GAME PREVIEW: 2/8 vs. Maine Mariners
For Immediate Release: February 8, 2019
Game 45 (Road Game 23)
Vs. Maine Mariners (22-22-0-1, 45 pts)
Friday, February 8, 2019 – 7:15pm ET
Cross Insurance Arena – Portland, ME
Overview: The Cyclones continue their four-game road trip on Friday night in Portland against the Maine Mariners. The Cyclones have won three in a row and are 7-1-1-1 in their last 10 games, following a 2-1 overtime win over the Wheeling Nailers on Tuesday night. The ‘Clones continue to lead the ECHL’s Central Division by five points over the Toledo Walleye, and are second overall in the ECHL, just five points back of the Florida Everblades.
Tuesday Night Recap: The Cincinnati Cyclones (30-8-3-3) took down the Wheeling Nailers, 2-1, in overtime on Tuesday Night, for their 30thwin of the season. Forward Alex Wideman netted the lone goal in regulation, while defenseman Eric Knodel netted the overtime winner. Cincinnati was outshot, 31-21, on the evening, with goaltender Jonas Johansson stopping 30 in the win.
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
Last 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 Schultz, Alex 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.
Previewing Maine: The Mariners enter Friday night in last place in the ECHL’s North Division, however are just five points back of the Brampton Beast in fourth. Maine snapped their five-game losing streak with a 5-3 win over the Adirondack Thunder on Saturday night, and have dropped seven of their last nine games overall. They are led offensively by forward Michael McNicholas who has accounted for 10 goals and 25 assists through 38 games this season. He is followed by forwards Drew Melanson (9g, 15a) and Greg Chase (10g, 13a) who round out the top three. In goal, Brandon Halverson has shouldered the bulk of the load appearing in 30 games with a 15-13-0-1 record, along with a 2.67 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage.
Inside the Series: Friday will be the first all-time meeting between the Cyclones and Mariners, who are in their first season in the ECHL. Hockey returned to the city of Portland following a two-year hiatus after the city’s American Hockey League (AHL) team- the Portland Pirates folded.
Next Game Preview: The Cyclones head to Manchester to take on the Monarchs on Saturday night. The teams have met just once before during a three-game series during the 2016-17 season. The Monarchs took two of those three games.
Overtime Winner: The Cyclones picked up their first overtime win of the season on Tuesday with a 2-1 win over the Wheeling Nailers. Cincinnati is now 1-3 in overtime games, and 2-3 in games that head to a shootout.
Johansson Reassigned: Cincinnati Cyclones goaltender Jonas Johanssonhas 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 14-5-1-2 record with the Cyclones this season along with a 2.71 GAA and a .903 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.
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.
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-21) and Tobie Bisson (plus-18) 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 22 of his last 28 games, accounting for 12 goals and 25 assists in that time. He is now tied for second in ECHL scoring with 50 points (13g, 37a).
Piling up the Points: The Cyclones have points in 22 of the last 25 games (18-3-0-4) and wins in 22 of their last 30 games (22-5-0-3).
Defensively Offensive: The Cyclones defensive corps have been contributing to the Cyclones offensive success as of late, accounting for 16 goals and 29 assists in the last 25 games. Eric Knodel has five goals and 10 assists in that time, and is currently tied for fifth in ECHL defenseman scoring with nine 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 (2.41 GA/GM) and offensive production (3.84G/GM). The Cyclones are outscoring teams, 169-106, and have allowed two or fewer goals in 17 of the last 28 games. Starting and finishing games have been a specialty for Cincinnati, as they have a League-leading 61 first period goals while only allowing 32, and have allowed 25 goals in the third period. Cincinnati is outscoring the opposition, 55-26, in the final 20 minutes of play, and are 23-1-0-2. 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!