– The Brabham Cup curse has struck again. The Toledo Walleye beat the Cincinnati Cyclones last night to advance to the Western Conference finals in the Kelly Cup playoffs. Toledo won the series 4-1. Cincinnati follows a long list of teams that have won the regular season championship and failed to win the Kelly/Riley Cup. The Cyclones won the Brabham Cup this season with 110 points which was four more points than South Division leader Florida, 16 more points than North Division leader Newfoundland and 20 more points than Mountain Division leader Tulsa. In the 31 year history of the ECHL only three teams have won the Brabham Cup and gone on to win the Kelly/Riley Cup. Alaska did it three times (2014, 2011, 2006), Cincinnati did it in 2008 and South Carolina in 1997. It has to be disappointing to be so dominating in the regular season and go out in the second round of the playoffs losing the series 4-1. The Cyclones lost only two games in regulation at home during the entire regular season but went 0-2 in the playoffs against Toledo. Congrats to Toledo who will now take on the winner of the Tulsa vs Idaho series for the Western Conference championship. Tulsa leads in that series 3-2 with game six in Tulsa tonight. If the series goes to a game seven it will be in Tulsa on Tuesday night.
– In the Eastern Conference the Florida Everblades have advanced and will play the winner of Newfoundland vs Manchester in the conference finals. Newfoundland leads the series 3-2 and has game six (Monday night) and game seven if necessary (Tuesday night) at home.
– Steve Martinson is in Des Moines, Iowa helping out the Wild who are still in the AHL playoffs. Martinson got a call last week to see if he would help out by conducting practice with the “Black Aces” for the Wild. When an NHL or AHL team makes the playoffs they will expand the roster by calling up players from their affiliates. According to the AHL website the Iowa Wild roster is at 32 players (3 goalies, 10 defensemen, 18 forwards). Typically the Black Aces do not see any playoff action. They do not practice with the team and do not travel on road games. They participate in a separate practice session reserved for extra skaters. The assignment as a Black Ace requires hard work and focus even though the opportunity to play is remote, barring injuries. Coach Martinson will be familiar with many of the “Black Aces” because of their time in Allen this season. The group includes C.J. Motte, Riley Bourbonnais, Dante Salituro, Nick Boka and Jack Sadek. Iowa is playing Chicago in the second round of the Calder Cup playoffs and trails in the best of seven series 0-2. The next three games are in Iowa.
– The schedule for next season is under going the final revisions and ECHL teams have been given permission to release their home schedules on Monday (May 6). This will be done on a team by team basis so I would expect they will be announced by different teams on different dates. Some teams have already put out on social media the announcement will be made on Monday. The entire ECHL schedule will not be released until later. I would expect the Allen home schedule will be released in the next couple of days.
– The PHPA (Professional Hockey Players Association) recently did a profile on Allen’s player representative the last two season, Joel Chouinard. The PHPA asks the retiring captain everything from how he became the player rep for Allen to his junior days to being drafted in the NHL to becoming a dad to his hidden talents and much more. You can check it out here: https://www.phpa.com/news/1494
– Former Allen forward Bryan Moore was a major factor in Toledo’s win over Cincinnati in the Central Division finals. Moore had two goals in game five and was the #2 star of the game. He followed that up with scoring the game winning goal in game six and being selected the #1 star. Another former Allen player, defenseman Matt Register, had a goal and three assists in the five game series against Cincinnati.
– I am sure many of you remember Brooklyn Rivera who was one of the Ice Angels for several years and also worked in the front office for the Americans. Brooklyn has gone on to great things as a business owner and mom. She was recently selected as Mrs. McKinney and last night competed in the finals of the Mrs. Texas Pageant and finished as the 1st runner-up. Congrats to Brooklyn, her husband Eddie and their young family on mom finishing second in the Mrs. Texas Pageant. She also won the award won for best interview and most photogenic.
– If you are not on social media you may have missed this story about former Allen defenseman Rick Pinkston having to retire after a serious infection as a result of something hockey players refer to as “Bauer Bump” which is a bony growth that develops on the back of the heel. Here is the story: https://www.fifetoday.co.uk/sport/other-sport/fife-flyers-defenceman-rick-pinkston-retires-from-playing-after-hospital-scare-1-4917650
DID YOU KNOW: In the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs all four division champions (Nashville, Calgary, Tampa Bay and Washington) lost in the first round and all four wild card teams are still alive. In the ECHL all four division champions (Newfoundland, Florida, Cincinnati, Tulsa) won their first round series and the bottom six teams were eliminated in the first round. While Cincinnati was eliminated last night the other three division champions have either already advanced (Florida) or are leading their second round series 3-2 with two games remaining at home. Anything can and does happen in the Stanley Cup playoffs but in the ECHL Kelly Cup playoffs the champion always comes from one of the top regular season teams. Unless Manchester or Idaho pull an upset by winning two games on the road the final four in the Kelly Cup playoffs will be teams rank #2, #3, #4 and #5 in the regular season.