ESTERO, Fla. — After being crushed by the Florida Everblades 9-3 on Friday, the Kalamazoo Wings looked to turn things around on Saturday night before heading back to Michigan.
The loss was the largest of the season for the K-Wings and the nine goals allowed were the most given up to date.
Starting off on the right foot on Saturday night, the K-Wings’ Nick Sirota tossed the puck over the shoulder of John Muse just under five minutes into the game for the early 1-0 lead. Sirota extended his point streak to six games with the goal.
Brayden Irwin tied the game just over a minute later and added another goal later in the period by Trevor Bruess to take a 2-1 lead.
Darryl Bootland tied the game late in the period while on the power play with his team-leading 24th goal of the year.
Regaining the lead in the second, the Everblades’ Scott Pitt scored the only goal of the period.
A scoring frenzy that saw the two teams combine for three goals in a span of just under two minutes left the two teams tied with 12 minutes to go in regulation.
Trent Daavettila started off the scoring barrage with his 15th of the season, his seventh on the power-play, pushing a rebound past the goal line to knot the game 3-3. David Rutherford scored the go ahead goal just 40 seconds later. Sam Ftorek capped off the scoring netting his 10th of the season just over a minute later sending a slap shot past Muse to make it a 4-4 game.
Neither team scored in overtime, forcing the game to the shootout. The Everblades’ Mathieu Roy was the lone skaters to score in the shootout to give Florida the 5-4 win. The K-Wings did earn a point, however.
With a record of 31-21-2-5, the K-Wings remain atop the North Division standings with 69 points. But with just 13 games to go, the race is tightening. The Cincinnati Cyclones are just three points behind the K-Wings and the Chicago Express is seven points back.
The K-Wings host the Cincinnati Cyclones this Wednesday morning during the final education game of the season. The game starts at 10:30 a.m. The Chicago Express roll into town for two important games this Friday and Saturday nights. Both games begin at 7:30 p.m.
K-Wings News and Notes
Goaltender of the Month: K-Wings goaltender Riley Gill was named the ECHL’s goaltender of the month for February. Posting a 5-1-0-1 record in seven starts, Gill was 4-0-0-0 on the road for the K-Wings. In those games, Gill posted a 2.63 goals-against-average and a .922 save percentage. On the season, Gill is 20-11-1-3 with a 3.03 GAA and a .902 save percentage. On Saturday, Gill was loaned to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL. Gill’s trip to the AHL is his second of the season, and 18th overall for the K-Wings. Brian Marcowicz was added as an emergency goaltender in Gill’s absence.