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Kalamazoo Wings Recap: Pushing for the playoffs

A new found ability to score goals has the K-Wings knocking on the door to the post season

Used with the permission of the Kalamazoo Wings

Upcoming Week:

Friday - Kalamazoo @ Quad City Mallards, 7:05pm EST

Saturday - Indy Fuel @ Kalamazoo, 7:00pm EST

Sunday - Fort Wayne Komets @ Kalamazoo, 3:00pm EST

Tuesday - Fort Wayne Komets @ Kalamazoo, 7:00pm EST

With three of their next four games against teams that they are trailing in the standings, there is a good opportunity for the K-Wings to make up some ground. With 48 points they are still on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs, but the gap is growing smaller and smaller.

Kalamazoo went 9-2 in January to reverse a season that was starting to get away from them. Their offense has come alive as they averaged 3.72 goals per game during the month, almost a goal a game more than the 2.84 they’ve averaged on the season.

Last Week

Friday February 3rd - Wheeling Nailers at home:

Riding a five-game winning streak, the Kalamazoo Wings took on the Wheeling Nailers at the Wings Event Center. It was an uphill battle from the start as the Nailer’s Jordan Kwas beat Joel Martin at the 3:24 mark to open the scoring. Justin Taylor did bring the K-Wings even before the close of the first frame by netting his 21st goal of the season.

The Nailers took control of the game late in the second as Darryl Lloyd and Gage Quinney scored 30 seconds apart to give Wheeling a 3-1 lead. Kalamazoo was outshot 20-3 in one of their worst periods in recent times. They turned things around in the third, firing 14 shots at Doug Carr, but were only able to beat him just before the buzzer when Kyle Bushee scored with the extra attacker. Martin made 39 saves in the losing effort.

Saturday February 4th- at Toledo Walleye:

After suffering only their third loss of 2017 the K-Wings traveled to Toledo to try and narrow the gap on the division leading Walleye. In front of 8,300 fans the two teams played a tight first period with each team getting 10 shots on net but failing to score a goal.

It wouldn’t be until after seven minutes had eclipsed in the second period that the offensive floodgates opened. Toledo opened the scoring as Tyson Spink scored his 21st of the year, beating Nick Riopel through the five-hole with a backhander.

From that point on it would be all Kalamazoo. Blake Kessel started the scoring spree by joining the rush and beating Jake Paterson to even the score. Josh Pitt gave the K-Wings the lead by scoring with just under 90 seconds to go in the period.

Pitt kept the scoring going, scoring his second of the game five minutes into the third. In the next two minutes the K-Wings tacked on two more as Lane Scheidl and Kyle Bushee both found the back of the net. Despite giving up a late goal, the K-Wings cruised to a 5-2 victory, handing the Walleye only their 5th loss on home ice.

The contest led to a little old-fashioned Twitter chirping between the teams’ social media accounts.

Fitting in nicely:

It took a little longer than the team would have liked, but Blake Kessel seems to be fitting in nicely with the Kalamazoo Wings. Since joining the team after his PTO with the Milwaukee Admirals, the 25-year-old defender has scored 7 points in 7 games with the K-Wings. His offense has added a nice dynamic to a team that struggled to find goals early in the season.

Coach Nick Bootland has described him as being a “great leader on the ice and in the dressing room since his arrival.” The coach praised his contributions in helping the power play and called him a “solid fit since his arrival”.

Having a smooth-skating puck-mover will help the team as they make the push for the playoffs.

Leaders:

Points: 42 - Justin Taylor

Goals: 21 - Justin Taylor

Wins: 14 - Joel Martin

SV%: .907 - Joel Martin