CINCINNATI– The Cincinnati Cyclones (25-18-2-0) defeated the Kansas City Mavericks (25-22-0-1) by a score of 5-2 on Thursday night at US Bank Arena. Cincinnati’s win put them in a playoff spot, taking the place of Kansas City by only one point.
The Mavericks got off to a rough start as they did not record their first shot until 7:22 of the opening period. Although the Cyclones dominated the opening part of the frame, the Mavericks ultimately made the first mark on the scoreboard at 8:45 when Jordan Kwas was fed from behind the net, ready and rearing back for a shot over the shoulder of goaltender, Jason Kasdorf. 69 seconds later, Kansas City doubled their lead when Shawn Pauly notched his 12th goal of the season.
After a few heated moments throughout the period, the Cyclones were able to cut the Mavericks lead in half. With just under two minutes left in the opening frame and on the power play, Eric Knodel fed Justin Vaive from across the Kansas City zone, who quickly transferred the puck to Justin Danforth in front of the net. The rookie forward wasted no time snapping in his 26th goal of the season. KC ended the first period with a 2-1 lead.
The Cyclones had an explosive second period, tallying three goals. Brycen Martin put in his second goal of the year to open the period’s scoring at 8:02. Knodel was responsible for the remaining two, putting in his tenth and eleventh goals on the year. Cincy’s third goal, and Knodel’s second of the period, came courtesy of a great breakout. Danforth worked the puck in, faked a shot and saucer-passed the puck over a sliding Mavericks defenseman to hit Knodel perfectly for the backhand tap-in.
The third frame proved to be a quiet one in terms of goals, except for Brandon McNally’s goal at 9:10. However, despite the lack of goals, both teams fought with an energy reminiscent of the first period.
Pauly was awarded a shorthanded penalty shot but was unable to beat Kasdorf for his second goal of the game. Pauly is the only Mavericks player to be awarded a penalty shot this season, and he has two – both shorthanded.
Penalty killing proved to be a struggle all night for the Mavericks as they allowed two goals on five power play opportunities, plus an additional one right after getting back to even strength.
Kansas City gave up five unanswered goals to a team which has had its number all weekend. The Mavericks have been depleted by injuries and call-ups and looked exhausted as the game wore on. Parsons faced 31 shots in the loss and played relatively well considering the volume of high-quality chances the Mavericks allowed the Cyclones to tee up.
Considering Kansas City plays division-leader Toledo to finish up their weekend, their recent play is a bit worrisome for a team who is struggling to make the playoffs.
Cincinnati’s victory saw four streaks live on. Knodel and Vaive both extended theirs to three games; Knodel notching two goals and four assists, and Vaive with two goals and three assists within that span. Most notably, Daniel Muzito-Bagenda is now sitting on a nine-game point streak with five goals and ten assists during that time frame, and Danforth with five goals and seven assists in five games.
Three of the five goals came during or immediately following a power play opportunity. Earlier in the season, this proved to be a weak spot for the ‘Clones. In regards to their recent success, Vaive said, “I think just shooting the puck. I think we were trying over complicate things for a while there and we were turning it over, making too many passes and just kind of throw it to the net and collapse on it, and it’s paying off.”
The Cyclones continue their three-in-three homestand Friday night when they face the Tulsa Oilers in the first of two Marvel Nights.