The Week Ahead:
Friday vs. Greenville Swamp Rabbits @ Wings Event Center 7:00pm
Wednesday @ Elmira Jackels 7:05pm
The weekend started great for the Wings as they jumped out to a 3-0 lead over the Toledo Walleye through the first two periods of the game on Friday. Ben Wilson, Tyler Shattock and Lane Scheidl all found the back of the net as Kalamazoo looked to put a winning streak together. Unfortunately, the Walleye had different plans. They stormed back to tie the game in the third and then won 4-3 in the shootout on a spectacular goal by former Syracuse Cruncher Evan Rankin.
Toledo hockey player scores dazzling shootout goal https://t.co/QlmqG53Di5— ESPN NHL coverage (@ESPN_NHL) November 19, 2016
On Saturday the two teams were back at it, but the roles were reversed, at least at first. Toledo jumped out to the three goal lead in the first two periods. Scheidl and Brian Hart would score to draw the K-Wings within one goal before Toledo scored three times in a two-and-a-half minute stretch to pull away with a 6-2 victory.
Wednesday night found the Wings in Indianapolis for their first meeting with the Fuel. Anthony Camara scored two goals and Eric Kattelus added two assists in the 5-3 loss. Kalamazoo led briefly in the second period before the Fuel scored three in a row to take control of the game. Tanner Sorenson also scored in the loss.
Hoping to salvage a win on Thanksgiving, the Wings headed to Fort Wayne to battle the Komets. It was an emotional night as the Komets were mourning the passing of longtime broadcaster Bob Chase. Chase, 90, had called games for the Komets for 63 years. Fort Wayne coach Gary Graham admitted to the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel that the team wanted to “deliver a win for Bob's family and for Bob,” comparing the pressure to a playoff Game 7.
Sadly, after playing to a 1-1 tie after the first 20 minutes thanks to another goal from Lane Sheidl, the rest of game would belong to Fort Wayne. They scored five unanswered goals over the next 40 minutes to run away with a 6-1 victory.
While the Wings weren't shut out this week, they did go back to struggling on the power play, going 2 for 18 with the man advantage.
The Wings are officially struggling as they return home after a five-game road trip. They lost the last four games on that road trip and have only two wins in their last ten games overall. They now find themselves at the bottom of the central division. While the lack of offense has been the primary cause of their woes, they have also been giving up their fair share of goals lately.
Luckily, they will be facing two teams that they should be able to beat
On Friday, they host the Greenville Swamp Rabbits, who bring a 4-5-2 record into the contest. The Swamp Rabbits have only played eleven games this season due to some issues with their rink during their opening weekend in October. They had to postpone two games due to the ice not being suitable.
The New York Rangers affiliate has struggled a bit on offense. Greenville has only scored 30 goals in their eleven games. Three of their four wins came early in the season when Brandon Halverson was in net. Since his call up to Hartford in early November, they have struggled to replace him in net. Mackenzie Skapski and Jeff Malcolm both are carrying GAAs above 4.
The Wings will then have a few days off before traveling to Elmira to face the Jackals on Wednesday. Much like Kalamazoo, the Jackals are struggling to both score (23 goals in 13 games) and win (2 wins). Daultan Leveille, a first round draft pick in 2008 by the Atlanta Thrashers (part of the Marion Hossa trade), leads the team with eight points.
Coming and Going:
There were a couple of roster moves this weekend. The Wings brought in Adam Brace (he didn’t appear in either game over the holiday) as they saw Brian Hart return to Syracuse. The Hart move seemed odd at the time as he had struggled a little during his tenure in Kalamazoo. However, once Syracuse announced that Cory Conachar and Gabrial Dumont were day-to-day with injuries, it made more sense. Hart is under contract with the Crunch and was the most convenient player to fill the gap as he didn't require a Player Tryout Offer or any other contract manipulations.
Anthony Camara continues to provide offense for a team struggling to put the puck in the net. He has five goals and three assists in the ten games he's played for the Wings. With the Crunch struggling as well, they might be intrigued enough by his play to go through the process of offering him a PTO.
Goals: 5 - Anthony Camara
Points: 11- Justin Taylor
Wins: 3 – Joel Martin and Nick Riopel
GAA: 2.49 Nick Riopel