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Cyclones Game Preview: vs. Indy Fuel

March 8, 2019 - ECHL (ECHL) - Cincinnati Cyclones News Release

Game 58 (Road Game 30)

Vs. Indy Fuel (27-27-2-1, 57 pts)

Friday - 7:35pm ET

Indiana Farmers Coliseum - Indianapolis, IN

Overview: The Cyclones head to Indianapolis on Friday night to take on the Indy Fuel, in the first of two games on the weekend for Cincinnati. The Cyclones are coming off a 4-2 loss to the Kalamazoo Wings back on Sunday, however clinched a playoff spot on Wednesday, by virtue of the Wheeling Nailers losing to the Ft. Wayne Komets that evening. The 'Clones hold a 13-point advantage over the Toledo Walleye for the top spot in the ECHL's Central Division, and are ahead of the Florida Everblades by two points for first place in the ECHL overall.

Sunday Afternoon Recap: The Cincinnati Cyclones (40-10-4-3) suffered just their tenth loss of the season with a 4-2 defeat at the hands of the Kalamazoo Wings on Sunday afternoon. Forwards Brady Vailand Myles Powellnetted the goals for Cincinnati, who see their 10-game point streak snapped. Cincinnati outshot Kalamazoo, 40-23 on the evening, with goaltender Michael Houser stopping 19 in the loss.

Last Saturday Night Recap: The Cincinnati Cyclones (40-9-4-3) took down the Wheeling Nailers, 3-2 in overtime, on Saturday night. Forward Jesse Schultz and defenseman Andrew DeBrincat scored the goals in regulation, and forward Brady Vail scored the winner in overtime for the Cyclones. Cincinnati outshot the Nailers, 32-25 on the night, with goaltender Michael Houser stopping 23 in the win.

Last Friday Night Recap: The Cincinnati Cyclones (39-9-4-3) took down the Indy Fuel, 8-2, on Friday evening. Forward Pascal Aquin led the way with a pair of goals and two assists, while forward Ben Johnson chipped in two, as well. Additionally, forwards Vas Glotov, Myles Powell, Brady Vail, and Alex Wideman netted lone tallies for Cincinnati, who push their point streak to nine games. The Cyclones outshot the Fuel, 32-15 on the evening, with goaltender Michael Houser stopping 13 in the win.

Previewing Indy: The Fuel currently find themselves in last place in the ECHL's Central Division, however are just five points back of the Ft. Wayne Komets for the fourth and final playoff spot in the division. Indy is 4-6-0-0 in their last 10 games, and are coming off a 5-0 shutout loss to the Toledo Walleye on Sunday afternoon. Indy has been struggling to find the offense in recent games, as they have been outscored 22-12 in their last five games, including 18-5 in three losses during that span. Special teams continue to see success for Indy, as they rank ninth overall on the power play with an 18.4% conversion rate (44/239), and are fifth in the League at home on the man advantage at 19.1% (22/115), and fourth at home on the penalty kill at 87.0% (114/131). They are led offensively by forwardRyan Rupertwho has accounted for 20 goals and 31 assists through 56 games this season. He is followed by former Cyclone and team-goals leaderJosh Shalla(25g, 23a) and Matt Rupert(20g, 19a) who round out the top three. In goal,Matt Tomkinshas posted a record of 22-16-2-1, along with a 3.25 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage in 42 game.

Inside the Series: Friday will be the second time in a week that the Cyclones and Fuel will face off, and the tenth of 12 meetings between the two teams this season. Cincinnati is 6-3-0-0 against Indy this season following last Friday's 8-2 win, and have outscored the Fuel, 33-22 in those contests.

Next Game Preview: The Cyclones wrap up their four-game road stretch on Sunday afternoon against the Kansas City Mavericks. The teams have met twice this season, with Cincinnati posting a 1-0-1-0 mark in those contests. The teams will meet once more this season- March 27 in Cincinnati.

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. The Cyclones clinched their berth by virtue of the Wheeling Nailers losing to Ft. Wayne on Wednesday night. 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. Cincinnati has a record of 40-10-4-3 with 87 points, and currently leads the Toledo Walleye by 13 points in the ECHL's Central Division, and they have a two-point edge over the Florida Everblades for first place overall in the League. Their 40 wins is the most by a Cyclones team since the 2013-14 squad posted a 41-23-4-4 mark, and is the sixth 40-win campaign since the 2006-07 season.

