Monday, April 06, 2009

Good Momentum Into The Playoffs

This past weekend was an excellent end of the regular season, sending the Cyclones into the playoffs with momentum. Coming from behind on Friday night showed their spirit and determination to prevail in battle; and crushing the Chiefs on Saturday showed they can put away an opponent.

Friday's game was virtually the same as an elimination game in a playoff series. Johnstown had to win to have a chance of getting in the playoffs. Their backs were against the wall. They had to win. The Cyclones, on the other hand, were playing for standing and home ice advantage in the playoffs but that is not the same as facing elimination.

After so many Friday loss/Saturday win weekends this season, it was awesome to see that they have the grit and determination to stay in the game.

Saturday night, 11, 417 in attendance. A regular season record. Awesome. Both nights I really felt that playoff intensity that we hadn't really had since last year. Frankly, this season has been fairly mellow. That's OK and to be expected, coming of the natural high of a championship, only returning 7 players, then losing most of them, a certain degree of lame-ness is to be expected. I hate to use the word lame because of the negative connotation, but if you've been to games you know what I mean.

It was great to feel that electricity in the air - high voltage Cyclones hockey.

In a way, I'm feeling better about this team's playoff chances than I was at this time last year. Too many teams win the regular season title and then choke in the playoffs. How many times have the St. Louis Blues won the President's Trophy and then been sent home like crying children early in the playoffs? Things came so easy for last year's team, I worried that they had not learned how to deal with adversity well enough for a deep playoff run.

Clearly they did. Excellent leadership, personal responsibility, and a drive to win took them all the way to the cup. The road for the 2008-09 Cyclones definitely travels a different path. What these guys lack in raw talent they make up for in determination and a blue-collar work ethic; and obviously the leadership team is still in place. Actually I think the leadership this year is stronger with Barret Ehgoetz as the Captain taking the leadership role out onto the ice.

Have faith, Cyclones fans. Our chances are strong.

One win at a time, 16 times, and the Kelly Cup stays in Cincinnati.

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