CINCINNATI– The Cincinnati Cyclones (35-25-3-0) continue their push to the playoffs by opening a pair of games with the Atlanta Gladiators (29-32-2-3) at US Bank Arena tonight at 7:35 pm ET.
Atlanta comes to the Buckeye State after dropping four of their last five. On Monday night, the Gladiators fell in a shootout against the South Carolina Stingrays. Although a tough loss, it was an improvement over their last meeting in which South Carolina pummeled Atlanta by a score of 5-0 on March 10.
Currently sitting in fourth place in the South Division, they hold a healthy six-point lead over the fifth place Jacksonville Icemen. Forward, and 2018 ECHL All Star, Phil Lane, has lived up to his mid-season accolades as he currently rides a four-game point streak that began on March 13. In that span, he’s recorded four goals and two assists (6pts.), tying him with Lindsay Sparks for the team high in overall points at 54 apiece. Lane, a second-round draft pick by the Arizona (then-Phoenix) Coyotes in 2010, leads the Gladiators in goals with 31 this season. His goal total nearly doubles the second highest goal scorer for Atlanta, Branden Troock, who sits at 17.
Cincinnati heads into tonight’s game after suffering an overtime loss to the Indy Fuel on Tuesday night. The Cyclones, who fell 4-3, were lead by Justin Vaive who recorded his third hat trick of the season that night. Continuing to dominate on the power-play, Vaive’s first two goals were scored while Cincinnati was on the man-advantage. The Cyclones boast the second best powerplay unit in the league at 20.6%. However, their penalty kill is the worst in the league at 76.1%. For Cyclones faithful, this shouldn’t be an issue during this set, as Atlanta holds the third-worst powerplay percentage at only 13.7%.
Despite the loss, the Cyclones continue to sit comfortably in third place in the Central Division with a five-point lead on the fourth place Kansas City Mavericks. However, after dropping the last three games in a row, it would do Cincinnati well to bring home a few extra points before they head out to Wheeling to visit the Nailers in a two-game series.
Big news came out of Atlanta on Tuesday afternoon, as the ECHL Board of Governors approved the Gladiators’ transfer of controlling interest. Previously handled by an entity controlled by Toby Jeffreys, Gwinnett County Hockey, LLC, has transferred the team’s rights to Daniel Orlich who owns Danor Vienna, LLC.
“For over 23 years as a fan of the ECHL and owner I want to thank everyone along the way who has been instrumental to our success – our loyal ownership group, sponsors, office and hockey staff, numerous players, our fans, the community, arena leadership and staff and my partners in the ECHL. I especially want to thank Bill Davidson and Steve Chapman for their dedication, vision and friendship – for without them, I could have never achieved what I have in minor league professional sports,” Jeffreys said in a league media release. “Lastly, the support and love of my family, I am really looking forward to spending more quality time with them. I will always remain a fan of the Gladiators and ECHL.”
Jeffreys relinquishes ownership after being with the Gladiators and the ECHL for over 20 years. Orlich takes over with a previous history of professional sports under his belt, owning the Edmonton Cracker-Cats of the Northern Baseball League for three years in the mid-2000’s.
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