The Boys came out firing on all cylinders Saturday night and captured a 3-2 win highlighted by a 1 goal, 1 assist night for Dustin Sproat and the beat down Hans Benson gave to Rob LaLonde. In the Sunday afternoon rematch the Cyclones came out flat in the first giving up 2 early goals and they never really recovered on the way to a 4-2 loss, their first loss in 5 games. The weekend split with Reading shows how far the Team has come since the start of the year, but also shows there is still growing to do.

-The Cyclones put forward Mark O’Leary on waivers Saturday. This was probably to make room for Mark Van Guilder, but could also indicate that Mark Voakes is getting close to returning.

-Speaking of Mark Van Guilder…I thought he looked like he was pressing and trying to force his game a bit on Saturday night. He looked much more like the player of last season on Sunday. He didn’t register on the score sheet in either game, but if his play on Sunday is any indication, that will should change soon. In possibly related news, it’s been reported that Nashville forward Jordan Tootoo is out for 4 to 6 weeks. I haven’t seen any roster moves yet, but with Milwaukee playing tonight in Toronto and Tuesday in Hamilton, Nashville playing tonight and Thursday night, I’ll be surprised if something doesn’t happen at some point.

-Dwayne Zinger…OK OK, I’ll leave him alone, at least until Tuesday. Honestly, I think Dwayne played his 2 best games of the season and I hope he keeps it up.

-I liked what I saw out of Jeremy Smith. In past games I’ve noticed him struggle after giving up early goals. I thought he played very well, in spite of giving up the 4 goals. On the 1st goal there were maybe some things he could have done different, but it was an amazing pass from former ‘Clone Ben Gordon to Daniel Steiner, who had eluded his check to receive the pass as he skated to the weak side post unmolested, that made the goal. Then second goal deflected off of Doug Krantz. He probably wants the 3rd goal back, but it was a well placed rocket of a shot by Stefano Giliati that was created by a horrendous turnover off the stick of Ryan Del Monte. On the 4th, a power play goal, the puck managed to find it’s way through 4 players, who were all screening Jeremy, before finally finding the back of the net. Smith battled throughout, in a game that, from the start, just felt like it was going to be one of those games were nothing goes right.

-Reading won the special teams battle going 2 for 12 on the power play whereas the Cyclones were shutout on their 7 chances.

-Whoever picked the 3 stars for Sunday’s game put them in the wrong order. Personally would have gone with Zinger with the 3rd star, Gordon (Reading) with the 2nd and Reading goalie Dalton as the 1st. Sure Gordon had 2 assists, but Dalton stopped 36 of 38 shots and of those 38, 25 of them were high quality chances.

-I had a friend in the visitor’s tunnel waiting to play for the Cincinnait Fire Fighter Hockey Team and he relayed to me how visibly upset the Royals were with their play on Saturday Night. It’s impossible to know how the short turnaround effected the Cyclones, but Reading came out firing on Sunday and the score could have been much worse after the first period. I hope the Cyclones were as upset with their Sunday performance as Reading was with theirs the previous night.

-Next up is Toledo this Tuesday night (12/15).  Toledo will come to town on a 3 game win streak and trailing the Cyclones by just 1 point in the standings; the ‘Clones do have 2 games in hand on the Walleye.

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