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Cyclones Game Preview: vs. Tulsa Oilers

February 2, 2019 - ECHL (ECHL) - Cincinnati Cyclones News Release

Game 43 (Home Game 22)

Vs. Tulsa Oilers (26-16-4-2, 58 pts)

Saturday - 7:35pm ET

U.S. Bank Arena -Cincinnati, OH

Overview: The Cyclones wrap up a brief two-game homestand on Saturday night against the Tulsa Oilers. Cincinnati is coming off of a big 6-3 win over the Rapid City Rush on Friday night, and are now four points ahead of the Toledo Walleye for first place in the ECHL's Western Conference.

Last Night Recap: The Cincinnati Cyclones (28-8-3-3) slowed down the Rapid City Rush, 6-3, on Saturday night. Forward Myles Powell led the way with a pair of goals, while forwards Jesse Schultz, Alex Wideman, and Ben Johnson , along with defenseman Arvin Atwaleach lit the lamp once for the Cyclones. Cincinnati outshot the Rush, 44-22 on the evening, with goaltender Michael Houser stopping 19 in the win.

Last Friday Recap: The Cincinnati Cyclones (27-8-3-3) fell to the Toledo Walleye, 3-2, on Friday night. Forward Brady Vailand defenseman Anthony Florentinonetted the goals for Cincinnati. The Walleye outshot the Cyclones, 31-26 on the evening, with goaltender Michael Houser stopping 28 in the loss.

Sunday, 1/20 Recap: The Cincinnati Cyclones (27-7-3-3) defeated the Indy Fuel, 4-2, on Sunday afternoon. Forwards Spencer Dorowicz, Pascal Aquin, and Mike Marnell, along with defenseman Tobie Bisson netted the goals for Cincinnati, who enter the All-Star Break in second place in the ECHL. Cincinnati outshot the Fuel, 30-28, with goaltender Jonas Johansson steering aside 26 in the win.

Previewing Tulsa: The Oilers are currently in second place in the ECHL's Mountain Division, and are coming off a 5-2 win over the Toledo Walleye on Friday night to snap a two-game skid. They sit one point back of the Idaho Steelheads for first in the Mountain, and have a record of 4-2-0-0 in their last six games. The Oilers rank sixth in the ECHL in offensive production, averaging 2.81 goals per game and ranking second with 35.18 shots per game. They are led by forward Adam Pleskach who has accounted for 22 goals and 24 assists through 48 games played this season. He is followed by forwards Ryan Tesink (19g, 22a) and Jared Thomas (13g, 20a) who round out the top three. In goal, Evan Fitzpatrick leads all active Oilers' goaltenders with a 12-8-0-2 record, along with a 3.05 goals-against average and a .883 save percentage.

Inside the Series: Saturday night is the conclusion of a two-game series between the Cyclones and Tulsa, with Cincinnati beating the Oilers, 4-1, back on December 12. The 'Clones are 3-1-0-0 all-time against Tulsa.

Next Game Preview: The begin a four-game road trip on Tuesday night in Wheeling against the Nailers. Cincinnati is 2-1-0-0 through the first three games of the eight-game season series. The Cyclones are out scoring Wheeling, 10-5, in that time, and three of the final four games will be played at U.S. Bank Arena.

Packed Schedule: The Cyclones are embarking on a stretch of 29 games in 59 days beginning Friday evening against the Rapid City Rush. 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.

Stepping His Game Up:Forward Mike Marnell has points in four of his last five games, totaling a pair of goals and five assists in that span. He has points in seven of his last 10 games overall (5g, 5a) and is tied for seventh on the team in scoring with 25 points (11g, 14a).

On the Plus Side:Cincinnati currently boasts three of the top five and six of the top 18 on-ice ratings in the ECHL entering Friday night. Forward Myles Powell and defenseman Arvin Atwal are tied for third in the League and lead the Cyclones with a plus-33 on-ice rating, while forward Alex Wideman is fourth with a plus-32 mark. Defenseman DeVante Stephens and forward Jesse Schultz are ranked ninth and tenth with plus-24 ratings, while defenseman Eric Knodel comes in at 18 with a plus-20 mark.

He's a Brick....HOUSE!: Goaltender Michael Houser is 9-1-1-1 in his last 12 games, allowing two or fewer goals in eight 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 14-3-2-1 and leads the ECHL with a 1.95 GAA and a .930 SV%, and he has allowed more than two goals just seven times this season.

Fanning the Flames: Forward Jesse Schultz has points in 20 of his last 26 games, accounting for 12 goals and 22assists in that time. He is now third in ECHL scoring with 47 points (13g, 34a).

Piling up the Points: The Cyclones have points in 20 of the last 23 games (16-3-0-4) and wins in 21 of their last 29 games (21-5-0-3).

Defensively Offensive: The Cyclones defensive corps have been contributing to the Cyclones offensive success as of late, accounting for 15 goals and 26 assists in the last 23 games. Eric Knodel has four goals and 10 assists in that time, and is currently sixth in ECHL defenseman scoring with eight goals and 19 assists. Additionally, Arvin Atwal has four goals and nine assists, while Tobie Bisson has two goals and 10 assists. Additionally, Devante Stephens (3g, 3a), Anthony Florentino (1g, 2a), Andrew DeBrincat (1g, 1a),and Mitch Jones (1a) have also found the score sheet.

Good in All Areas: The Cyclones are second in the ECHL in both team defense (2.48 GA/GM) and offensive production (3.81G/GM). The Cyclones are outscoring teams, 160-104, and have allowed two or fewer goals in 15 of the last 26 games. Starting and finishing games have been a specialty for Cincinnati, as they are outscoring teams 58-32 in the first period, and have allowed 25 goals in the third period. Cincinnati is outscoring the opposition, 54-25, in the final 20 minutes of play, and are 21-1-0-2. when leading through two periods. They have given up more than three goals in regulation just six times this season.

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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