GAME PREVIEW: 3/11 vs. Toledo
For Immediate Release: March 11, 2020
Game 63 (Road Game 29)
Vs. Toledo Walleye (36-17-4-1, 75 pts)
Wednesday, March 11, 2020, 7:15pm ET
Huntington Center - Toledo, OH
Overview: The Cyclones begin a seven-game stretch on the road on Wednesday night against the Toledo Walleye. Cincinnati is coming off a 1-0 win over the Toledo Walleye on Saturday night for their second shutout in a row, and fifth-straight win overall. The Cyclones are seven points ahead of Toledo heading into Wednesday’s game, however the Walleye have four games in hand on Cincinnati.
Saturday Night Recap: The Cincinnati Cyclones (38-16-7-1) earned their second-straight shutout win, 1-0, over the Toledo Walleye on Friday night. Forward Jesse Schultz scored the lone goal for Cincinnati, while goaltender Michael Houser steered aside all 24 shots he faced to earn his second shutout of the weekend. Cincinnati outshot the Walleye, 29-24, on the evening, while the penalty kill was perfect on all four chances.
Friday Night Recap: The Cincinnati Cyclones (37-16-7-1) defeated the Ft. Wayne Komets on Friday night, 3-0, at Heritage Bank Center. Defenseman Johnny Coughlin, along with forwards Justin Vaive and Ben Johnson scored the goals for the Cyclones, while goaltender Michael Houser stopped all 23 shots he faced to earn his first shutout out of the season. The win coupled with a 4-2 loss by the Wheeling Nailers to the Kalamazoo Wings secures Cincinnati’s spot in the 2020 Kelly Cup Playoffs. Cincinnati outshot the Komets, 36-23 on the night, while the power play converted on one of five chances.
Last Wednesday Recap: The Cincinnati Cyclones (36-16-7-1) earned a 5-2 win over the Kalamazoo Wings on Wednesday night. Forward Justin Vaive led the way with a pair of goals, while forwards Phil Hudon and Nate Mitton, along with defenseman Tobie Bisson added lone tallies for the Cyclones, who exploded for three power play goals in the third period. The Cyclones outshot Kalamazoo, 33-26, on the evening, with goaltender Michael Houser stopping 24 in the win.
Previewing Toledo: The Walleye enter Wednesday night seven points back of the Cyclones for first place in the ECHL’s Central Division, with four games in hand. Toledo has won six of their last eight games, and are coming off a 5-1 win over the Kalamazoo Wings on Sunday afternoon. Their offense has been on display in recent games, as they have outscored teams, 39-16 over the last nine games, and have three or more goals in all but two of those contests. They are third in the ECHL with 3.79 goals scored per game, and sixth with 2.76 goals against per 60 minutes. They are led by forward Josh Kestner who has accounted for a team-leading 32 goals along with 38 assists for 70 points. He is followed by forwards Shane Berschbach (20g, 41a) and TJ Hensick (16g, 39a) who round out the top three. In goal, Billy Christopoulos leads the way with a record of 23-3-3-0, along with a 2.27 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage.
Inside the Series: Wednesday is the finale of the 10-game season series between the Cyclones and Walleye, with Cincinnati holding a 3-3-2-1 record through the first nine games.
Next Game Preview: Cincinnati is of to Wheeling on Friday night to conclude their 10-game season series with the Nailers. The Cyclones have won two in a row against Wheeling, and are 5-3-1-0 through nine games this season.
