KALAMAZOO — A sell-out crowd packed into Wings Stadium on Friday night for the Kalamazoo Wings’ home opener as well as to catch a glimpse at the $2 million renovations that were completed over the past few weeks. The K-Wings also raised their third consecutive North Division Championship banner before the game.
Both on the ice and off, the K-Wings put on quite a show. Facing the Fort Wayne Komets for the second time in three games, the K-Wings hoped to build off their regular season win over the Komets one week earlier. The game was delayed by 45 minutes due to an accident on I-94 that prevented the Komets from getting to Wings Stadium on time for pre-game warm-ups.
Once the game got underway, the defensive units of both teams as well as the goaltenders played stellar as neither team was able to score in regulation. A five-minute four-on-four overtime period did not produce a goal for the teams either, sending the game to the overtime shootout.
The K-Wings scored three times in the shootout, receiving goals from Justin Taylor, Michael Davies and Brett Lysak while K-Wing net minder Joel Martin stopped all three players he faced for the 1-0 K-Wing victory.
On the night, Martin stopped all 35 shots he faced en route to his 16th career shutout and 11th with the K-Wings.
Saturday night saw the Toledo Walleye make their first visit to Wings Stadium this season. Unlike the night before, the K-Wings did not wait as long to put the puck in the net. Midway into the opening period, Darren Archibald scored his second goal of the season to give the K-Wings a 1-0 lead.
Will Coetzee evened the score midway into the second period with his second of the season.
Just under two minutes later, it was Archibald again, this time scoring on the power play to give the K-Wings a 2-1 lead. Kory Karlander scored the eventual game winner later in the period, his first on the young season.
The K-Wings’ Michael Davies added his first of the year early in the third period for a 4-1 K-Wings lead.
Bryon Froese scored a short-handed goal a few minutes later, but K-Wing goaltender Joe Cannata, making his K-Wing debut, shut the door on the Walleye.
Cantanna stopped 40 of the 42 shots he faced in the victory.
On the season, the K-Wings are 3-1-0-0.
The K-Wings will play two games against the Evansville IceMen this coming weekend. On Friday, the K-Wings will make their first appearance at the Ford Center in Evansville, Ind. Then on Saturday, the IceMen make their Wings Stadium debut for the K-Wings Ninth Annual Orange Ice Game.