KALAMAZOO – After dropping three games in a row, the Kalamazoo Wings (20-23-4-1) ended the week on a high note.
Falling to the Cincinatti Cyclones on Wednesday and the Evansville IceMan on Friday, the K-Wings hoped that a return to home ice would help them get back to their winning ways.
A furious comeback attempt late in the game against the Fort Wayne Komets on Saturday night fell short as the K-WIngs dropped a 4-3 decision on the first or two games on pink colored ice.
Love was in the air on Sunday, Valentine’s Day, as the K-WIngs played host to the Brampton Beast.
Leading the way with two goals from Dane Fox and another multi-point game from Curtis Valk, the pair propelled the K-Wings to a 4-3 victory over the Brampton Beast at Wings Event Center on Sunday.
Taking advantage of a Beast turnover, Kalamazoo scored the first goal of the game for the second straight night. Fox took the puck from a Brampton defender, allowing him to walk in on Jordan Ruby, and slide the puck under the diving Brampton goaltender, who couldn’t get his glove on it in time. It was Fox’s team-leading 19th goal of the season.
The Beast knotted the game up at one, just over five minutes later. Brandon Marino carried in the zone, down the left wing side, and lifted a wrister towards Joel Martin, but the puck caromed off the stick of Brett Ponich, and found room between the pads of Martin.
A wild bounce for Brampton gave them a 2-1 lead early in the middle stanza. The Beast’s Nick McParland drove the offensive zone while being defended by Ponich and swung the puck towards the high slot. The rolling puck hit the skate of Ponich and rolled into the open net, to the left of Martin.
The K-Wings struck back later in the period on the power play as Valk sent a shot on net which Ruby stopped, but Alex Mallet was on the doorstep to chip in the rebound for his 15th of the season.
The K-Wings regained their one goal lead just moments later when Evan McEneny found Fox on the far side of the ice, who then fed a backhander to the tape of Ludwig Blomstrand, who lifted the puck into the open net from the slot.
Brampton refused to give up, and late in the second period, they evened the contest at three. Travis Brown blasted a shot from the blue line that was deflected off the stick of Chris Auger, who was camped out in front of Martin.
Gaining momentum from two consecutive successful penalty kills, the Wings netted their fourth goal to cap the scoring for the night. Justin Taylor poked the puck off the tape of a Beast defensemen at the blue line and blew through the neutral zone with Fox moving with him on the right side. At the top of the circles, Taylor fed a cross-ice feed to Fox, who roofed home his second of the night for the game winning marker.
Notes: Blomstrand now has 18 points in his last 12 games. Fox has potted three goals in his last two games. The Wings are now 5-3-0-0 on the season against the Beast. Kalamazoo’s penalty kill went 5-for-5, and have not allowed a goal in their last nine shorthanded situations. The K-Wings are 11-4-2 against the North Division this season.
The Kalamazoo Wings remain home for two games this coming weekend. On Friday, February 19 and Saturday, February 20 they host the Colorado Eagles for the only two meetings of the season. It’ll be a Winterfest weekend at Wings Event Center, with Saturday’s game featuring a chili cook-off with eight participants vying to be named the chili champion of Kalamazoo. Fans in attendance can purchase tickets to the chili cook-off from the Parks and Recreation table at the game for $8. The winning chef, as decided by the fans, will be awarded a trophy in the third period of Saturday’s game.
This weekend’s games also features the return of two former K-Wing players Trent Daavettila and Darryl Bootland, who happens to be the brother of K-Wings head coach Nick Bootland.
By: Mark C. McGlothlen