Registering a season-high nine-goal effort, the Kalamazoo Wings dismantled the Toledo Walleye 9-1 Sunday afternoon at the Huntington Center.
Despite dominating the opening period of play by outshooting the Walleye 18-5 and winning 10 of the 13 face-offs, the K-Wings weren’t able to score in the first period.
Most of the K-Wings scoring chances in the first period came off the stick of Justin Taylor, who had five shots in the period.
Finally breaking through in the second period, Kalamazoo struck for four goals in the middle frame starting with Dustin Cloutier’s 10th goal of the season 49 seconds into the period.
Capitalizing on a power-play midway in the period, Trent Daavettila knocked in a rebound for his 16th goal of the season to push the K-Wings lead to 2-0.The goal was Daavettila’s eighth with a man-advantage, which ties him with Mike Matczak for the team-lead.
Keeping up the pressure moments later, Cloutier won a face-off back to Eric Kattelus, who one-timed a slap shot past Alec Richards to extend the lead to 3-0.
Kalamazoo ended the scoring in the period with Cloutier’s second of the night 18:26 into the second.
Dustin Carlson replaced Richards between the pipes to start the third period, but the change of goaltender didn’t impede the K-Wings assault.
Taylor snapped a 21-game scoring drought notching his 21st goal of the season on the K-Wings first shot on Carlson 1:47 into the third period.
Less than two minutes later, Nick Sirota (17th) extended his goal and point streak to four games riffling a slap shot over the shoulder of Carlson.
Following Sirota’s goal, the Walleye returned Richards to the game.
Earning his first goal of his pro career, Paul Cianfrini (1st) broke up the shutout bid 4:36 into the period for the Walleye’s lone goal of the afternoon.
Responding 12 seconds later, Daavettila (17th) extended the K-Wings lead to 7-1 knocking in a rebound from Dwight Helminen. The assist from Helminen extended his point streak to three games.
Capping off a K-Wings season-high five-point performance, Cloutier (12th) recorded the team’s first hat trick of the season on a backhander 8:48 into the period.
Kory Karlander concluded the K-Wings scoring late in the third period.
Kalamazoo outshot Toledo 42-23. Goaltender Riley Gill earned his 21st victory of the season making 22 saves.
The K-Wings will return to Wings Stadium this Friday, March 23rd versus the Chicago Express at 7:30 p.m. during Celebration! Cinema Night, featuring Batman and Spiderman and a Frugal Fan Friday, featuring $1 Beer, $1 Hot Dogs and $1 Pepsi Products.
Submitted by Mike Modugno