Who said there are no playoffs for Carolina hockey? Do the names Cedric McNicoll, Justin Shugg, and Joe Sova ring a bell? Of course they do, because they have a Hurricanes contract. How about Matt Beca, Ryan Donald, or John Muse? Yep, you know them too as they have a contract with the Charlotte Checkers.
The ECHL Kelly Cup Finals kick-off tonight in Las Vegas. The Western Conference champions, Las Vegas Wranglers, take on our southern cousins and Eastern Conference winners, Florida Everblades Monday evening at 7:05 PT.
The Blades ended their season with an impressive 39-26-7 record and 85 points. The Wranglers were equally talented with a 42-22-8 record and 92 points. Both organizations are Kelly Cup virgins. The trophy is named after Patrick J. Kelly, one of the founding fathers of the ECHL and inaugural Hall of Fame inductee (2008).
Making Caniacs Proud
Cedric McNicoll, is tied with Eric Lampe of Las Vegas in most points with 16. In 13 games, McNicoll boasts 3 goals and 13 helpers. Six of those assists were on the power play. He is also sitting pretty with a plus/minus rating +12. The center performed in 17 Checkers games this season to snag a goal and 2 assists. Over 32 regular season games with the Blades, he had 15 goals and 15 assists.
Justin Shugg is leading rookies in both clubs in power play goals (2). Shugg played 13 games in Charlotte this season and earned 4 points. In 11 regular season games for the Blades, he had 4 goals and 8 assists.
Who can forget John Muse’s time in Charlotte? He went 10-3-2, 1.81 GAA, and .941 SV% in 15 games. In 25 Blades’ games, he recorded 2.42 goals against average and a .920 save percentage.
Fun Cup Facts
In 1996, the Charlotte Checkers had 8 goals in Game 3 which is the most goals scored by one team in the Kelly Cup Finals. That game also marked the second most assists with 13.
The most shots on goal by both teams occurred in 1990 in Game 4 between Greensboro and Winston-Salem with 154. Split equally down the middle too, 67 shots a piece.
The Greensboro Monarchs also take the award for most penalty minutes with 130 during Game 2 in the 1990 Kelly Cup Finals.