GAME NOTES: 2/18 vs. Kalamazoo
Game 50 (Home Game 25)
Vs. Kalamazoo Wings (26-21-2-2, 56pts)
Sunday, February 18, 2018 - 3:05pm ET
U.S. Bank Arena - Cincinnati, OH
Overview: The Cyclones dropped their second in a row, falling to the Reading Royals on Friday night. Cincinnati is still tied with the Kalamazoo Wings for third place in the ECHL’s Central Division, four points up on the Kansas City Mavericks, and six back of the Toledo Walleye in Second.
Friday Night Recap: The Cincinnati Cyclones (27-20-2-0) fell to the Reading Royals, 8-0, on Friday night. Reading outshot Cincinnati, 45-35 on the evening, with goaltenders Jonas Johansson and Jason Kasdorf combining to stop 37 in the loss.
Tuesday Night Recap: The Cincinnati Cyclones (27-19-2-0) dropped a 3-2 decision to the Wichita Thunder on Tuesday evening. Forward Brandon McNally netted both goals for the Cyclones, who see their five-game winning streak come to an end. The Cyclones were outshot, 31-24 on the evening, with goaltender Jonas Johansson steering aside 28 in the loss.
Last Saturday Night Recap: The Cincinnati Cyclones (27-18-2-0) defeated the Wichita Thunder, 5-4 in overtime, on Saturday night. Forward Justin Danforth netted a pair of goals, including the game-winner in overtime, and dished out two assists, while forwards Alex Kile, Justin Vaive, and Daniel Muzito-Bagenda chipped in lone tallies for Cincinnati. Forward Jesse Schultz reached a major career milestone in the win as well, earning his 800th professional point as a part of a three-assist night. The Cyclones were outshot, 30-18 on the evening, with goaltender Jason Kasdorf stopping 26 in the win.
Previewing Kalamazoo: The Wings have dropped four straight and are coming off a pair of 6-3 losses to the Quad City Mallards on Friday and Saturday. Like Cincinnati, the Wings currently boast one of the top power play units in the League, converting 20% of their man advantage chances (42/210) which is good for fourth in the ECHL. Additionally, Kalamazoo enters Sunday afternoon with the third-ranked offense in the League, sitting third with 3.71 goals scored and fifth with 32.53 shots for per game. They are led by forward Josh Pitt who has accounted for 38 points (20g, 18a) through 43 games this season. He is followed by forward Brendan Bradley (11g, 25a) and defenseman Kyle Bushee (9g, 26a) who round out the top three. In goal, Joel Martin has posted an 18-12-2-2 record along with a 3.24 goals-against average and a .899 save percentage.
Inside the Series: This will be the fourth of six matchups between the Cyclones and Wings this season, with Kalamazoo posting a 2-1-0-0 record in the first three games. The teams are currently in a battle for the third and fourth playoff spots in the Central Division, as they are locked in a tie for the third position.
Next Game Preview: Cincinnati heads to Indianapolis on Tuesday morning to participate in their school day matinee. The Cyclones are looking for their first win of the season against the Fuel, having gone 0-3-1-0 in the first four meetings of the season. The sides will meet four more times after Tuesday.
It’s a Grand Day: Sunday afternoon will mark the 1,000th game for Cyclones equipment manager Chris Burke. A native of Cincinnati, Burke is in his twelfth season as Cyclones equipment manager, having joined the team in 2006. During his tenure in Cincinnati, Burke has been a part of a pair of Kelly Cup Championships in 2008 and 2010, and went to a third Kelly Cup Final in 2014. He also served as the equipment manager for this season’s CCM/ECHL All-Star Classic in Indianapolis. Burke began his career with the Cyclones, working for the team for four seasons from 2000-2004, including one as head equipment manager. Burke spent the 2004-05 season with the ECHL’s Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies and the 2005-06 season with the Fresno Falcons. His tenure in Fresno saw Burke earn his first ECHL All-Star selection, and he was named ECHL Equipment Manager of the Year, as well.
Cyclones Add Diodati: The Cyclones have signed defenseman Eric Diodati to a Standard Player Contract (SPC). A native of Niagara Falls, Ont, Diodati recently completed his collegiate career, spending two seasons with the University of Waterloo and two with St. Thomas University in Canada. In 95 collegiate games, he accounted for 12 goals and 31 assists along with 62 penalty minutes. He also spent three seasons on the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), spending time with the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors and Steelheads, along with the Windsor Spitfires where he totaled 10 goals and 39 assists in 173 games.
Achievement Unlocked: Cyclones forward Jesse Schultz recorded his 800th professional point with three assists in last Saturday night’s 5-4 overtime win against the Wichita Thunder. Schultz is on the cusp of another major milestone as well, sitting just five games shy of 900 for his pro career.
Bagging up the Points: Forward Daniel Muzito-Bagenda’s 11-game point streak was snapped in Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to the Wichita Thunder accounting for six goals and 14 assists in that time. He currently ranks fifth on the team in scoring with eight goals and 23 assists.
Power Surge: The Cyclones have at least one power play goal in 10 of their last 12, going 15-for-42 in that stretch. They are now the second-ranked power play unit in the League with a 20.7% power play conversion rate (40/193). Additionally, Cincinnati has the top home power play percentage in the ECHL, having lit the lamp 23 times in 95 tries which is good for 24.2%.
Playing Stingy: Cincinnati is tied for tenth in the League with 3.04 goals allowed per game, and tenth with 31.51 shots allowed. Cincinnati has outscored the opposition 29-17 in the last six games, and have allowed two goals or fewer in four of their last six games. Additionally, the Cyclones are 23-9-1-0 when allowing three or fewer goals.
Packed Schedule: Cincinnati will have their hands full in the second half of the season, playing their final 23 games over a stretch of 55 days, which is an average of one games every 2.39 days. Additionally, Cincinnati will play 17 of those 23 against the Central Division, and has five more stretches of three games in three days, two stretches of four games in five days, and one stretch of seven games in nine days.
Finishing What They Started: The Cyclones have a 20-1-0-0 record when leading through two periods this season. This is a continuing trend from last season, when the Cyclones were 23-1-3-1 when leading after one, and 26-1-2-0 when leading after 40 minutes.
New Affiliation: This offseason, the Cyclones, in conjunction with the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Buffalo Sabres, announced a new affiliation agreement. For Cincinnati, the move comes following a 10-year partnership with the Nashville Predators, while the Sabres recently concluded a two-year relationship with the now-defunct Elmira Jackals. This affiliation will be a reunion of sorts for the cities of Cincinnati and Buffalo, as the Sabres’ American Hockey League (AHL) Affiliate from 1971-1974 was the Cincinnati Swords. The Rochester Americans will serve as Cincinnati’s new AHL affiliate, and have been the AHL affiliate of the Sabres since 2011. This is not the first time Cincinnati and Rochester have been affiliated, as the two clubs teamed up in 2010-11 when the Americans were affiliated with the Florida Panthers.
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