Nick Brunker's Blog
Gameday blogging in Florida...
March 22, 2013 | View Comments
Not a bad way to start the weekend...sunshine at 75 degrees. But make no mistake, it's a business trip for the Cyclones, as they hope to guarantee themselves no worse than 2nd in the Eastern Conference.
If the Cyclones can earn four points over the final five games, they'll seal a top-two spot. And with three of those next five games against non-playoff teams, things are shaping up nicely.
Looking ahead to tonight's game...here are some notes you need to get ready:
- With David Pacan and Josh Birkholz on recall in San Antonio. the Cyclones will be playing with 9 forwards and 7 defensemen. So while they've been in number crunches before, this round of call-ups hasn't left Cincy scrambling for bodies.
- Not much of a surprise, but Michael Houser will start tonight for the Clones...barring unforeseen circumstanes, I'd expect him to get the nod the rest of the regular season. He'll oppose Jesse Deckert tonight, who is surprisingly undefeated in his first five pro games.
- Florida is certainly going to be playing with some urgency tonight...while they're currently sitting in a fifth-place tie among the Eastern contenders, the race to the finish line is as close as ever. Just three points separate fourth through eighth. The Everblades magic number to clinch is 4 points.
- Special teams, as always, are going to be a major key tonight...the Blades have the third best PP unit in the ECHL - connecting on 21 percent of their chances. Cincy's PK has also been in the top 10 most of the year...they're up to 8th with an 83.6% kill rate.
Here's what else is going on tonight in the Eastern Conference tonight...
Fort Wayne Komets (32-32-3) at Elmira Jackals (36-23-7) 7:05 p.m. ET
· Fort Wayne’s Brandon Marino is third with 50 assists.
· Elmira’s Jordon Southorn is tied for fourth among defensemen in plus-minus at +23.
· Komets are 20-3-1 when leading after two periods.
· Jackals are fourth with 3.47 goals per game.
Gwinnett Gladiators (41-25-3) at South Carolina Stingrays (35-25-8) 7:05 p.m. ET
· Gwinnett’s Doug Jones is fifth among rookies with 48 points (21g-27a).
· South Carolina’s Ryan Zapolski is third with 25 wins. · Gladiators are fourth with 32.45 shots per game.
· Stingrays are second on the penalty kill at 84.8 percent (223-for-263).
Wheeling Nailers (29-26-11) at Trenton Titans (27-31-8) 7:05 p.m. ET
· Paul Crowder leads Wheeling against the Titans with seven goals and 11 points.
· Trenton’s Scott Wedgewood leads rookie goaltenders with 1,194 saves.
· Nailers are tied for third with five shorthanded goals against. · Titans are 21-5-3 when scoring first.
Toledo Walleye (34-24-9) at Kalamazoo Wings (32-28-6) 7:30 p.m. ET
· Toledo’s Wes O’Neill is fifth among defensemen with 11 goals.
· Kory Karlander leads Kalamazoo against the Walleye with nine points (5g-4a).
· Walleye lead the league with 33.97 shots per game.
· K-Wings are league’s least-penalized team with 12.85 penalty minutes per game.
Reading Royals (43-18-6) at Evansville IceMen (23-38-6) 7:15 p.m. CT
· Reading’s Riley Gill has allowed two goals or less in nine of his 10 games with the club.
· Evansville’s Daniel Tetrault is tied for third among defensemen with 36 points (12g-24a).
· Royals are second with 26.85 shots-against per game. · IceMen are third on the power play at home at 23.3 percent (30-for-129).
Clinching Scenarios in the ECHL tonight:
Elmira can clinch a berth in the Kelly Cup Playoffs on Friday if:
- Elmira wins AND Kalamazoo loses OR Elmira loses in overtime/shootout AND Kalamazoo loses in regulation
Florida can clinch a berth in the Kelly Cup Playoffs on Friday if:
- Florida wins AND Kalamazoo loses OR Florida loses in overtime/shootout AND Kalamazoo loses in regulation
South Carolina can clinch a berth in the Kelly Cup Playoffs on Friday if:
- South Carolina wins AND Kalamazoo loses in regulation