The Carolina Hurricanes’ top minor league affiliate Cincinnati Cyclones of the International Hockey League earned six points in four road games last week. Hurricanes prospects Brian Felsner, Nikos Tselios and Jeff Heerema each earned IHL weekly honors for their contributions to the Cyclones successful week.
Felsner scored four goals and earned an assist against Manitoba on Friday night to gain the Lifesavers IHL Player of the Week award. Felsner has 22 goals and 31 assists this season and ranks second among all Cyclones with 53 points.
Tselios, the Hurricanes first pick in the 1997 National Hockey League Entry Draft, was named the Sherwood IHL Defenseman of the Week. Tselios had two goals, three assists and a plus-7 plus/minus ranking in the Cyclones four games. His plus-7 ranking also won him the American Specialty Plus/Minus Player of the Week award.
Jeff Heerema was named Wittnauer IHL Rookie of the Week with three goals, two assists and a plus-3 ranking.
6 OF 8 POSSIBLE POINTS ON NORTH-SOUTH SWING:
The Cyclones recent 4-game road swing began in Winnipeg, Manitoba and ended in Orlando, Florida. In Manitoba, the Cyclones dropped a hard-fought Wednesday night game against the Moose 5-4, then lost another heart-breaker 7 to 6 in the shootout on Friday night. The club flew to Minneapolis at 7:00 AM the next morning, connected to Florida then beat the Orlando Solar Bears 4-0 at the TD Waterhouse Centre in Orlando that evening. After a good night's sleep, the Cyclones beat the Solar Bears again, 4-3 on Sunday evening. The sweep in Orlando gave the Cyclones a record of 2-0-2, and 6 out of a possible 8 points on the trip.
MANITOBA 5, CYCLONES 4 IN O.T. ON WEDNESDAY:
Byron Ritchie and Jeff Heerema recorded two goals each, but the Manitoba Moose came from behind and eventually beat the Cyclones 5-4 in overtime, at the Winnipeg Arena on Wednesday night. Five different Moose players scored, including Brett Hauer's overtime game-winning blast as the Moose took a 5-4 decision. Hauer's goal came while the Moose were on a power play in the overtime, with the Moose owning a 4 against 3 advantage. It was the third overtime loss of the season for the Cyclones, whose record for February, 2001 finished at 5-8-1.
CYCLONES CAN'T HOLD OFF CHARGING MOOSE SATURDAY NIGHT:
Brian Felsner's career night was spoiled at the Winnipeg Arena as the Manitoba Moose erased a 3-goal deficit in the third period and came back to edge the Cyclones 7-6 in the shootout. Felsner scored 4 goals and 1 assist, while Nik Tselios and Jeff Heerema also tallied in a game that saw the lead change hands 4 different times. Despite both extra-session losses, the Cyclones earned 2 out of a possible 4 points in the two games in Winnipeg.
AFTER TRAVELING ALL DAY, PETRUK BLANKS "O"-BEARS SATURDAY EVE:
Travelling for the better part of the day then playing a hockey game doesn't seem to bother the Cyclones. After dropping a hard-fought 7-6 shootout decision to Manitoba on Friday night in Winnipeg, Saturday began with a 7:00 AM flight. Several connections later, the club made it to Orlando, Florida, where Cyclones goaltender Randy Petruk shook off jet-lag and stopped em' all in a 4-0 Cyclones win in Orlando at the TD Waterhouse Centre. Petruk turned away 44 Solar Bear shots in the game, while Cyclones rookie right winger Jeff Heerema scored a pair of goals in the contest. Left wing Brad Defauw and defenseman Nik Tselios added single tallies in the win which snapped a 6-game winless streak where the Cyclones went 0-4-2.
CYCLONES COMPLETE SWEEP OF SOLAR BEARS ON SUNDAY:
Stefan Ustorf scored two goals while Greg Koehler and Byron Ritchie added single scores helping the Cyclones defeat the Solar Bears 4-3 in Orlando. Goaltender Randy Petruk was back in net again and was brilliant late in the hockey game, stopping late third period shots and a potential game-tying penalty shot by Herbert Vasiljevs with 6 seconds to play in regulation time. The 4-3 win gave the Cyclones a sweep of the 2-game series with the Solar Bears and a 2000-2001 final record of 4-5-1 in the 10 games vs Orlando. Defenseman Niklas Wallin re-joined the Cyclones for the weekend games in Orlando after being reassigned by the Carolina Hurricanes.
CYCLONES OPEN 6-GAME HOMESTAND ON WEDNESDAY NIGHT VS KC:
The Cyclones will play their next 6 games on Firstar Center ice, equalling the longest homestand of the season. The opponents; Kansas City (twice), Manitoba, Cleveland, Detroit and Houston. The Cyclones travel to Salt Lake City, Utah, to play the Grizzlies March 23rd and 24th. The Cyclones had a 6-game homestand in November.
PETRUK NOMINATED, BUT FINISHES BEHIND FORMER CYCLONE:
Cyclones goaltender Randy Petruk was nominated as IHL Goaltender of the Week with a record of 2-0-0, a goals against average of 1.50 and a save percentage of .946. But he was edged out by former Cyclones goalie Corey Schwab, now of the Kansas City Blades.
FEBRUARY OVER; GOOD RIDDANCE! :
Before the month of February began, the Cyclones were a fairly healthy hockey club, in 2nd place in the IHL's Eastern Conference. At months end, the Cyclones had recorded a record of 5-8-1 for February and had an overall mark of 33-24-6. The Cyclones also lost 4 key players due to injury during the month. 3 of the 4 players (Stefan Ustorf, Brian Felsner and Greg Kuznik) made it back into the lineup, but the 4th (Cyclones rookie right winger Erik Cole) is out of the lineup until March 9th at the earliest. In the month of February, the Cyclones played 14 games in 28 days, but went through a brutal stretch of 5 games in 6 nights and 8 games in 11 days all tolled.
