ECHL Finals Showcase Alums
A year ago, as Quinnipiac senior defensemen, Mike Dalhuisen and Zach Davies came within a game of a national championship.
Now the duo will face off in a best-of-seven series, with one of them assured of winning the Kelly Cup as the ECHL champions in their first pro season.
Dalhuisen and Davies are two of more than two dozen former college players who have played for the Cincinnati Cyclones and Alaska Aces, respectively, this postseason. The 26 former NCAA players on the two rosters represent 20 schools, with Quinnipiac, Ferris State (Brendan Connolly and Brett Wysopal) and Vermont (Drew MacKenzie and Rob Madore) each assured of a player on the winning team. Minnesota (Josh Birkholz and Zach Budish), Ohio State (Devon Krogh and Chris Reed) and Robert Morris (Andrew Blazek and Trevor Lewis) each have a pair of representatives on the Cyclones.
The series faces off Friday in Anchorage, where Providence alum Nick Mazzolini has led the Aces - and the entire ECHL - with 27 points in 15 playoff games. The Aces' top five scorers all played college hockey, with Mazzolini followed by Evan Trupp (North Dakota), John Ramage (Wisconsin), Connolly (Ferris State) and Kane Lafranchise (Alaska Anchorage).
Cincinnati boasts Vermont alum Madore in net, who has earned all 12 of the team's playoff wins to this point. The Cyclones have dressed 15 former college players in the playoffs, including three - Joe Basaraba (Minnesota Duluth), Blazek (Robert Morris) and Matt Tinordi (Rensselaer) - who played college hockey this season.
Both coaching staffs in the final have college ties as well. Cincinnati is led by first-year head coach Ben Simon, who starred at Notre Dame and is assisted by St. Lawrence alum Matt MacDonald. Alaska's assistant coach is Louis Mass, who played at Bowling Green.
Kelly Cup Finals Schedule
Game 1: Fri., May 30, at Alaska
Game 2: Sat., May 31, at Alaska
Game 3: Mon., June 2, at Alaska
Game 4: Fri., June 6, at Cincinnati
Game 5: Sat., June 7, at Cincinnati*
Game 6: Mon., June 9, at Cincinnati*
Game 7: Wed., June 11, at Alaska*
* If necessary
Former College Players on Each Team
|Brendan Connolly||Ferris State|
|Kane Lafranchise||Alaska Anchorage|
|Tom Mele||American International|
|Ross Ring-Jarvi||Gustavus Adolphus|
|Andy Taranto||Alaska Fairbanks|
|Evan Trupp||North Dakota|
|Barry Almeida||Boston College|
|Joe Basaraba||Minnesota Duluth|
|Andrew Blazek||Robert Morris|
|Dan Eves||Lake Superior State|
|Devon Krogh||Ohio State|
|Trevor Lewis||Robert Morris|
|Wade Megan||Boston University|
|Brian Nugent||Northern Michigan|
|Chris Reed||Ohio State|
|Brett Wysopal||Ferris State|
Includes all players who have seen action in the playoffs