The Kalamazoo Wings proved there is certainly no place like home, as the K-Wings defeated the Wheeling Nailers in game three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals with a decisive 5-1 victory to take a two games to one lead in the Best-of-Five Series.

Keeping up with the trend of the first two games of the series, Kalamazoo scored the game’s first goal. Crashing in from the point, Elgin Reid (1st) registered his first point of the playoffs 14:35 into the opening period knocking in Dwight Helminen rebound.

Early in the second period, Kalamazoo extended their lead to 2-0, when Dustin Cloutier (1st), who was camping in front of the Nailers net deflected a Mike Matczak slap shot 1:12 into the period.

Wheeling cut Kalamazoo’s advantage just over two minutes later, when Chris Barton finished off a give-and-go from Paul Crowder to record his second-goal of the playoffs.

The K-Wings power-play remained red-hot, entering game three 3-for-6 with a man-advantage, Kalamazoo scored on their first attempt of the contest, with a redirect tally from Nick Sirota (2nd).

For the second straight game, the K-Wings had to fend off a penalty shot attempt from the Nailers. Created when Kalamazoo coved the puck in the crease, Andrew Hotham’s attempt was turned aside by Riley Gill.

Drawing away in the third period, Darryl Bootland (2nd) innocent wrist shot found itself into the net to push the K-Wings advantage to three goals 4:32 into the stanza.

Less than two minutes later, Cloutier (2nd) notched his second-goal of the night on a give-and-go from Reid.

Gill raised his playoff record to 2-1 making 37 saves in the victory, while Patrick Killeen (1-2) had 20 saves in defeat.

The K-Wings will remain at Wings Stadium Saturday, April 7th for a 7:30 p.m. face-off versus the Nailers in game four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. During all first round games, the K-Wings are offering special Fan Appreciation 25-cent hot dogs.

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

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