentage of .604 and a record of 41-26-5.

The Stingrays upset regular season champion Florida in the South Division Finals in a series that saw all six games decided by one goal including three in overtime. South Carolina beat Charlotte in six games in the South Division Semifinals.

The Cyclones swept Elmira in four games in the North Division Finals after beating Wheeling in seven games in the North Division Semifinals, including a 2-1 win in double overtime in Game 7. Cincinnati won the North Division regular season title for the second year in a row with a 41-26-5 record.

Cincinnati’s Chuck Weber has won 163 games (133 in the regular season and 30 in the postseason) in his first three seasons which is more than any ECHL coach in his first three seasons. Mike Haviland, who is now an assistant coach with the Chicago Blackhawks in the National Hockey League, won 152 games (130 in the regular season and 22 in the postseason) in his first three seasons with Atlantic City. Weber is the second coach to win a playoff series in each of his first three seasons. Davis Payne won a series in each of his three seasons in Pee Dee from 2000-03 and won a series in each of his four seasons in Alaska from 2004-08.

South Carolina’s Jared Bednar is the first coach to take his team to the conference finals in his first two seasons. He is 89-45-9 in the regular season and 18-14 in the Kelly Cup Playoffs. The former defenseman was an assistant coach for five years before taking over as head coach in 2007-08 and he is in his 13th season with the organization having played for the Stingrays from 1995-2002.

In the Kelly Cup Playoffs South Carolina is 5-1 at home and 5-2 in one-goal games while Cincinnati is 5-0 on the road and 4-0 in one-goal games.

South Carolina is fifth in the Kelly Cup Playoffs with 3.75 goals per game while Cincinnati is tied for sixth with 3.27 goals per game. The Cyclones are tied for fourth with a goals-against average of 2.73 while the Stingrays are seventh with 3.00. Cincinnati leads the postseason with four shorthand goals while South Carolina is tied for fifth with one shorthand goal. The Stingrays have not allowed a shorthand goal while the Cyclones have allowed one. Cincinnati is tied for fifth on the penalty kill with 85.7 percent while South Carolina is eighth with 82.9 percent. The Stingrays are second in the Kelly Cup Playoffs with 22.7 percent while the Cyclones are 13th with 13.1 percent.

South Carolina’s Brad Farynuk is tied for the league lead among defensemen with three power-play goals and is fourth with six power-play points. He is tied for third with three goals and tied for fifth with eight points. Zach Tarkir of the Stingrays leads all defensemen with two game-winning goals, both scored in overtime, and a plus-minus rating of +8. He is tied for the lead with four goals and is third with 12 points and tied for third with eight assists. Tarkir is third with five power-play assists and tied for second with seven power-play points. Cincinnati’s Brian O’Hanley leads defensemen in the Kelly Cup Playoffs with two shorthand points and is tied for the lead with one shorthand goal and one shorthand assist.

Cincinnati’s Dustin Sproat leads all rookies with seven goals and his 12 points tie him for fifth with teammate Jimmy Kilpatrick, who leads all rookies with 10 assists. Kilpatrick also leads all rookies with five power-play assists and he is tied for the lead with five power-play points. Sproat and Kilpatrick are tied for the rookie leads with two game-winning goals each. South Carolina’s Nikita Kashirsky is tied for fourth with eight assists and is seventh with 11 points while teammate Maxime Lacroix is tied for ninth with eight points (4g-4a).

Ryan Nie of the Cyclones is 3-1 with a shutout and a league-leading goals-against average of 1.85 while ranking fifth with a save percentage of .925. Cincinnati’s Loic Lacasse is 5-2 with a goals-against average of 2.98 while Jonathan Boutin of the Stingrays is 7-2 and ranks second in wins.

South Carolina’s Trent Campbell is fourth in the league with 11 assists and tied for ninth with 13 points while Stingrays defenseman Zach Tarkir is tied for third overall with seven power-play points and tied for fourth overall with five power-play assists. Cincinnati’s Matt Syroczynski leads the Kelly Cup Playoffs with six power-play goals while rookie teammate Dustin Sproat is tied for fourth overall with seven goals and is tied for 15th with 12 points.

American Conference Finals (Best of Seven)

South Division Champion South Carolina vs. North Division Champion Cincinnati

Saturday, May 9 at 7:05 p.m.
Cincinnati at South Carolina

Monday, May 11 at 7:05 p.m.
Cincinnati at South Carolina

Wednesday, May 13 at 7:30 p.m.
South Carolina at Cincinnati

Friday, May 15 at 7:30 p.m.
South Carolina at Cincinnati

Saturday, May 16 at 7:30 p.m.
South Carolina at Cincinnati (If Necessary)

Monday, May 18 at 7:05 p.m.
Cincinnati at South Carolina (If Necessary)

Tuesday, May 19 at 7:05 p.m.
Cincinnati at South Carolina (If Necessary)

Click For Match-Up Sheet

American Conference – South Division Finals (Best of Seven)

#2 South Carolina Stingrays (42-23-6) vs. #1 Florida Everblades (49-17-5)
South Carolina Wins Series 4-2

Game 1 – SOUTH CAROLINA 2 at Florida 1 (OT)
Game 2 – South Carolina 3 at FLORIDA 4
Game 3 – Florida 3 at SOUTH CAROLINA 4
Game 4 – FLORIDA 3 at South Carolina 2 (2 OT)
Game 5 – Florida 3 at SOUTH CAROLINA 4
Game 6 – SOUTH CAROLINA 4 at Florida 3 (OT)

American Conference – South Division Semifinals (Best of Seven)

#3 Charlotte Checkers (34-29-8) vs. #2 South Carolina Stingrays (42-23-6)
South Carolina Wins Series 4-2

Game 1 – South Carolina 3 at CHARLOTTE 5
Game 2 – South Carolina 3 at CHARLOTTE 5
Game 3 – Charlotte 2 at SOUTH CAROLINA 4
Game 4 – Charlotte 1 at SOUTH CAROLINA 4
Game 5 – Charlotte 3 at SOUTH CAROLINA 8
Game 6 – SOUTH CAROLINA 4 at Charlotte 2

American Conference – North Division Finals (Best of Seven)

#3 Elmira Jackals (39-26-7) vs. #1 Cincinnati Cyclones (41-26-5)
Cincinnati Wins Series 4-0

Game 1 – Elmira 3 at CINCINNATI 8
Game 2 – Elmira 4 at CINCINNATI 5 (OT)
Game 3 – CINCINNATI 4 at Elmira 2
Game 4 – CINCINNATI 2 at Elmira 0

American Conference – North Division Semifinals (Best of Seven)

#1 Cincinnati Cyclones (41-26-5) vs. #4 Wheeling Nailers (36-28-8)
Cincinnati Wins Series 4-3

Game 1 – WHEELING 4 at Cincinnati 1
Game 2 – WHEELING 3 at Cincinnati 1
Game 3 – CINCINNATI 7 at Wheeling 3
Game 4 – CINCINNATI 4 at Wheeling 3
Game 5 – CINCINNATI 2 at Wheeling 1
Game 6 – WHEELING 6 at Cincinnati 0
Game 7 – Wheeling 1 at CINCINNATI 2 (2 OT)

Kelly Cup Champions

2008 – Cincinnati defeated Las Vegas, 4 games to 2
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

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