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CINCINNATI – The Cincinnati Cyclones (24-18-2-0) face off against the Kansas City Mavericks (25-21-0-1) in the last game between the Central Division rivals in the 2017-18 regular season. The first 2,000 adult fans will receive a Cyclones t-shirt, and all fans 21 and over can enjoy college-priced beverages for the club’s legendary $1 beer night. Puck drops at 7:30 p.m., with doors opening an hour prior.

The Mavericks come to US Bank Arena after dropping a pair of games to the Cyclones over the weekend. Cincinnati, who is coming into the series with the playoffs essentially on the line, gained four crucial points in their 5-1 (Feb. 2) and 4-1 (Feb. 3) victories. With only one point separating the two clubs (KC- 51, CIN- 50), the Cyclones could claim a playoff-eligible spot in a regulation win tonight.

Newcomer Jake Flegel added size to the Cyclones roster upon signing a contract before last Friday’s matchup. The defenseman out of Adrian College made an early impression, playing a role in the team’s victory with his late third period goal.

Cincinnati’s offense fired on all cylinders over the weekend, seeing 11 players notch a point between the two nights, five of which scored multiple times. Picking up where he left off before getting a well-deserved call to Rochester, Justin Danforth notched five points during the series (2G, 3A), maintaining his title as highest-scoring rookie in the league. Also keeping up with current trends, Daniel Muzito-Bagenda and Justin Vaive continue to tear up the score sheet. Despite not assisting in each other’s goals, the forwards’ prowess continues to shine, combining for six points (3G, 3A).

In arguably the most notable performance on the team this season, Muzito-Bagenda kept his point streak alive throughout the series. During the last meet-up between Cincy and KC on Saturday, the veteran forward knocked in a goal and two helpers, extending his streak to eight games. Within the span of the streak, Muzito-Bagenda has recorded five goals and 10 assists, launching him to the Cyclones sixth highest scorer (7G, 19A–26pts).

Kansas City Mavericks vs. Cincinnati Cyclones, February 2, 2018, Silverstein Eye Centers Arena, Independence, Missouri. Photo: © John Howe / Howe Creative Photography, all rights reserved 2018.

In another combined preview, Joe Rozycki (@SinBinMavs) offers his take on the final game of the season series:

After getting swept on home ice by the Cyclones last weekend, the Mavericks need to pick up two points tonight in Cincinnati. Matt MacDonald’s squad came into Independence and imposed their will in 120 minutes of impressive hockey in which the Mavericks could not match the intensity of their visitors.

The Mavericks will rely heavily on their two hottest players coming into Thursday’s matchup with the Cyclones. Forward Mark Cooper is riding a six-game point streak, and rookie goalie sensation Tyler Parsons returns from the AHL in time for this huge division tilt. Parsons won his previous two starts before his recent call-up to Stockton, stopping 57 of the 59 shots he faced versus Rapid City and Colorado.

While it’s not necessarily a “must win” game for the Mavericks, it certainly is an important game to win. A loss would knock them out of the playoff picture as Cincinnati would take over sole possession of fourth place in the Central Division. A win would provide a little cushion over the Cyclones, but also give the Mavericks some momentum heading into a two-game set with the division-leading Toledo Walleye this upcoming weekend.

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