Cyclones Game Notes: vs. Wichita
Overview: The Cyclones enter the finale of their four-game homestand winners of five in a row, and still in a tie for the third spot in the ECHL's Central Division. Cincinnati's offense has been on display during their five-game winning streak, outscoring the opposition, 24-10, in that span.
Saturday Night Recap: The Cincinnati Cyclones (27-18-2-0) defeated the Wichita Thunder, 5-4 in overtime, on Saturday night. Forward Justin Danforth netted a pair of goals, including the game-winner in overtime, and dished out two assists, while forwards Alex Kile, Justin Vaive, and Daniel Muzito-Bagenda chipped in lone tallies for Cincinnati. Forward Jesse Schultz reached a major career milestone in the win as well, earning his 800th professional point as a part of a three-assist night. The Cyclones were outshot, 30-18 on the evening, with goaltender Jason Kasdorf stopping 26 in the win.
Friday Night Recap: The Cincinnati Cyclones (26-18-2-0) took down the Tulsa Oilers, 5-2, on Friday night. Forwards Alex Kile and Justin Vaive each had a pair of goals while defenseman Chris Leone chipped in one for the Cyclones, who extend their winning streak to four games. The Cyclones were outshot, 40-30 on the night, with goaltender Jonas Johansson stopping 38 in the win.
Thursday Night Recap: The Cincinnati Cyclones (25-18-2-0) rallied from a 2-0 deficit to beat the Kansas City Mavericks, 5-2, on Thursday night. Defenseman and team captain Eric Knodel led the way with a pair of goals, while defenseman Brycen Martin and forwards Justin Danforth and Brandon McNally added lone tallies for the Cyclones who have won three straight. The Cyclones outshot the Mavericks, 31-25 on the evening, with goaltender Jason Kasdorf stopping 23 in the win.
Previewing Wichita: The Thunder enter Tuesday night having dropped five straight games and seven of their last eight games, and are coming off of an 1-0 loss at the hands of the Toledo Walleye on Tuesday night. They currently hold down the fourth and final payoff spot in the Mountain Division, and are just two points back of third. The Thunder currently rank eighth in the ECHL with 3.33 goals per game, and are one of the top teams when playing with the lead, posting a 16-2-0-0 record when leading after the first, and 19-2-0-0 when leading after 40 minutes of play. They are led offensively by forward Ralph Cuddemi who has totaled 35 points (17g, 18a) through 45 games this season. He is followed by forwards Mark MacMillan (16g, 18a) and Kevin Dufour (15g, 17a) round out the top three. In goal, Shane Starrett has posted a 14-8-3-0 record along with a 2.85 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage.
Inside the Series: This will be the finale of a two-game season series between the 'Clones and Thunder this season, with Cincinnati winning the first matchup on Saturday night. Overall, the Cyclones have won four of the five all-time meetings.
Next Game Preview: Cincinnati heads to Reading on Friday night to battle the Royals in the finale of a two-game series. The Cyclones beat the Royals in the first game back in late November.
Achievement Unlocked: Cyclones forward Jesse Schultz recorded his 800th professional point with in Saturday night's 5-4 overtime win against the Wichita Thunder. Schultz is on the cusp of another major milestone as well, sitting just seven games shy of 900 for his pro career.
Danforth Recalled: The Cincinnati Cyclones, proud ECHL affiliate of the National Hockey League's (NHL) Buffalo Sabres and American Hockey League's (AHL) Rochester Americans, have announced that forward Justin Danforth has been recalled by the Americans for the second time this season. Danforth is currently leading all ECHL first years and is second in overall League scoring with 28 goals and 30 assists through 44 games this season. He is currently riding a seven-game point streak totaling seven goals and 10 assists in that time, including a four-point performance on Saturday night (2g, 2a) that also featured the game-winning goal in overtime. Additionally, he enjoyed an 11-game point streak from November 18-December 15, accounting for seven goals and 10 assists in that span. He was also the Cyclones' representative in this season's CCM/ECHL All-Star Classic, recording a goal and emerging victorious in the Fastest Skater Competition, setting a new ECHL record with a lap of 12.75 seconds.
Bagging up the Points: Forward Daniel Muzito-Bagenda's point streak now stands at 11 games, following a goal in Saturday's 5-4 overtime win over the Wichita Thunder. He now has six goals and 14 assists in that time, and he currently ranks fifth on the team in scoring with eight goals and 23 assists.
Filling the Net: The Cyclones' offense has been on display during their five-game winning streak, having outscored teams 24-10 in that streak. Cincinnati has four or more goal in each of those contests, and have only trailed in two games as well. Forward Justin Danforth leads the way with five goals along with eight assists during the winning streak, followed by Daniel Muzito-Bagenda who has accounted for a pair of goals and six assists. Additionally, forwards Justin Vaive (5g, 2a) and Jesse Schultz (7a) have each added seven points.
Power Surge: The Cyclones had power play goals in 10 straight games, going 15-for-39 in that stretch, and are now the top-ranked power play unit in the League with a 21.4% power play conversion rate (40/187). Additionally, Cincinnati has the top home power play percentage in the ECHL, having lit the lamp 23 times in 92 tries which is good for 25%.
Playing Stingy: Cincinnati is seventh in the League with 2.98 goals allowed per game, and tenth with 31.23 shots allowed. Cincinnati has outscored the opposition 27-14 in the last six games, and have allowed two goals or fewer in four of their last five games. Additionally, the Cyclones are 23-8-1-0 when allowing three or fewer goals.
Packed Schedule: Cincinnati will have their hands full in the second half of the season, playing their final 27 games over a stretch of 60 days, which is an average of one games every 2.22 days. Additionally, Cincinnati will play 17 of those 27 against the Central Division, and has seven more stretches of three games in three days, two stretches of four games in five days, and one stretch of seven games in nine days.
Finishing What They Started: The Cyclones have a 20-1-0-0 record when leading through two periods this season. This is a continuing trend from last season, when the Cyclones were 23-1-3-1 when leading after one, and 26-1-2-0 when leading after 40 minutes.
New Affiliation: This offseason, the Cyclones, in conjunction with the National Hockey League's (NHL) Buffalo Sabres, announced a new affiliation agreement. For Cincinnati, the move comes following a 10-year partnership with the Nashville Predators, while the Sabres recently concluded a two-year relationship with the now-defunct Elmira Jackals. This affiliation will be a reunion of sorts for the cities of Cincinnati and Buffalo, as the Sabres' American Hockey League (AHL) Affiliate from 1971-1974 was the Cincinnati Swords. The Rochester Americans will serve as Cincinnati's new AHL affiliate, and have been the AHL affiliate of the Sabres since 2011. This is not the first time Cincinnati and Rochester have been affiliated, as the two clubs teamed up in 2010-11 when the Americans were affiliated with the Florida Panthers.
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