Houser Named ECHL Goaltender of the Week: Cyclones goaltender Michael Houser has been named the Warrior Hockey / ECHL Goaltender of the Week for the week of March 2-8. Houser was a perfect 3-0-0-0 for the ‘Clones last week with two shutouts, and he posted a .067 goals-against average and a .972 save percentage. This is the fourth time in his career he has earned an ECHL weekly honor. Houser started his week with a 24-save performance in Wednesday’s 5-2 win over the Kalamazoo Wings, and followed it up with a perfect 23-for-23 night on Friday in a 3-0 defeat of the Ft. Wayne Komets. Friday’s win was the first shutout of the season for Houser, and the fifth overall for the Cyclones this season. He one-upped himself on Saturday night, stopping all 24 shots he saw in a 1-0 victory of the Toledo Walleye. Saturday’s win marked the second time this season a Cyclones goaltender has posted back-to-back shutouts this season, joining Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen had two perfect games in a row on November 14 and 16. Houser is now the second goaltender to post back-to-back clean sheets for the ‘Clones since the team returned to action prior to the 2006-2007 season. Houser is tied for fifth in the ECHL with a 2.27 GAA along with a .902 SV%, and he has an overall record of 16-5-4-1. He has won five games in a row, allowing two or fewer goals in each of them, and he has only allowed more than three goals four times this season.
Luukkonen Reassigned: The Rochester Americans, Cincinnati’s American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate have reassigned Cyclones goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen. Recalled by the Americans on January 29, Luukkonen appeared on eight games for Rochester during his recall, posting a 3-3-2 record along with a 3.38 goals-against average and an .844 save percentage. Overall, in 10 games with the Americans this season, Luukkonen has appeared in 10 games, and has a mark of 3-4-3-0, along with a 3.15GAA and an .874 SV%. Named the Cyclones’ representative for the 2020 Warrior/ECHL All-Star Classic, Luukkonen has skated in 22 games for the Cyclones this season, accounting for a record of 12-6-3-0, and he ranks second with a 2.16 goals-against average, to go along with a .916 save-percentage. He is also tied for fourth in the ECHL with three shutouts. Luukkonen has allowed more than three goals on just six occasions this season, and has made 25 or more saves on 10 occasions. He was named the Warrior Hockey/ECHL Goaltender of the Month for December after posting a record of 6-2-1-0 and a 1.88 goals-against average along with a .925 save percentage.
Playoff Bound: By virtue of Cincinnati’s 3-0 win over the Ft. Wayne Komets on Friday night, coupled with a loss by the Wheeling Nailers to the Kalamazoo Wings, the Cyclones have secured a spot in the 2020 Kelly Cup Playoffs. This will the 11th trip to the postseason for the Cyclones since the 2006-07 season, and the fourth berth in the last five seasons. The Cyclones won the Brabham Cup last season as ECHL Regular Season Champions, along with the Central Division title, however they fell to the Toledo Walleye in the Central Division Finals in five games. Cincinnati has two Kelly Cup Championships to their credit; a 4 games to 2 series win over the Las Vegas Wranglers in 2008, and a 4 games to 1 victory over the Idaho Steelheads in 2010. The Cyclones made a third trip to the Kelly Cup Finals in 2014 where they lost to the Alaska Aces in six games.
Strong D: Cincinnati is fourth in the ECHL with 2.54 goals allowed per game, and pace the League with 25.42 shots against per 60 minutes. They are the only team in the ECHL averaging under 27 shots against per game, and the Cyclones have allowed 27 shots or fewer in 30 of their last 34 games. The Cyclones have allowed three or fewer goals in 37 of their last 46 games, and have given up more than three on just 12 occasions all season. They are 35-6-5-1 this season when allowing three or fewer goals.
Defensively Offensive: Cyclones defenseman Tobie Bisson has goals in four of his last seven games and points in six of his last 10 contests. (5g, 1a), Additionally, defenseman Justin Baudry has accounted for four goals and nine assists over his last 13 games, and is fourth on the team in scoring with 37 points (11g, 26a).
When it Rains, it Pours: After being held to three or fewer goals in nine of their previous 11 games, the Cyclones have scored 39 goals over their last 11 games, leading them to nine wins in that span.
Holding the Lead: Cincinnati has an 25-3-2-1 mark when scoring the game’s first goal, and they are perfect in regulation when leading through two periods this season, accounting for a mark of 26-0-2-0.
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!