GAME PREVIEW: 2/5 vs. Wheeling

GAME PREVIEW: 2/5 vs. Wheeling

For Immediate Release: February 5, 2019


Game 44 (Road Game 22)

Vs. Wheeling Nailers (20-21-3-1, 44 pts)

Tuesday, February 5, 2019 – 7:05pm ET

WesBanco Arena –Wheeling, WV


Overview: The Cyclones begin a four-game road trip on Tuesday night in Wheeling against the Nailers. Cincinnati is coming off a 7-1 win over the Tulsa Oilers on Saturday night, and are 7-1-1-1 in their last 10 games. The ‘Clones remain atop the Western Conference standings, three points ahead of both the Toledo Walleye and Utah Grizzlies.  

Saturday Night Recap: The Cincinnati Cyclones (29-8-3-3) cruised past the Tulsa Oilers on Saturday night, 7-1, at U.S. Bank Arena on Cyclones Fight Cancer Night. Forward Justin Vaive led the way with a hat trick along with an assist, Pascal Aquin netted a pair of goals, while forwards Vas Glotov and Alex Wideman added a lone tally for the ‘Clones. Saturday’s game was a physical affair as well, as the teams combined for 78 minutes of penalties. The Cyclones outshot Tulsa, 27-23, with goaltender Michael Houser stopping 22 in the win 

Friday 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 SchultzAlex Wideman, and Ben Johnson, along with defenseman Arvin Atwal each 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 Vail and defenseman Anthony Florentino netted the goals for Cincinnati. The Walleye outshot the Cyclones, 31-26 on the evening, with goaltender Michael Houser stopping 28 in the loss.

Previewing Wheeling: The Nailers enter Tuesday in last place in the ECHL’s Central Division, four points back of the the Ft. Wayne Komets who are in fourth. Wheeling has dropped five straight and seven out of their last eight, and are coming off of a 5-2 loss to the Kalamazoo Wings on Saturday evening. The Nailers currently have one of the top offenses in the ECHL, ranking sixth with 3.49 goals per game. Additionally, The Nailers are fourth in the League on the power play with a 21.9% conversion percentage (43/196). They are led offensively by forward Zac Lynch who has accounted for 13 goals and 32 assists through 45 games this season. He is followed by forwards Troy Josephs (20g, 15a) and Yushiroh Hirano (13g, 22a) who round out the top three. In goal, John Muse has appeared in 20 games, posting a 7-12-1-1 record along with a 3.48 goals-against average and a .877 save percentage. 

Inside the Series: 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.

Next Game Preview: The Cyclones continue their four-game road trip on Friday night in Portland, ME, against the Maine Mariners. This will be the first all-time meeting between the two sides.  


Johansson Reassigned: Cincinnati Cyclones goaltender Jonas Johansson has been reassigned by the Rochester Americans, Cincinnati’s American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate. He has appeared in five games with Rochester this season, posting a 4-1-0-0 record along with a 2.26 goals-against average and an .926 save percentage.A native of Galve, SWE, Johansson has a 13-5-1-2 record with the Cyclones this season along with a 2.79 GAA and a .900 SV%, with two shutouts. The second-year netminder led Cincinnati to a pair of wins during the week of November 12, recording a 0.50 GAA and a .981 SV% along with one shutout, earning ECHL Goaltender of the Week honors for his efforts.  

Big Weekends: Cincinnati are coming off of a two-game sweep over the Rapid City Rush on Friday and Tulsa Oilers on Saturday. The Cyclones outscored both teams, 13-4 through the two games, with forward Myles Powell leading the way with six points (2g, 4a). Forward Jesse Schultz was right behind him with a goal and four assists, while Justin Vaive (3g, 1a), and Pascal Aquin (2g, 2a) each had four-point weekends. 

Packed Schedule:The Cyclones are in the midst of a stretch of 29 games in 59 days beginning. 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 six 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 seven of the top 19 on-ice ratings in the ECHL entering Friday night. Forward Myles Powell is third in the ECHL with a plus-35 rating, while forward Alex Wideman (plus-33) and defenseman Arvin Atwal (plus-32) rank fourth and fifth in the ECHL, respectively. Forward Jesse Schultz ranks eighth with a plus-26 mark, while defenseman Devante Stephens is right behind him in ninth at plus-25. Additionally, defensemen Eric Knodel (plus-20) and Tobie Bisson (plus-19) also have spots in the top 20. 

He’s a Brick….HOUSE!: Goaltender Michael Houser is 10-1-1-1 in his last 13 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 1.91 GAA and a .931 SV%, and he has allowed more than two goals just seven times this season. 

Fanning the Flames: Forward Jesse Schultz has points in 21 of his last 27 games, accounting for 12 goals and 24 assists in that time. He is now tied for second in ECHL scoring with 49 points (13g, 36a).

Piling up the Points: The Cyclones have points in 21 of the last 24 games (17-3-0-4) 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 29 assists in the last 24 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 11 assists. Additionally, Devante Stephens (3g, 3a), Anthony Florentino (1g, 3a), Andrew DeBrincat (1g, 1a), and Mitch Jones (2a) have also found the score sheet.   

Good in All Areas: The Cyclones are second in the ECHL in both team defense (2.44 GA/GM) and offensive production (3.88G/GM). The Cyclones are outscoring teams, 167-105, and have allowed two or fewer goals in 16 of the last 27 games. Starting and finishing games have been a specialty for Cincinnati, as they are outscoring teams 61-32 in the first period, and have allowed 25 goals in the third period. Cincinnati is outscoring the opposition, 55-25, in the final 20 minutes of play, and are 22-1-0-2. 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,!


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