Here is some quick news and notes as we head into a 2 game set with Reading:
-The Cyclones should have a new face in the line-up this weekend. According to the AHL transaction page Mark Van Guilder has been loaned to Cincinnati. Van Guilder led the 08-09 Cyclones with 22g-44a for 70pts. He’s played in 13 games for the Admirals. His production has struggled a bit in the AHL, and with the play of Chris Mueller, Milwaukee can afford to send Mark here for a few games to hopefully jump start his game. Mark got off to a slow start last season but came on strong late in the season after finding confidence in his game.
-Speaking of Chris Mueller, he’s played in 12 games for the Admirals scoring 2 goals and logging 3 assists. If he continues with that effort, I can’t see him coming back to Cincinnati anytime soon.
-The Reading Royals come to town leading the East Division with 29 points, which is also good for 3rd in the conference. The Cyclones have 27 points but have 2 games in hand on the Royals.
-Reading will give up goals. While the Royals come into town with a winning record they have given up more goals than they’ve scored. Their roster boasts 4 goalies, 3 of which have GAA’s over 3. Rookie Matt Dalton gets the bulk of the action for the Royals and sports a 3.47 GAA and a .906 SV%.
-Return of the Bens and a Joey. Ben Gordon, Ben Mcleod and Joey Ryan will return to Cincinnati. Gordon and McLeod, along with 2 players to be named later, were sent to Reading at the trade deadline last season for Mac Faulkner and Gerard Miller. Joey Ryan became a part of the trade in the post season and was expected to play this season for the Toronto Marlies but found himself at the bottom of the depth chart for the defensively deep Marlies. The final player in the trade was Kyle Rank who is currently playing for the Portland Pirates. An underachiever last season Gordon leads the Royals with 11 goals and 16 assists for 27 points.
-The Cyclones PK Unit has climbed back to 2nd in the league, killing off 85.4% of the short handed situations they face. The Royals on the other hand are 18th in the league with just a 79.5% kill rate. The teams have nearly identical PP Units; the Cyclones converting on 16.5% of their chances and Reading converting at 16.4%. Reading has accumulated over 200 more PIMs than the Cyclones, so I give the Cyclones the advantage in the special teams battle.
-Reading has 2 players in the top 20 of the League when it comes to scoring in Ben Gordon and Daniel Steiner.
This is definitely not last years Reading Royals team. They’ve been upgraded at nearly every position. I think the the keys for the Cyclones are:
*Be tenacious on the forecheck. Get pucks deep and keep them there.
*Get a goal early. With 2 young net minders and most likely playing against a rookie goalie, getting the first goal does wonders for the confidence of whom ever we have in net and establishishes doubt in the head of the opposition.
*Stay balanced. The past few games have seen different lines and different players involved in the scoring making it very difficult to match up defensively.
*Shut them down. The numbers indicate that Reading gets much of their scoring from just a few players. The Cyclones have to shut these guys down and force someone else to step up.
*Win the 5 on 5 game and make Reading pay on the PP. The Cyclones have been iffy on the PP this season but with Readings questionable PK Unit, the Cyclones have to convert and make Royals pay.