The pinnacle for the ECHL, the Kelly Cup is the Culmination of all the blood, sweat and grit of a hard fought season. The Alaska Aces took the 2014 Kelly Cup after defeating the Cincinnati Cyclones in six games with a 4-0 shutout victory. It was the first ever championship for Head Coach Rob Murray who took over the team three seasons ago. This marks the third time the Aces have captured the ECHL title, and the first for their Captain.
Leading the ECHL in scoring with 31 points, Aces Captain Nick Mazzolini led his team all season long, continuing the momentum into what would be the final game with the opening goal on the power play with just 22 seconds left in the first period. The captain’s goal would be all Alaska needed to win, as goaltender Gerald Coleman shut the door for the Cyclones offense, delivering a 23 save shutout performance. Coleman, with his second shutout of the Finals, became the first goaltender to win two Kelly Cup titles in ECHL history and both with Alaska.
The Aces, despite struggling in the series to score on the man advantage, capitalized on another power play in the second period, with forward Drew MacKenzie converting on a backdoor feed at the left circle. Alex Belzile added to the tally with a wrister to beat Cyclones goaltender Rob Madore through the five hole with a little more than four minutes left to play in regulation. With the score 3-0 in the Aces favor, Cincinnati pulled Madore for the extra attacker and Aces forward Turner Elson, netted yet another empty net goal in the playoffs to leave the final score 4-0.
Cyclones goaltender Rob Madore had an unbelievable playoff series, leading his team in between the pipes. He logged almost 1500 minutes, playing in every one of Cincinnati’s 24 playoff games. Game 6 was no different as Alaska poured on the pressure and Madore collected 41 saves for his team. His stellar play, with mind boggling butterfly saves and a reach that defies his 5′ 11″ frame rightly earned the Kelly Cup Playoff MVP title.
“It’s always nice to be recognized, but…it’s a testament to how well the guys played in front of me for the last two months,” said Rob Madore, who was also named third star of the game. “They have been awesome. Everyone down to a man has done their job above and beyond and that includes the guys that didn’t even see a lot of game action.”
For game highlights click here.
For a full recap along with post game interviews with the Kelly Cup Champion Aces, see Doyle Woody’s post from the Anchorage Daily News here.
The Alaska Aces will return home to Anchorage with the Cup to celebrate their victory. Festivities take place on Wednesday night at Sullivan Arena.