The Gwinnett Gladiators avenged a loss six days earlier to the Kalamazoo Wings by coming-from-behind to defeat the K-Wings 4-3 Saturday night in a shootout.
Following a pregame ceremony to celebrate life by recognizing 14 breast cancer survivors that put the largest home crowd (4,754) of the season on their feet, the K-Wings kept them cheering by striking three times in the opening period.
While killing a penalty, Bryan Haczyk (13th) gave the K-Wings the lead scoring a shorthanded goal midway in the stanza. The tally was the K-Wings sixth shorthanded goal on the season.
Just over two minutes later at the 12 minute mark, Kory Karlander left a drop pass for Harry Young (2nd), who blasted a slap shot over the shoulder of Ryan Zapolski.
Haczyk earned his second point of the game with 35 seconds remaining in the period, as the forward pushed a centering pass to Eric Kattelus, who tipped it through the legs of Zapolski to extend his point streak to four games.
Bouncing back in the second period, Shawn Szydlowski (1st) earned the Gladiators first goal of the night and his first of his pro career with a right circle slap shot 46 seconds into the period.
Inching closer Tyler Murovich (12th) fought in front of the K-Wings net and knocked in a rebound 7:44 into the middle frame to cut the K-Wings lead to a single goal.
An innocent shot proved costly for the K-Wings in the third period, as former K-Wing Tyler Kindle’s slap shot was heading wide of Maxime Clermont, until it hit off the hand of Justin Taylor and into the net to tie the game at 3-3.
Remaining tied after regulation and overtime, the Gladiators outscored the K-Wings 4-2 in the shootout to secure the win.
Despite the loss, the K-Wings extended their unbeaten streak in regulation to four games (3-0-0-1).
The K-Wings will continue their four-game home stand with the second-leg tomorrow, Sunday, February 19th, versus the Chicago Express at 4 p.m. on Charter Media Night and a Family Hockey in the ‘ZOO, presented by Meijer, Pepsi, Charter and the Kalamazoo Gazette. The first 500 kids will receive a FREE K-Wings superhero, presented by Charter Media. During all Sunday games all kids eat FREE and all fans can skate FREE with the team after the game (skate rental is $3).
Tickets for all K-Wings home games are $12.90 and $16.90 for adults and only $6.90 for kids ages 12 and under. The price for all K-Wings premium night games (all colored ice games and New Year’s Eve game) are just $1 more. Fans can save money by purchasing K-Wings single game tickets in advance because tickets purchased on the day of a game increase by $1.
Submitted by Mike Modugno