Even though they’re ranked No. 1 in the ECHL North Division, I wasn’t impressed with the Cyclones. Their strength is their size: These guys are huge and ridiculously aggressive.
I’m happy to report that Jason Smith was back in goal for Trenton tonight. He let in only one goal during the first period, keeping out six others.
The first 20 minutes were rather uneventful, except for me arriving late thanks to the obnoxious stadium traffic. I have never used my horn as much as I have in the past two days.
Speaking of horns, the second period was a fury of passing, checking and roughing, but no scoring.
Though, No. 8 Matt Cohen did shoot so hard at one point that he broke his stick in two.
Cincinnati goalie Cody Rudowsky was impenetrable, allowing not one of the three more attempts in.
No. 5 Ryan Gunderson made quite an effort, though. He slipped and flew into the goal just after Colin Pepperall’s breakway and miss. It was pretty smooth and he seriously went flying, taking the posts with him.
The third period really turned the game around.
Smith had some crafty saves and the defense did a cool job of keeping the puck out of Trenton territory.
No. 27 Eric Castonguay had a fantastic goal at 6:10, assisted by Jim Henkel and Stephen Wood, leveling the ice at 1-1.
This was followed less than two minutes later by a second Devil goal, scored by No. 14, Chris Poli, assisted by Gunderson and Cohen.
The stadium roared. I swear, I looked down for a second and I missed it. I did catch some fist-pumping and “manly” hugging after the fact.
The Devils held the Cyclones at bay for the rest of the third period, clenching the win and ending the season on the best possible note.
The three Stars of the Game were: Jason Smith, Chris Poli and Eric Castonguay.
Overall, there was such energy in Sovereign Bank Arena tonight, the way a sporting event should be.
While the Devils lost, their fans were showered with gifts.
Despite not making the playoffs, it paid to be a Devils fan tonight.
And they should be proud. They’re fans of an amazing hometown team with great potential.
The majority of these guys were fresh out of college this year: It was quite the rookie team Trenton put together. I saw some brilliant moments and I saw some sloppy hockey. But mostly I saw a whole lot of heart.
I will be keeping up with any trades or changes to the team over the summer. So, until next season, check back for my coverage of tennis and FOOTBALL.
(Thank GOD for football season.)
To check out highlights from Trenton’s season or to purchase season tickets, visit their Web site.
PHOTO: Trenton goalie Jason Smith was fierce tonight, denying 24 of Cincinnati’s 25 shots on goal. (Melissa L. Gaffney)