Cyclones Game Preview: vs. Ft. Wayne Komets
Game 65 (Road Game 32)
Vs. Ft. Wayne Komets (31-22-3-6, 71 pts)
Friday - 8:00pm ET
Allen County War Memorial Coliseum - Ft. Wayne, IN
Overview: The Cyclones embark on a two-game weekend road trip beginning on Friday night in Ft. Wayne against the Komets. Cincinnati suffered just their second regulation home loss on Thursday night to the Toledo Walleye, however they still find themselves four points ahead of the Florida Everblades for first place overall in the ECHL, with two games in hand.
Last Night Recap: The Cincinnati Cyclones (46-11-4-3) fell to the Toledo Walleye, 4-3, on Thursday night at U.S. Bank Arena. Forward Vas Glotov netted a pair of goals while defenseman Kurt Gosselin added a lone tally for Cincinnati, who see their six-game winning streak snapped. Toledo outshot Cincinnati, 29-22, with goaltender Michael Houser steering aside 25 in defeat.
Wednesday Night Recap: The Cincinnati Cyclones (46-10-4-3) claimed the ECHL Central Division Title with a 4-1 win over the Wheeling Nailers on Wednesday night. It marks the first divisional crown since the 2012-13 North Division title. Defenseman Kurt Gosselin led the way with a pair of goals, while forwards Jesse Schultz and Myles Powell netted lone goals for the Cyclones, who push their winning streak to six games. Cincinnati outshot the Nailers, 34-21 on the evening, with goaltender Ty Rimmer stopping 20 in the win.
Saturday Night Recap: The Cincinnati Cyclones (45-10-4-3) earned a 3-0 win over the Kalamazoo Wings on Saturday night. Forwards Brady Vail and Mike Marnell, along with defenseman Eric Knodel netted the goals for the Cyclones, whole goaltender Michael Houser stopped all 28 shots he faced for his second shutout of the season. Shots in the game were tied, 23-23, while the Cyclones penalty kill was a perfect 3-for-3.
Previewing Ft. Wayne: The Komets find themselves in third place in the ECHL's Central Division, nine points back of the Toledo Walleye in second, and one point ahead of the fourth-place Kalamazoo Wings. Ft. Wayne is 6-4-0-0 in their last 10 games however have won five of their last seven, and are coming off a 4-3 loss to the Wings on Wednesday. They are led offensively by forward Brady Shaw who has totaled 24 goals and 32 assists through 58 games. He is followed by forwards Shawn Szydlowski (15g, 33a) and Justin Hodgman (13g, 35a) who round out the top three. In goal, Eric Levine is the lone active netminder, posting a 4-2-1-0 record along with a 3.28 goals-against average and a .892 save percentage.
Inside the Series: Friday will be the tenth of 11 meetings this season between Cincinnati and Ft. Wayne, with the Cyclones holding a 5-2-1-1 record through the first eight games. The teams will meet once more in the season's final game on April 6.
Next Game Preview: Cincinnati wraps up their stretch of four games in five days on Sunday afternoon against the Indy Fuel, in the 11th of 12 games between the two. Cincinnati is 7-3-0-0 through the first 10 games.
Making an Immediate Impact: Rookie defenseman Kurt Gosselin scored his third goal in two games in Cincinnati's 4-3 loss to the Toledo Walleye, following a pair of power play goals in Wednesday's 4-1 win over the Wheeling Nailers. Signed by the Cyclones last week, he netted his first pro goal, the game-winner, in his first pro game in last Wednesday's 5-4 win over the Ft. Wayne Komets, and added an assist in Saturday's 3-0 win over the Kalamazoo Wings. A native of Brighton, MI, Gosselin just completed a successful collegiate career at the University of Alabama-Huntsville. While with the Chargers, Gosselin appeared in118 career games, accounting for 20 goals and 38 assist, along with 173 minutes in penalties across four seasons.
Cyclones Earn Division Championship : By virtue of their 4-1 win over the Wheeling Nailers on Wednesday, the Cyclones have clinched the ECHL's Central Division title. Cincinnati also locked up the top record in the Western Conference, and are guaranteed home ice advantage through the first three rounds of the Kelly Cup Playoffs presented by Smile Direct Club. Cincinnati last won a division title during the 2012-13 season, ultimately falling to the eventual Kelly Cup champion Reading Royals in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Cyclones have won three division championships since returning to play in 2006-07 (2007-08, 2008-09, 2012-13), and have a pair of Kelly Cup championships in 2008 and 2010.
