The end of the NHL regular season always has elements of mayhem involved. Teams frenetically try to make last minute pushes into the playoffs, while others, like the Panthers, focus on the upcoming NHL Draft. You have fan bases ecstatic over ending playoff droughts (ahem..Toronto..) while other fan bases face the crushing reality that their team may not qualify this year (c’mon Detroit it has to end some time).
For the moment I want to put all of the NHL drama on hold and take a quick look at how the Florida Panthers’ minor league affiliates are finishing up their years. In the AHL, the San Antonio Rampage achieved the rare feat of going winless in the month of April. San Antonio finished out their season on an 11 game losing streak, needless to say, they did not qualify for the AHL playoffs. (Not that anyone in San Antonio noticed because MANU IS BACK BABY!!) The Rampage finished with 67 points and a 29-38-2-7 record. They did however manage to stay out of the AHL basement, finishing second to last, three points ahead of the Hamilton Bulldogs.
Jon Rheault led the Rampage with 48 points in 67 games (20 goals, 28 assists). Its indicative of the Rampages’ season that seven of their top 12 scorers on the year finished with the Panthers. Thats like taking away a teams top two forward lines, which when you think about it that way makes some of San Antonio’s struggles understandable.
Its always sunnier in Cincinnati as the Cyclones have advanced to the second from of the ECHL East Conference playoffs. The Cyclones are currently locked in a tight battle against the Gwinnett Gladiators with the series tied at one game apiece. The Cyclones took game one 3-2 but were shut out in game two 3-0. The series comes to Cincinnati for the first time tonight with game three set to start at 7:30.
Thats all from the minors for now, you can get back to your NHL playoff races.