WARWICK, PA -- There’s no question in Chris Kanaly’s mind that his Philadelphia Revolution gave every scrap of energy, sweat and determination in the Eastern Hockey League Frozen Finals tournament and championship game.
The Revolution, however, did not come away with the championship. That was the goal, and that reality is what is going to sting Kanaly for much of the spring and summer.
“In a couple of weeks, I can sit back and reflect and be really proud of how far we’ve come and how the organization has grown into a contender,” Kanaly added. “It’s still raw. It was a tough loss to a good [New Hampshire Avalanche] team.”
There were many performances that stood out greatly to Kanaly from the playoffs, including the continued on-and off-ice leadership of captain Tino Alunni.
“He was the best captain we’ve had in Philadelphia,” said Kanaly. “He averaged almost six blocked shots per game in the playoffs, which is just insane.”
Alunni, a ’97 from Forty Fort, Pa., was a two-year Revolution who saw his points total increase from five points in 43 games last season to 40 points in 49 contests this year. He has committed to Lebanon Valley College, a NCAA Division 3 institution.
“That’s going to be great for Tino. They just had their best year out of the last 15, so he’ll give them an immediate spark and leadership,” Kanaly said. “His younger brother [Dominic] is actually committed to play football there, as well.”
On the defense, Hayden Ford was another player who saw a huge jump in both his responsibilities and his production. Ford has committed to Buffalo State University.
“He was our most steady defensive defenseman, the best defensive defenseman in the league,” Kanaly added. “He was a plus-52 and he averaged almost a point per game [39 in 50]. You couldn’t ask for a better kid to represent your program. We’re going to miss him dearly here. He’ll do a great job at a nationally ranked Buffalo State program.”
Other players, like Justin Meers (five goals in six playoff games), Brian Lange (seven points) and Martin Kapoian (six points) also stood out for their “grind-it-out game that manufactures points.”
Travis Pelke was also praised for his back-to-back shutouts in the Frozen Finals round robin.
To Kanaly, none of these performances would have been possible without the guidance of coaches Jon Rogger and Joe Matiskiel.
“They were unbelievable for the Revolution,” Kanaly added. “They’re the reason we had success.”