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Desharnais taking Cyclones to new heights

by Brian Compton

Cincinnati Cyclones forward David Desharnais, the
ECHL regular-season MVP, has 28 total points in 19 games so far in the ongoing Kelly Cup Playoffs.
Cincinnati Cyclones coach Chuck Weber said earlier this season that if forward David Desharnais was just a few inches taller, he'd be playing the National Hockey League.

The rookie may have taken another step toward the sport's grandest stage on Thursday night. The 5-foot-6 Montreal Canadiens prospect scored a goal and added three assists to lead Cincinnati to a 4-2 win against the Las Vegas Wranglers at Orleans Arena in Game 3 of the Kelly Cup Finals. With the win, the Cyclones grabbed a 2-1 series lead.

After piling up 106 points (29 goals, 77 assists) during the regular season, Desharnais has showed no signs of slowing down during the Kelly Cup Playoffs. In 19 postseason games, Desharnais -- the league's MVP -- has nine goals and 19 assists.

Cedrick Desjardins made 26 saves for the Cyclones and improved to 5-0 on the road this postseason. The teams split the first two games of the series at U.S. Bank Arena.

Cincinnati rallied for the victory in Game 3 after the Wranglers jumped to a 2-0 lead on goals from Brandon Kaleniecki and Tyler Mosienko. Jean-Michael Daoust, Matt Syroczynski and Olivier Latendresse scored for the Cyclones before the end of the second period, and Desharnais iced the victory with an empty-net tally. Desjardins stopped all 15 shots he faced in the third period.

The teams will meet again in Game 4 on Friday night at 7:05 Pacific time.

"They are a stingy team, a lot like us," Wranglers coach Glen Gulutzan told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "But when you have a 2-0 lead, you have to keep grinding the game down, because if you don't give anything away, you make them change their game somewhat. We didn't do that."

This marks the first time in 35 years that a Cincinnati pro hockey team has competed in its league finals. The last team to play for a championship was the 1973 Cincinnati Swords, who captured the American Hockey League's Calder Cup in five games against Nova Scotia.

Morrison Gets Extension -- The Victoria Salmon Kings rewarded coach Mark Morrison with a three-year contract extension this week. In his first full season as head coach, Morrison guided the Salmon Kings to a West Division title and their first playoff series win.

Morrison will also be the team's general manager, while Dan Belisle will be the vice president of hockey operations.

"To guide this team through the next three years is extremely exciting," Morrison said. "This contract provides the opportunity to carry on with the work that has been done over the last two seasons. It's nice that they had confidence in me and showed it with a three-year deal."

New Coach in Florida -- The Florida Everblades will name a new coach today, and Malcolm Cameron is believed to be the leading candidate.

Cameron, who guided the Texas Wildcatters to a 115-point season in 2007-08, would replace Gerry Fleming. The latter left the club in April to pursue opportunities in the American Hockey League. Cameron met with Florida brass earlier this week.

"I've thought things like that have gone well before, but I've been wrong in the past," Cameron told the Naples Daily News on Thursday. "I hope it went well. ... I said before that coaching the Florida Everblades would be a huge honor, and my position on that has not changed at all."
MacLean Retires -- South Carolina Stingrays forward Cail MacLean -- a solid two-way player and an ambassador for the ECHL -- announced his retirement. MacLean played nine of his 11 professional seasons in the ECHL, racking up 439 points in the process.

"I'm confident in my decision," MacLean said. "I've been very fortunate to have a long career, and I feel especially fortunate to have experienced a great year as my last one."

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