CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Cyclones (26-18-2-0) go head-to-head against the Wichita Thunder (25-18-3-0) in a Western Conference matchup. On the last night of Marvel Super Heroes Weekend, puck drops at 7:30.
The Cyclones come into tonight’s contest in the midst of a four-game win streak that began after sweeping the Kansas City Mavericks in a three-game series, then following it up with a win last night against the Tulsa Oilers.
Last night, Cincinnati defeated Tulsa 5-2 in a vicious battle. The two teams combined for 79 penalty minutes, with the Oilers being held responsible for 50 of them. Overall, the players kept the officials busy, earning three major penalties, four misconduct penalties, along with a few handfuls worth of minor infractions.
Penalties aside, the contest proved to be an impressive night for the Cyclones forwards. The Cyclones had several standout performances, including five multi-point performances. Justin Vaive and Alex Kile each had two goals, while Chris Leone came out as the leading scorer of the night with one point and two assists. Three skaters carried their streaks into another day, as Vaive now sits at five goals and three assists in four games, and Justin Danforth notched five goals and eight assists within six games. In what is once again that highlight, Daniel Muzito-Bagenda tallied three assists to extend his point streak to a league-high of ten games (5g-13a). He holds the title of longest active point streak with Reading’s forward, Matt Willows, who has scored five goals and 11 assists.
Wichita comes into tonight’s contest after falling to the Fort Wayne Komets by a score of 8-4. Despite the rough night, a few players were able to shine, including one-goal and one-assist performances by Travis Brown and Jeremy Beaudry. Kevin Dufour and Nick Latta notched the other two goals for their squad. Dufour will be one to watch, as the rookie is one of the leading Thunder scorers behind Ralph Cuddemi and Mark MacMillan.
Wichita’s highest-scoring rookie, Dufour (15g-16a — 31pts.) sits 24 points behind Danforth, the league’s leading rookie.
The Thunder have struggled a bit on the road with a 10-10-1-0 record, allowing ten goals more than they have scored in those 21 games. However, the Thunder are 17-6 (.739) when scoring the first goal of the game.
If Cincinnati is going to be successful, they only need to continue playing the way they have recently. If anything should be emphasized, it’s the Cyclones’ knack of shooting a high percentage of shots from high danger areas, a proven point of vulnerability for the Thunder.