Led by a stifling 4-for-5 power-play performance, the Kalamazoo Wings defeated the South Carolina Stingrays 5-1 in game five of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals and will advance to the conference finals after knocking out the Stingrays four games to one.
Special teams led to both team’s first goals in the first period. Stopping a shorthanded odd-man rush by Kalamazoo, South Carolina created an odd-man rush of their own, as Patrick Cullen raced up ice and laid a centering pass to the tape of Brett Flemming (2nd) 10:13 into the period.
The K-Wings pulled even late in the period with a power-play strike from Trent Daavettila (3rd). Needing just eight seconds of the man-advantage to tie the game at 1-1, Daavettila pushed a Darryl Bootland rebound over the goal line.
Kalamazoo’s power-play continued to dominate in the second period with a pair of goals from Sam Ftorek (2nd, 3rd). Ftorek notched the eventual game-winner 1:07 into the middle frame with a blue line blast.
Later in the period, Ftorek put the K-Wings up by two goals, by stepping into a slap shot from a top of the right circle. Dwight Helminen capped off a game-high three-point performance, all on assists, with a helper on the goal.
Putting the game out of reach in the third period, Justin Taylor (3rd) knocked in a loose puck for the fourth power-play strike of the night for the K-Wings.
Darryl Bootland (3rd) capped off the scoring by finishing off a three-on-two odd man rush with a right circle slap shot at the 15:57 mark into the period.
Riley Gill (7-2) helped the K-Wings advance into the conference finals by stopping 31 shots, while Daren Machesney (2-2) turned aside 27 shots in defeat.
Nick Sirota’s eight-game point streak came to end, after the forward was held off the score sheet for the first time in the postseason,
The K-Wings will begin Eastern Conference Finals versus the Florida Everblades with a 7:30 p.m. face-off at Wings Stadium on Friday, April 27th in game one of the best-of-seven series.
Tickets for the K-Wings round one playoff games are $16.05 and $19.95 for adults, $15.05 for seniors (62 years and older) and military (with proper ID) and only $10.05 for kids ages 12 and under. 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