CYCLONES NOMINATED FOR FEBRUARY MONTHLY AWARDS:
Byron Ritchie,Brad Defauw , Mike Rucinski and Tyler Moss, were nominated for IHL awards for the month of February. Ritchie, who was nominated for IHL Player of the Month, recorded 9 goals with 4 assists for 13 points in 14 games. Defauw scored 3 goals, added 7 assists for 10 points and finished even in 14 games, to be nominated for the IHL Rookie of the Month Award. Rucinski, who played in all 14 games in February, recorded 3 assists, and was nominated as IHL Defenseman of the Month. Rucinski won the award in December of 2000. Tyler Moss was nominated for the IHL Goaltender of the Month award with a record of 1-1-0, a goals against average of 2.00 and a save percentage of .926. Awards for the month of February will be announced by the IHL office on March 6th.
FORMER CYCLONE SHANE WILLIS IS NHL ROOKIE OF THE MONTH:
Former Cyclones right winger Shane Willis was named as the NHL Rookie of the Month for February 2001. Willis recorded 7 goals, with 3 assists for 10 points in 12 games with the Canes. Willis is the first former Cyclones player to win the award. Current Cyclones Captain Gilbert Dionne won the award while playing for the Montreal Canadiens in the 1991-92 season. Willis (at this writing) now leads all NHL rookies in goals with 18, power play goals with 8, game winning goals with 5 and is currently 2nd in scoring with 37 points (18 goals, 19 assists).
TSELIOS A TRUE RINK RAT:
With no ice available at the Winnipeg Arena on Thursday afternoon, the Cyclones had to use a local Winnipeg ice rink to practice. Like many Canadian recreational complexes, the covered rink was adjoined by an outside surface. Cyclones defenseman Nik Tselios spied the pond as the team bus pulled up to the facility and couldn't resist the temptation to try it out. So after a brisk workout inside, Tselios, in full Cyclones gear, walked down a corridor, through a set of double doors and then several yards of snow to get to the outdoor surface. With the unusually warm Manitoba sun beating down on him, Tselios took several turns on the uncut surface, then reported, "it's kinda soft, but it's OK." Tselios, who grew up in Chicago, last skated on outdoor ice while in Montreal in the early 1990's with cousin Chris. The kid-like ritual must have brought good luck, as Tselios recorded the Cyclones 1st goal the following night against the Moose.
PRACTICES THIS WEEK:
The Cyclones will have Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday morning practices this week. Wednesday (March 7th) the Cyclones will have a morning skate at 10:00 AM (E.S.T.)at Firstar Center, prior to the game that evening against the Kansas City Blades. The Cyclones will also have a morning skate on Friday at 10:00 AM, prior to their game against the Kansas City Blades at Firstar Center later that same evening.
PELLETIER TO PARLAY-VOUZ WITH HIGH SCHOOL FRENCH CLUB:
Cyclones goaltender Jean-Marc Pelletier will visit with 50 high school students at the Bishop Brossart High School French Club on Monday, March 12th at 1PM. Pelletier grew up in the Canadian province of Quebec and speaks fluent English, but speak French is his primary language.
BEACON ORTHAEOPEDIC INJURY AND UPDATE REPORT:
Cyclones Athletic Trainer Nick Kenney is happy to report that this season has been about normal (as of 3/5/01) for man-games lost due to injury. Kenney, who along with partner and Equipment Manager Mark Mills of the Cyclones training staff, works an untold number of hours to keep the Cyclones ready to compete. A rough estimate of how many games Cyclones players have lost due to injury, 65. A rough estimate of Kenney's value to the organization for keeping the Cyclones players healthy and ready to play....priceless!
Friday, March 9th the Cyclones will play the Kansas City Blades at Firstar Center, and the first 3,000 fans through the turnstiles will receive a free water bottle, courtesy of United Dairy Farmers and Dasani Water. On St. Patrick's Day (March 17th) when the Cyclones host the Detroit Vipers, the first 3,000 fans will receive free comemorative St. Patrick's Day hats. Other promotions are planned for March and April.
GAMES ON HOMER & WWW.CYCLONESHOCKEY.COM, SPORTSJUICE.COM:
The Cyclones game on Wednesday night against the Kansas City Blades will be broadcast on 1360-Homer, "The Sports Animal," and www.cycloneshockey.com, beginning at 7:15pm. The Friday night game against Kansas City and the Sunday evening game against the Manitoba Moose will be broadcast on www.cycloneshockey.com and Sportsjuice.com. The Friday night game could also be broadcast on 1360-Homer, "The Sports Animal," as well, depending on Miami basketball results.
SPECIAL CYCLONES TALK:
Cyclones Talk, a show devoted to the Cincinnati Cyclones hockey team moves into its eleventh season. The show, runs from 7-8 p.m. Monday nights at Jillian's, in Covington, Kentucky. The next show is set for Monday, March 5th. Cyclones Captain Gilbert Dionne is the scheduled guest.
The Cincinnati Cyclones Official Internet Web Site can be found at www.cycloneshockey.com. The new website contains interactive features, including an all-new opening . The website also has a live broadcast feature where fans can catch Cyclones play-by-play action world-wide. E-mail can also be sent to the Cyclones Offices at: CyclonesPR@aol.com. The Cyclones web site was constructed by I-Jireh, a Cincinnati based internet consulting group, www.jireh.com.
For fans who can't wait for the morning paper to find out how the Cyclones did, there is the Cyclones Scoreline. Fans can get the score updates by contacting the Cyclones offices at 421-PUCK, extention 333. This service is updated after every Cyclones game.