The two previous games between the Kalamazoo Wings and Chicago Express were ended in either overtime or a shootout and Friday night would be no different, as the Express defeated the K-Wings 4-3 in overtime.

Scoring twice in the first five minutes of the contest, Kalamazoo propelled ahead of Chicago. For the second straight game, the K-Wings earned their first goal in the opening minute of play, this time with a deflection from Justin Taylor 52 seconds in the period. The goal, which was setup by a slap shot from Sam Ftorek, was Taylor’s team-leading 12th of the season. Also assisting on the goal was Brandon Svendsen, who extended his team-lead in scoring with 28 points.

Friday night was Svendsen’s first game back with the K-Wings since December 13th, a span of five games, due to being loan to the American Hockey League’s Binghamton Senators.

Taking full advantage of their first power-play of the night, Ftorek earned his second point of the contest registering his seventh-goal of the season with a right-point slap shot. Trent Daavettila and Darryl Bootland earned assists on the tally. For Daavettila the helper was his team-leading 22nd of the season, while Bootland extended his point streak to a K-Wings’ season-high eight games.

While the K-Wings controlled the first 20 minutes, the middle stanza belonged to the Express. Devin DiDiomete cut Chicago’s deficit in half by finding Nathan Lutz sneaking in from the blue line 6:25 into the second period

With just 22 seconds remaining in the period, the Express pulled even, when Tyler Donati (7th) notched his team-leading 25th point of the season with a wrist shot from the slot.

Chad Painchaud gave the Express with 1:47 remaining in regulation, netting his eighth -goal of the season and his fifth against the K-Wings from a centering pass from Donati.

Battling back 1:30 later and camped in front of the Express net, Bootland (8th) forced overtime with a power-play deflection off a Mike Matczak slap shot.

In the extra session, Pierre-Luc Faubert (8th) struck with the game-winner 4:28 into overtime with a wrister from the slot.

Despite the loss, the K-Wings remain one point ahead of the Express for first place in the North Division standings. The loss was also Kalamazoo fifth straight (0-4-1-0).

For Game Stats:

The K-Wings will return home tomorrow, Saturday, December 31st with a 7:30 p.m. face-off versus the Toledo Walleye during the 10th Annual New Year’s Eve Bash Presented by Cool 101 and WMMT News Channel 3.

Fans that purchase tickets for the game on December 31st will receive FREE admittance to both the public skate and pre and post game concert featuring The Bronk Brothers. Due to limited skate rentals, the K-Wings encourage fans to bring their own skates.

Submitted by Mike Modugno

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