CYCLONES WIN SIX STRAIGHT:
The Carolina Hurricanes’ International Hockey League affiliate, the Cincinnati Cyclones, have now won six straight games to start 2001 and are 13-1-1 in their last 15 games. The Cyclones record is now 23-13-3, good for 2nd place in the IHL's Eastern Conference behind the first place Grand Rapids Griffins.
RUCINSKI AND COLE WIN MONTHLY IHL AWARDS:
Hurricanes prospects Mike Rucinski and Erik Cole each earned IHL honors in the month of December. Rucinski was named as the Sherwood/IHL Defenseman of the Month, while Cole was named as the Wittnauer/IHL Rookie of the Month. Rucinski scored a goal and added four assists for five points and was a +12 for December, while Cole registered 13 points (6g, 7a) in 16 games in December and was +8. Both played in all 15 games in December and helped the Cyclones to their winningest month with a 12-2-1 record. Rucinski, 25, was drafted by the Hurricanes in the ninth round of the 1995 NHL Entry Draft and has played in 25 games with the Hurricanes. Cole, 22, is in his first professional season after completing his collegiate career at Clarkson.
PELLETIER AND KOEHLER RETURN TO LINEUP ON SAME NIGHT:
Carolina Hurricanes prospects Jean-Marc Pelletier and Greg Koehler and each returned to the Cincinnati lineup on Saturday night in the Cyclones 3-2 shootout win over Detroit. Koehler was reassigned by the Carolina Hurricanes on January 5, after making his NHL debut, Dec. 29 at Columbus. Pelletier was activated off the Injured Reserve list on December 28th, but didn't start until Saturday night. Pelletier stopped 16 of 18 Viper shots in regulation, and 4 out of 5 shootout attempts. Pelletier was acquired by the Hurricanes along with Rod Brind’Amour and a second-round pick in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft in exchange for Keith Primeau and a fifth round pick on January 23, 2000. Injuries have kept him out much of the season, but Pelletier has notched a 6-4 record with a goals against average of 2.88 and a save percentage of .908 this season.
CYCLONES NOMINATED FOR WEEKLY AWARDS:
Hurricanes prospects nominated for weekly IHL awards were:
- Jean-Marc Pelletier for Goaltender of the Week with a 1-0-0 record, a 2.00 G.A.A and a .888 save percentage
- Jaroslav Svoboda, 1998 Eighth Round Hurricanes pick, for Rookie of the Week with the winning shootout goal on Saturday night at Detroit
In the System
Reports on other Hurricanes draftees playing in the minor leagues, junior hockey, and college ranks:
- Reggie Berg, signed as a free agent by the Hurricanes in the off-season, became the first Hurricanes prospect to play for the Lowell Lock Monsters of the American Hockey League when he was recalled by Lowell in December. Berg, who had recorded 27 points (12g, 15a) with the Florida Everblades of the ECHL, has three points (0g, 3a) in four games with Lowell. Next season, Lowell will serve as the top minor league affiliate for the Hurricanes.
- Hurricanes draftees Tomas Kurka, Jared Newman and Damian Surma have the Plymouth Whalers on top of the standings in the West Division of the Ontario Hockey League, one of the top junior hockey Leagues. Surma, a sixth round draft pick in 1999 from Lincoln Park, MI, has 30 points (15g, 15a) in 25 games for Plymouth. Kurka and Newman are back in the lineup for Plymouth after missing part of the year with injuries. Kurka, a native of the Czech Republic taken in the second round of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, has 23 points (8g, 15a) in 17 games played for Plymouth. Newman, a defenseman from Detroit taken in the fourth round of the 2000 Draft, has three points (1g, 2a) through 11 games played.
- Surma also played for the United States in the World Junior Championships in Moscow this past month, along with Hurricanes draftees Justin Forrest and Craig Kowalski. Surma had four points (2g, 2a) in four games for the United States as the USA placed fifth in the tournament. Forrest, who plays college hockey at Boston College, had a goal and an assist for the USA during the tournament. Kowalski backed up Rick DiPietro, the number one overall draft pick in 2000 (NY Islanders), for most of the tournament, but did get the start for Team USA against the eventual gold-medal winning Czech Republic team. Kowalski, who plays his collegiate hockey at Northern Michigan, made 18 saves in a 4-2 loss.
- In the Western Hockey League for Canadian junior hockey, Hurricanes draftee Brett Lysak (1999 Draft, second round, 49th overall) has continued his strong final season of amateur hockey. Lysak leads Regina in goals (21), and points (48) and is second in assists (27) in 37 games played for the Pats, who are in second place in the East Division of the WHL.
- In the collegiate ranks, 2000 Hurricanes draft pick Ryan Bayda continues to shine for the defending national champion Fighting Sioux of North Dakota. The third round draft pick from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, is sixth in the nation in scoring with 36 points (13g, 23a) in 22 games for North Dakota. Bayda is also ranked second in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association in points behind teammate Jeff Panzer.
Carolina Hurricanes Media Relations Assistant Mike Sundheim contributed to this report.