GAME PREVIEW: 11/23 vs. Indy Fuel
For Immediate Release: November 23, 2019
Game 18 (Home Game 9)
Vs. Indy Fuel (6-9-0-0, 12 pts)
Saturday, November 23, 2019, 7:35pm ET
Heritage Bank Center - Cincinnati, OH
Overview: The Cyclones wrap up their four-game week on Saturday night against the Indy Fuel seeking their seventh win in their last eight game. Cincinnati picked up an 8-1 win over the Kalamazoo Wing on Friday night, marking their highest offensive output of the season.
Last Night Recap:The Cincinnati Cyclones (11-5-1-0) hammered the Kalamazoo Wings, 8-1, on Friday night. Forward John Wiitala recorded his first pro hat trick, while forwards Darik Angeli, Mason Mitchell, Justin Vaive, and Ben Johnson, along with defenseman Cody Sol, scored the goals for Cincinnati, who record their largest goal output of the season. The Cyclones outshot Kalamazoo, 36-23 on the evening, with goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen stopping 22 in the win.
Wednesday Night Recap: The Cincinnati Cyclones (10-5-1-0) came back to defeat the Kalamazoo Wings, 4-3, on Wednesday night. Forward Mason Mitchell had a big night for the Cyclones with a goal and three assists, while forwards John Edwardh, Nate Mitton, and Ben Johnson each recorded goals for the Cyclones, who overcame a 3-1, first period deficit. Kalamazoo outshot the Cyclones, 26-25, with goaltender Sean Romeo stopping 23 in the win
Tuesday Morning Recap: The Cincinnati Cyclones (9-5-1-0) fell to the Wheeling Nailers on Tuesday morning, 4-3. Forwards Darik Angeli and Cody Milan, along with defenseman Tobie Bisson scored the goals for the Cyclones, who see their four-game winning streak snapped. Cincinnati outshot Wheeling, 30-23, with goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen stopping 19 in defeat.
Previewing Indy: The Fuel have dropped five games in a row, and are coming off a 3-2 loss to the Wheeling Nailers on Friday night. Despite their recent struggles, the Fuel have played their opponents close, as all five of their losses have been by a one goal, and they have the seventh-ranked defense in the League, allowing 2.93 goals per game. Indy’s special teams have been experiencing success as of well, as they have the top road power play unit at 28.6% (10/35), and are eighth overall at 20.7% (12/58). The Fuel are led offensively by forward Spencer Watson who has accounted for seven goals and 10 assists through 15 games. He is followed by forwards Alex Krushelnyski (5g, 10a) and Bobby MacIntyre (4g, 7a) who round out the top three. In goal, Chase Marchand has a 2.85 goals-against average and an .894 save percentage, to go along with his 3-5-0-0 record.
Inside the Series: Saturday night will be the fourth of 11 matchups this season. The Fuel have taken two of the first three meetings this season by a combined score of 9-4, and this will lone game played in Cincinnati through the first six games.
Next Game Preview: Cincinnati welcomes in the Kalamazoo Wings on Wednesday night, for the third time in a four game span. Wednesday will be the fifth meeting of the season between Cincinnati and Kalamazoo, and the ‘Clones have points in all four (3-0-1-0), including an 8-1 win back on Friday night.
Hats Off, Rook!: Rookie forward John Wiitala recorded his first pro hat trick on Friday night, in an 8-1 win over the Kalamazoo Wings. The goals were also the first three of his pro hockey career, and it was the first Cyclones hat trick since Brady Vail lit the lamp three times in the first period of an 8-1 win over the Maine Mariners on February 8, 2019. The Lakeville, MN, native has six points over his last three games (3g, 3a), and is now tied for fifth on the team in scoring with nine points (3g, 6a).
Sharing is Caring: The Cyclones have been getting major offensive contributions outside of their top line in recent games, as the Cyclones second and third lines have combined for 16 goals and 17 assists over the last six games, including five goals and five assists in Friday’s 8-1 win over the Kalamazoo Wings. Leading the way in that time is forward Mason Mitchell who has accounted for four goals and four assists, while forwards John Wiitala (3g, 3a) and Cody Milan (2g, 4a) each have six points, and Ben Johnson has been responsible for five points (3g, 2a).
Mitchell Breaks Out: Forward Mason Mitchell had a career-high three points on a goal and two assists in Wednesday’s 4-3 win over the Kalamazoo Wings. He is currently on a four game point streak (3g, 4a), and has points in five of his last six games overall (4g, 5a).
Luukkonen Named ECHL Goaltender of the Week: Cyclones goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has been named the Warrior Hockey / ECHL Goaltender of the Week for the week of November 11-17. Luukkonen was a perfect 2-0-0-0 on the week, recording a 0.00 goals-against average and a 1.000 save percentage in back-to-back shutouts. He is the first Cyclones goaltender to post back-to-back clean sheets since the team returned to action prior to the 2006-2007 season. He started his perfect week on Thursday night, stopping all 22 shots he faced in a 1-0 overtime win against the Allen Americans. He continued to hold the opposition off the board on Saturday night, turning aside all 23 Ft. Wayne Komet offerings in a 5-0 win over their Central Division Rivals. Luukkonen leads the ECHL with a 1.24 goals-against average and a .948 save percentage, while posting a 3-1-0-0 record in the process.
Achievement Unlocked: Cyclones forward Jesse Schultz recorded his 900th professional point in Saturday’s 5-0 win over the Ft. Wayne Komets. Point 900 came on an assist on Ben Johnson’s second period goal, and he added a pair of goals and an additional helper as a part of a four-point night. Schultz is closing in on a few more career milestones as well, sitting just eight games away from 1,000 pro games played, and is just one point shy of 300 ECHL points, and 18 games away from 300 for his ECHL career. He currently sits at 351 goals and 552 assists across 992 games, in a career that has seen him spend time in North America in the ECHL, American Hockey League (AHL), and Central Hockey League (CHL), and he also skated in a pair of games for the Vancouver Canucks of the National Hockey League (NHL). He has also seen time overseas in Denmark, England, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Slovakia, and Sweden.
Thomas Gets Win 400: Cyclones head coach Matt Thoma scollected his 400th career win in last Tuesday’s 4-2 win over the Allen Americans. Thomas now sits in fifth place all-time amongst ECHL head coaches with 402 career victories.
Finding Their Stride: The line of Justin Vaive, Darik Angeli, and Jesse Schultz have accounted for 19 goals and 22 assists over the last 12 games for the Cyclones. Schultz has points in nine of his last 12 games (8g, 10a), and leads the team in scoring with 19 points on the season (9g, 10a). Additionally, Vaive has six goals and three assists over his last 10 outings, while Angeli has points in six of his last seven games (4g, 4a).
Holding the Lead: Cincinnati is a perfect 8-0-0-0 when scoring the first goal and when leading through two periods this season, and are currently fourth in the ECHL with 2.53 goals allowed per game.
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!