Cyclones Game Preview: vs. Toledo Walleye
Game 49 (Home Game 24)
Vs. Toledo Walleye (29-11-4-3, 65 pts)
Friday - 7:35pm ET
U.S. Bank Arena - Cincinnati, OH
Overview: The Cyclones welcome in the Toledo Walleye on Friday night, in the front end of a home-and-home. Cincinnati is coming off a 5-0 win over the Indy Fuel on Wednesday night, and currently find themselves seven points ahead of the Walleye in first place in the ECHL's Central Division.
Wednesday Night Recap: The Cincinnati Cyclones (33-9-3-3) shut out the Indy Fuel, 5-0, on Wednesday night. Forwards Judd Peterson, Mike Marnell, and Nate Mitton, along with defensemen Mitch Jones and Eric Knodel scored the goals for the Cyclones, while goaltender Jonas Johansson earned his third shutout of the season, stopping all 30 shots he faced. The 'Clones outshot the Fuel, 37-30 on the night, while the power play converted on two of its four chances.
Sunday Afternoon Recap: The Cincinnati Cyclones (32-9-3-3) upended the Worcester Railers, 4-3 in overtime, on Sunday afternoon. Forwards Vas Glotov and Myles Powell, along with defenseman Mitch Jones recorded the goals in regulation while forward Brady Vail tallied the game-winner in overtime for the Cyclones, who finish their four-game road trip 3-1-0-0. Cincinnati outshot the Railers, 34-24 on the afternoon, with goaltender Jonas Johansson steering aside 21 in the win.
Last Saturday Night Recap: The Cincinnati Cyclones (31-9-3-3) dropped a 4-3 decision to the Manchester Monarchs on Saturday night. Forwards Myles Powell and Alex Wideman, along with defenseman Eric Knodel scored the goals for the Cyclones, who see their four-game winning streak snapped. The Cyclones outshot the Monarchs, 37-33 on the evening, with goaltender Michael Houser stopping 29 in the loss.
Previewing Toledo: The Toledo Walleye currently trail Cincinnati by seven points and are currently on a three-game winning streak. They are 6-1-1-2 in their last 10 games, and wrapped up a nine-game homestand with a 4-1 win over the Indy Fuel on Sunday afternoon. The Walleye have played a lot of extra hockey this season, as they are second in the ECHL with 14 games decided by overtime or shootout (7-7). Toledo remains one of the top teams offensively, currently ranking fourth with 3.57 goals scored per game, and are outscoring teams, 52-39, in the first period. Forward Shane Berschbach leads all active scorers with 17 goals and 30 assists through 45 games played, while forward Greg Wolfe (14g, 27a) and defenseman Matt Register (10g, 28a) round out the top three. In goal, Pat Nagle has skated in 29 games, posting record of 16-7-2-2, along with a 3.02 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage.
Inside the Series: The Cyclones begin a home-and-home series with the Toledo Walleye on Friday night at U.S. Bank Arena. Cincinnati is 2-1-1-0 in the first four games of the nine-game season series, and have outscored the Walleye 12-9.
Next Game Preview: The Cyclones and Walleye conclude their two-game home-and-home on Saturday in Toledo.
Shutting the Door: Goaltender Jonas Johansson stopped all 30 shots he faced in a 5-0 shutout of the Indy Fuel on Wednesday night, his third clean sheet of the season. He is now 11 thin the ECHL with a 2.55 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage, and is on a six-game winning streak (6-0-0-0, 1.35 GAA, .955 SV%).
Point Men: Forward Alex Wideman has four goals and two assists in his last seven games, and is second on the team with 17 goals and 29assists, while forward Pascal Aquin has points in seven of his last eight games, accounting for three goals and ninehelpers. Additionally, forward Ben Johnson has points in six of his last seven outings (2g, 8a), and Brady Vail has points in 10 of his last 14 contests (5g, 9a).
Record-Setting Performance: With seven first period goals in last Friday's 8-1 win over the Maine Mariners, the Cyclones set a franchise record for goals in a single period, and it now stands as the fifth-most for a single period in ECHL history. Additionally, with four goals in the opening 7:29, forwards Brady Vail (2), Judd Peterson and Myles Powell set a Cyclones record for the earliest four goals in Cyclones history, and with defenseman Devante Stephens goal at 17:45, and Vail's hat trick goal at 18:18, Friday also saw new records set for the earliest five and six goals scored in Cyclones team history.
Power Surge: After snapping an 0-19 stretch on the power play, the Cyclones are now eight for their last 29on the man advantage. Cincinnati is now 23rdin the ECHL with a 13.8% conversion rate on the power play (29/210).
He's a Brick....HOUSE!: Goaltender Michael Houser is 10-2-1-1 in his last 14 games, allowing two or fewer goals in nine of them. He was 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 during the month. Overall, Houser has a record of 16-3-2-1 and leads the ECHL with a 2.00 GAA and a .929 SV%, and he has allowed more than two goals just eight times this season.
Fanning the Flames: Forward Jesse Schultz has points in 25 of his last 32 games, accounting for 12 goals and 28 assists in that time. He now leads all active ECHL players in scoring with 54 points (13g, 41a).
Good in All Areas: The Cyclones boast the League's top offense, averaging 3.94 goals per game, and are second in the ECHL team defense, having allowed a miniscule 2.38 goals per 60 minutes, outscoring teams, 189-114. Starting and finishing games have been a specialty for Cincinnati, as they have a League-leading 73 first period goals while only allowing 34, and have allowed 29 goals in the third period. Cincinnati is outscoring the opposition, 57-29, in the final 20 minutes of play, and are 25-1-0-2. when leading through two periods. They have given up more than three goals in regulation just six 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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