It’s superhero night in Downtown Cincinnati! The Cyclones (26-25-5) will look to break out of this slump as they welcome in the division-leading Fort Wayne Komets (38-13-6) in the first of a home-and-home set that will see the Cyclones host the Komets Saturday night. Then turn around and the Komets will host the Cyclones in Fort Wayne on Sunday afternoon. And yes, you’re reading that correctly. They spell Comets with a K. Weird, I know.
This comes after another frustrating loss at the hands of the Orlando Solar Bears last night by a final of 3-2. I have to tell you, the Cyclones could not have picked a worse time to go into a slump. Losers of four of their last five, Cincinnati now finds themselves on the outside looking in. They sit in a 5th place tie with the Indy Fuel, just 1 point behind the 4th place Wheeling Nailers. The puck luck just was not on Cincinnati’s side last night. 90% of the bounces went towards Orlando, and I preached it before, so I’ll preach it again. The ECHL desperately needs to add video replay in all arenas. Because of the lack of this, the Cyclones were once again victimized. Officials can’t look up at the video board to make their decision so they have to go by memory and what they saw. Referee Mike Sheehan first signaled no goal, then two seconds later, called it a goal. The replay on the video board showed the net had clearly been knocked off by a Solar Bear before crossing the goal line. This would unfortunately be the eventual game winner as the Cyclones come back efforts fell short.
If there was ever a time to get something going, it needs to happen now. However, with a team as good as Fort Wayne, it isn’t going to be easy. These two teams haven’t hooked up since November. On the season series so far, the Cyclones are 0-0-2 against the Komets, falling in two shootouts. Shootouts if you can’t tell are not a strength for Cincinnati, who hold a 1-5 record in shootouts. If we could avoid those at all costs, that’d be just fine and dandy.
After a night like that, it will be interesting to see how the Cyclones respond. The Komets are coming off of a 2-1 Overtime victory over the Toledo Walleye last night at Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne. An impressive night for one Komet goaltender in particular. With Roman Will injured and Pat Nagle in the AHL, the Komets signed goaltender Mark Guggenberger. Guggenberger made 25 saves on 26 shots in his Fort Wayne debut for the victory against a powerhouse Toledo team that probably doesn’t have a book on him so, advantage Guggenberger. He’ll likely get the start between the pipes against Cincinnati’s Rob Madore. Two players the Cyclones will want to keep their eyes on is the dynamic duo that always give them trouble. The chemistry between former Cyclone Mike Embach and Shawn Szydlowski is insane. They always know how to find each other on the ice and never fail when it comes to making Cincinnati fans hate life. If there is one key to success Saturday night, it’s shutting those two down and keeping them off the score sheet.
Friday night, we also saw the debut of the new guys in town. I’ll be the first to say it, I was very impressed with Jack Downing and Garrick Perry. Had the puck luck been there, both could have easily had their first goals in Cincinnati uniforms. Downing, who has an absolute laser for a shot, rung a few off the crossbar. Perry, the speedy rookie, had several good looks at the net but just couldn’t solve Orlando goaltender, Maxime Clermont. Now that they’ve got the jitters out of their system and have settled in, I’ve got a feeling it won’t be long before those two really start to put up some numbers.
We’ll be honoring all superhero characters Saturday night at U.S. Bank Arena. In addition to specialty Iron Man jerseys that will be auctioned off after the game, several Marvel characters will be in the house. We drop the puck at 7:35p.m. EST in a crucial North Division bout.
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