Saturday Dec 31st - Brampton Beast @ Kalamazoo 3:00pm at K-Wings Event Center
This is a light week for the K-Wings as they close out 2016 with a New Year’s Eve matinee against the Brampton Beast. Brampton has picked up 37 points in 28 games by going 17-8-2-2 on the season. The two teams have met once this season with Kalamazoo picking up the win in Brampton, 5-3. Anthony Camara made his debut in that November game, scoring twice, while Dajon Mingo had three assists.
The K-Wings went into the Christmas break by knocking off a Toledo Walleye team that had only lost once on home ice all season. It took 32 saves from Joel Martin, a third-period comeback, and a shoot-out, but Kalamazoo ended up with the 3-2 (SO) victory last Friday night.
Charlie Vasturo started the scoring late in the second period as he knocked in a pass from Kyle Blarney. Toledo tied it up just before the period ended as Kalamazoo coughed up the puck in their own zone and Dane Walters made them pay by putting the puck past Martin.
The first ten minutes of the third yielded no goals, but as final half of the third ticked down, the scoring leaders for both teams got on the board. First it was Tyler Sekura tipping a shot past Martin for his 13th goal of the season for Toledo. Justin Taylor took matters into his own hands and tapped his own rebound home for his 11th goal to tie the game. Taylor would score in the second round of the shoot-out while Martin blanked all three Walleye shooters for the win.
Post-Christmas, the team traveled to Cincinnati to take on the Cyclones. Cincinnati goalie Michael Hauser must have received some new pads under the tree. He turned aside 35 of the 36 shots the K-Wings fired at the Cyclones net minder. Tanner Sorenson was the only Kalamazoo player that was able to solve him as he fired home the puck off of an Eric Kattelus rebound.
The goal, Sorenson’s 6th of the season, brought the K-Wings within one early in the third period, but they were unable to tie the game up. Cincinnati would score at the 14 minute mark to extend their lead to 3-1 and then tap in an empty netter to seal the win with 30 seconds to go. The K-Wings struggled with the man advantage as they went 0-7 on the power play.
Back at the Wings Event Center the very next day, the K-Wings had to take on a Toledo squad looking for a little payback. With Nick Riopel riding the bench in Syracuse, Joel Martin took to the ice for the second time in as many nights. He preformed well, stopping 24 of 28 shots, but once again Kalamazoo ran into a hot goaltender as the Walleye’s Jake Peterson stopped 34 of 35 shots in the 4-1 win.
After a scoreless first period, Toledo scored three times in the second to take hold of the game. Tylor Spink, A.J. Jenks, and Evan Rankin all scored within four minutes of each other and Kalamazoo was unable to get back into the match. Justin Taylor started a brief comeback attempt by scoring his team-leading 12th goal of the season. Tyson Spink joined his twin brother on the scoring sheet by beating Martin with a one-timer to close out the scoring.
Time for a call up?
With a fairly light schedule over the next two weeks and the Syracuse Crunch desperate for forwards due to injuries and call ups, maybe it’s time for a PTO contract for Camara. The Toronto native has scored 15 points in 24 games with the K-Wings and has played a fast, physical game that fits in well with what Syracuse does on the ice. Camara signed with Kalamazoo in order to get his career back on track and has done enough to at least earn a shot at the next rung on the ladder.
Congratulations to Joel Martin for being named the CCM/ECHL Goaltender of the Week for the week ending on December 23rd. It is the ninth time he’s earned the honor in his career that stretches over 324 ECHL games. His win against Toledo, in which he made 32 saves and stopped 3 shoot-out attempts, was a big part of the reason he won, and it also brings him within 1 win of the all-time Kalamazoo record.
Goals: 12 - Justin Taylor
Points: 23 - Justin Taylor
Wins: 7 - Joel Martin
Save %: .899 - Joel Martin