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Cyclones Game Preview: vs. Toledo

March 7, 2020 - ECHL (ECHL) - Cincinnati Cyclones News Release

Game 62 (Home Game 34)

Vs. Toledo Walleye (35-16-4-1, 75 pts)

Saturday, March 7, 2020, 7:35pm ET

Heritage Bank Center - Cincinnati, OH

Overview: The Cyclones wrap up their three-game homestand on Saturday night against the Toledo Walleye, in the final home game until April 3. Cincinnati picked up their fourth win in a row and eighth in the last 10 games on Friday with a 3-0 win over the Ft. Wayne Komets, clinching a spot in the 2020 Kelly Cup Playoffs in the process. The Cyclones are still seven points up on the Walleye for the top spot in the Central Division.

Last Night Recap: The Cincinnati Cyclones (37-16-7-1) defeated the Ft. Wayne Komets on Friday night, 3-0, at Heritage Bank Center. Defenseman Johnny Coughlin, along with forwards Justin Vaive and Ben Johnson scored the goals for the Cyclones, while goaltender Michael House r stopped all 23 shots he faced to earn his first shutout out of the season. The win coupled with a 4-2 loss by the Wheeling Nailers to the Kalamazoo Wings secures Cincinnati's spot in the 2020 Kelly Cup Playoffs. Cincinnati outshot the Komets, 36-23 on the night, while the power play converted on one of five chances.

Wednesday Night Recap: The Cincinnati Cyclones (36-16-7-1) earned a 5-2 win over the Kalamazoo Wings on Wednesday night. Forward Justin Vaive led the way with a pair of goals, while forwards Phil Hudon and Nate Mitton, along with defenseman Tobie Bisson added lone tallies for the Cyclones, who exploded for three power play goals in the third period. The Cyclones outshot Kalamazoo, 33-26, on the evening, with goaltender Michael Houser stopping 24 in the win.

Last Saturday Recap: The Cincinnati Cyclones (35-16-7-1) took down the Wheeling Nailers, 5-2, on Saturday night. Forwards John Wiitala, Jesse Schultz, Ben Johnson, and Nate Mitton, along with defenseman Tobie Bisson scored the goals for the Cyclones, who held the Nailers to zero shots in the first period. It marked the first time since January 23, 2015 that the Cyclones limited an opponent to no shots in a period. Cincinnati limited the Nailers to 12 shots on the day, outshooting Wheeling 28-12, with goaltender Michael Houser steering aside 10 in the win.

Previewing Toledo: The Walleye enter Saturday night seven points back of the Cyclones for first place in the ECHL's Central Division, with five games in hand. Toledo has won six of their last seven games, including two in a row, and are coming off a 4-3 win over the Indy Fuel on Friday night. Their offense has been on display in recent games, as they have outscored teams, 33-14 over the last seven games, and have three or more goals in all but one of those contests. They are third in the ECHL with 3.84 goals scored per game, and sixth with 2.82 goals against per 60 minutes. They are led by forward Josh Kestner who has accounted for a team-leading 31 goals along with 36 assists for 67 points. He is followed by forwards Shane Berschbach (19g, 40a) and TJ Hensick (16g, 39a) who round out the top three. In goal, Billy Christopoulos leads the way with a record of 22-3-3-0, along with a 2.31 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage.

Inside the Series: Saturday will be the ninth of 10 meetings this season between Cincinnati and Toledo, with the Cyclones posting a 2-3-2-1 mark in those games. Additionally, the Walleye have won three of four in Cincinnati.

Next Game Preview: Cincinnati heads to Toledo on Wednesday to conclude the 10-game season series.

Playoff Bound: By virtue of Cincinnati's 3-0 win over the Ft. Wayne Komets on Friday night, coupled with a loss by the Wheeling Nailers to the Kalamazoo Wings, the Cyclones have secured a spot in the 2020 Kelly Cup Playoffs. This will the 11th trip to the postseason for the Cyclones since the 2006-07 season, and the fourth berth in the last five seasons. The Cyclones won the Brabham Cup last season as ECHL Regular Season Champions, along with the Central Division title, however they fell to the Toledo Walleye in the Central Division Finals in five games. 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.

