By Mark Gokavi
Dayton Daily News
FAIRBORN, Ohio — His brother has tasted champagne out of the Stanley Cup. Dayton’s Joe Cullen hopes to taste ultimate victory in the Kelly Cup playoffs.
Cullen did his part Sunday at the Nutter Center, getting assists on two goals by linemate Brent Walton. The Bombers 3-1 victory over Florida tied the ECHL American Conference Finals at two games apiece.
If the Bombers win two of the next three, they’ll get a shot at the Kelly Cup.
Cullen’s brother, Matt, won a Stanley Cup last season with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes. As is tradition, team members get to spend some time with the oldest tournament trophy in North American pro sports.
“He actually got it for two days. It was kind of nice,” Cullen said. “He has a big charity event so he brought it to that. It was a big hit. It helped raise a lot of money, so it was good. He’s the hometown hero up there.”
“Up there” is Moorhead, Minn. The charity is a children’s foundation in the Moorhead/Fargo, N.D. area.
The night before the event, the Cullen boys spent some time with the silver chalice.
“It’s kind of surreal,” Cullen said. “You see it on TV all the time and you look at it, but you don’t really know it’s all about. But then you’re actually there and can see it and touch it.”
His brother won’t get another day with the Cup this summer. Matt signed with the New York Rangers last offseason. The Rangers were eliminated by the Buffalo Sabres last round. But the brothers will always have the memory.
“It’s about 40 pounds, it’s pretty heavy,” Cullen said. “And then we had a few drinks out it and that doesn’t hurt, either. It was a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”