Cyclones Trade for Rimmer:The Cyclones have acquired goaltender Ty Rimmer from the Wichita Thunder, in exchange for goaltender Devin Buffalo and future considerations. A native of Edmonton, AB, Rimmer has split this season between the Wichita Thunder, and Kitzbuheler EC of the Alps Hockey League. While with Wichita, he has accumulated a record of 2-9-1-0 along with a 3.91 goals-against average and a .882 save-percentage in 12 games. He appeared in 42 games with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits during the 2017-18 season, posting a 14-23-1-1 mark, with a 3.91 GAA and a .898 SV%. Rimmer has also seen ECHL time with the Bakersfield Condors and Norfolk Admirals, and in 113 career ECHL games he has accounted for a 38-56-6-4 record to go along with a 3.48 GAA and a .898 SV%. He also has 10 AHL games and 39 Central Hockey League (CHL) games to his credit. Prior to turning pro during the 2012-13 season, Rimmer enjoyed a successful junior hockey career in the Western Hockey League (WHL), appearing in 159 games between five teams across a four-year period. In those contests, he turned out a mark of 74-65-4-10 with a 3.01 GAA and a .910 SV%.

Man Advantage: The Cyclones are now 23 for their last 65 on the power play and now ranks 12th in the ECHL with a 17.6% conversion rate on the power play (44/250).

Knodel Named AMI Graphics ECHL Plus Performer of the Month: Cincinnati Cyclones defenseman Eric Knodel has been named the recipient of the AMI"ˆGraphics ECHL"ˆPlus Performer of the Month for February, after posting an on-ice rating of plus-16 through 13 games during the month. He joins forward Alex Wideman, who was co-recipient of the AMI"ˆGraphics ECHL"ˆPlus Performer of the Month in December. Knodel posted an even or better rating in 12 of his 13 games during the month, including pair or plus-four games- an 8-1 road win over the Maine Mariners on February 8, and a 5-4 overtime victory against Adirondack on February 17. He ranks third among ECHL"ˆdefensemen, and sixth overall in the league, with a plus-35 rating this season, and is also tied for first among blueliners with 14 goals and is tied for second with 39 points. Signed to an American Hockey League (AHL) contract this past summer by the Rochester Americans, Cincinnati's AHL affiliate, t he 6-6, 225-pound blueliner ranked third in ECHL defenseman scoring a season ago, accounting for 13 goals and 39 assists in 57 games played. Currently in his third season with the Cyclones, Knodel skated in 58 games with the Cyclones in 2016-17, leading the team in defenseman scoring with eight goals and 20 assists, and was tied for third with a plus-seven on-ice rating. He was one of the ECHL's top defensemen at the midway point of 2016-17, and for his efforts he was awarded a spot in the 2017 CCM/ECHL All-Star Classic in Glens Falls. He also took part in the All-Star Hardest Shot competition, where he finished in second place with a shot of 96mph. Overall, Knodel has appeared in 302 pro games, accounting for 47 goals and 124 assists for 171 total points. Prior to turning pro, Knodel spent four seasons at the University of New Hampshire, and was named captain during his season year in 2013-14. In 116 games for the Wildcats, he accounted for 20 goals and 41 assists for 61 total points, including a career-high 28 (7g, 21a) during his senior year.

League Leaders:Cincinnati currently boasts a pair of League-leaders in forward Jesse Schultzand goaltenderMichael Houser . Schultz currently paces the ECHL in both points (68) and assists (50) and has also added 18 goals. He has points in 11 of his last 12games (5g, 12a), and in 32 of his last 41 contests, accounting for 17 goals and 37 assists in that time. Houser currently leads the League in wins with 22, fewest losses with five, goals-against average at 2.07, andis third in save percentage at .924. He is 15-2-2 in his last 18 games, allowing two or fewer goals in 13 of them. Houser was also named the Warrior Hockey ECHL Goaltender of the Month for December after a perfect 6-0-0-0 record along with a 1.17 goals against average and a .950 save percentage.

Point Men: Forward Brady Vail is currently on a five-game goal and seven-game point streak, amassing six goals and five assists in that time, and he has points in 18 of his last 23 games overall (11g, 14a). Forward Vas Glotov saw his 10-game point streak come to an end in Sunday's 4-2 loss to the Kalamazoo Wings. He accounted for six goals and nine assists in that time,including three multi-point efforts. Forward Alex Wideman saw his eight-game heater snapped on Sunday as well, following three goals and six assists in that span. Overall, he has seven goals and nine assists in his last 16 games, and is second on the team with 20 goals and 35 assists. ForwardPascal Aquinhas points in four of his last five games (3g, 4a) and ranks fourth in League rookie scoring with 23 goals and 27 assists.

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 2.39 goals per 60 minutes and outscoring teams 227-136. Starting and finishing games have been a specialty for Cincinnati, as they have a League-leading 87 first period goals while only allowing 41, and have allowed 37 goals in the third period. Cincinnati is outscoring the opposition, 70-37, in the final 20 minutes of play, and are 30-1-0-2. when leading through two periods. They have given up more than three goals in regulation just nine times this season.

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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