He's a Brick....HOUSE: Cyclones goaltender Michael Houser stopped all 23 shots he faced in Friday's 3-0 shutout win over the Ft. Wayne Komets to earn his first clean sheet of the season, and 10th shutout of his ECHL career. Overall, it's the fifth shutout for the 'Clones in 2019-2020.

Power Surge: The Cyclones went 3-for-8 on the power play in Wednesday's 5-2 win over the Kalamazoo Wings. All three of Cincinnati's power play goals came in the third period, with forward Justin Vaive accounting for two of them. He is now tied with forward Jesse Schultz for the team lead in power play goals with six. Overall, Cincinnati has converted on 15.5% of their power play chances this season (36/232).

Strong D: Cincinnati is fourth in the ECHL with 2.56 goals allowed per game, and pace the League with 25.44 shots against per 60 minutes. The Cyclones held Wheeling to zero shots in the first period of last Friday's 5-2 win over the Nailers, marking the first time since January 23, 2015 that the Cyclones limited an opponent to no shots in a period. They are the only team in the ECHL averaging under 27 shots against per game, and the Cyclones have allowed 27 shots or fewer in 29 of their last 33 games. The Cyclones have allowed three or fewer goals in 37 of their last 46 games, and have given up more than three on just 12 occasions all season. They are 35-6-5-1 this season when allowing three or fewer goals.

Defensively Offensive:Cyclones defenseman Tobie Bisson has goals in four of his last six games and points in six of his last nine contests. (5g, 1a), Additionally, defenseman Justin Baudry has accounted for four goals and nine assists over his last 12 games, and is fourth on the team in scoring with 37 points (11g, 26a).

When it Rains, it Pours: After being held to three or fewer goals in nine of their previous 11 games, the Cyclones have scored 38 goals over their last 10 games, leading them to eights wins in that span.

Phillips Dealt to Brampton: The Cincinnati Cyclones have traded goaltender Jamie Phillips to the Brampton Beast, in exchange for Future Considerations. Signed to a Standard Player Contract (SPC) in late January, Phillips skated in seven games with the Cyclones and has a record of 4-3-0-0, along with a 3.18 goals-against average and an .882 save percentage. He has won each of his last four starts and has allowed two or fewer goals in three of them, including stopping all 11 shots he faced in a 3-0 shutout on February 21. Phillips spent 24 games with the Coventry Blaze of the EIHL (Elite Ice Hockey League) in England earlier this season, where he turned out a 12-12-0-0 record, along with a 3.27 goals-against average and an .875 save percentage. Drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in the seventh round of the 2012 National Hockey League (NHL) Entry Draft, Phillips split the 2018-19 season between the Florida Everblades and Reading Royals, accounting for a mark of 27-11-2-1, and was tied for seventh in the ECHL with a 2.51 GAA and had a .908 SV%. He spent his final 12 games with the Royals, allowing three or fewer goals in 11 of those contests, and he ended the season on a six-game winning streak. He has also seen ECHL time with the Jacksonville IceMen and Tulsa Oilers, and has an overall ECHL mark of 49-32-5-1, along with a 2.70 GAA and a .907 SV%. The Caledonia, ON, native has also seen time with the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League (AHL), appearing in 27 games from 2016-18. He has an AHL record of 8-11-3, to go along with a 2.84 GAA and a .909 SV%.

Holding the Lead: Cincinnati has an 24-3-2-1 mark when scoring the game's first goal, and they are perfect in regulation when leading through two periods this season, accounting for a mark of 25-0-2-0.

The 2019-20 Cincinnati Cyclones season is upon us! The defending Brabham Cup champion Cyclones are looking to build off of last season's success, and we invite YOU to join us for the ride! Single game tickets, along with season and group ticket packages for every game this season are on sale now, and you can get more info 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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