Point Men: Forward Brady Vail has found the score sheet in 12 of his last 14 games, accounting for eight goals and nine assists in that time, and is third on the Cyclones in scoring with 25 goals and 34 assists. Forward Jesse Schultz has accounted for points in 13 of his last 17 games, totaling eight goals and 18 assists in that time, and he leads the ECHL in scoring with 76 points (21g, 54a). Forward Vas Glotov has points in 13 of his last 18 games, totaling eight goals and 11 assists, while forward Alex Wideman has accounted for nine goals and 11 assists in his last 21 games, and is second on the team with 22 goals and 38 assists. Finally, forward Pascal Aquin has points in seven of his last 10 games (4g, 7a) and is fourth in League rookie scoring with 24 goals and 30 assists.
Man Advantage: The Cyclones are 29 for their last 88 on the power play and now ranks 12th in the ECHL with a 18.1% conversion rate on the power play (50/277).
Good in All Areas: The Cyclones boast the League's top offense, averaging 3.98 goals per game, and the top defense, having allowed a miniscule 2.36 goals per 60 minutes and outscoring teams 255-151. Starting and finishing games have been a specialty for Cincinnati, as they have a League-leading 92 first period goals while only allowing 46, and have allowed 41 goals in the third period. Cincinnati is outscoring the opposition, 82-41, in the final 20 minutes of play, and are 33-1-0-2. when leading through two periods. They have given up more than three goals in regulation just nine times this season.
Cyclones Clinch Playoff Spot: The Cyclones are the first team to clinch a spot in the 2019 Kelly Cup Playoffs presented by Smile Direct Club. This will the 10th trip to the postseason for the Cyclones since the 2006-07 season, and the third berth in the last four seasons. Cincinnati has two Kelly Cup Championships to their credit; a 4 games to 2 series win over the Las Vegas Wranglers in 2008, and a 4 games to 1 victory over the Idaho Steelheads in 2010. The Cyclones made a third trip to the Kelly Cup Finals in 2014 where they lost to the Alaska Aces in six games.
Packed Schedule: The Cyclones are in the midst of a stretch of 29 games in 59 days. Cincinnati will play three games in three days on four separate occasions during that time, a pair of four-game-in-five-days stretches, two stretches of seven-games in 10 days, and one of 10 games in 17 days.
Welcome Matt Thomas: The Cyclones enter the 2018-19 season with a new head coach. In early August, Cincinnati hired Matt Thomas as the team's new bench boss. He replaced Matt Macdonald who was named assistant coach of the Grand Rapids Griffins; American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings. A native of Maple Ridge, BC, Thomas has extensive head coaching experience in the ECHL, spanning 11 seasons with the Atlantic Boardwalk Bullies, Fresno Falcons, and Stockton Thunder from 2002-2013. Thomas served two seasons as an assistant coach with Atlantic City, including helping the Boardwalk Bullies to a Kelly Cup Championship in 2003, before assuming the role of head coach and Director of Hockey Operations with the team prior to 2004-2005. He compiled a 42-22-8 mark in his lone season as Atlantic City's bench boss, and served as the head coach for the 2005 ECHL All-Star Game. He then moved on to Fresno prior to the 2005-06 campaign, leading the Falcons to a 43-15-14 mark along with a trip to the Western Conference Finals. Over the next two seasons in Fresno, Thomas compiled a 76-41-17 record, with trips to the second round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs on both occasions. He coached the Falcons during the first half of 2008-09, leading the team to an 18-10-2 mark before the team ceased operations midseason. Thomas was not out of work for long however, as he was named head coach of Stockton shortly after, and finished the year with a record of 22-16-3, and a trip to the second round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs. Thomas went on to coach the Thunder for four more seasons, amassing a mark of 141-111-36, reaching the post season each year, including a trip to the 2013 Kelly Cup Finals. He enters the 2018-19 campaign as the ECHL's sixth-winningest coach with a career record of 342-225-80, just one win back of fifth place all time. He is also the all-time leader in playoff games coached with 97, and ranks third with 49 playoff wins.
The 2018-19 season is HERE, and the Cincinnati Cyclones want YOU along for the ride! Single game, Group, and Season Tickets are on sale NOW by calling (513) 421-PUCK! Stay on top of all the latest team updates and information on Facebook, Twitter (@CincyCyclones), and Instagram, along with our website, www.cycloneshockey.com!
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