K-Wings sweep Nailers, inching toward playoffs

Ludwig Blomstrand
Joel Martin

KALAMAZOO, MI – The Kalamazoo Wings (33-28-4-1) swept a pair of games against the visiting Wheeling Nailers (34-24-4-4) this past weekend. The wins helped close the playoff gap for the K-Wings to just three points.
The K-Wings are currently in 10th place in the American Conference playoff race with 71 points. The Orlando Solar Bears also have 71 points, but currently hold a better winning percentage than the K-WIngs. The Elmira Jackals are in eighth place with 74 points. The top eight teams in each conference qualify for the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
On Friday, the K-Wings found themselves in a 3-0 second period deficit before they found their groove by scoring six unanswered goals.
Nearing the midway point of the second, Alex Mallet deflected a Tanner Sorenson shot into the net to make it a 3-1 game. With just seconds left in the period, Ludwig Blomstrand snuck a shot past goaltender Brian Foster to cut the Nailers lead to 3-2. The goal by Blomstrand was a power play goal.
Picking up where they left off in the second period, Justin Taylor tipped the puck into the net to knot the game at 3-3.
Just 32-seconds later, Justin Kovacs raced in on a breakaway, sneaking the puck between the pads of Foster, seemingly giving Kalamazoo a 4-3 lead. However, the goal was disallowed as a penalty was called behind the play. Kalamazoo killed off the ensuing Wheeling power play and scored their fourth goal of the game as the Wheeling power play ended. David Gilbert sent a pass to Mallet, who pushed the puck between the pipes for a 4-3 K-Wing lead.
The K-Wings scored their fifth unanswered goal of the night, courtesy of Lane Scheidl, midway through the final period.
The scoring continued for the K-Wings in the third period as Blomstrand knocked in his second of the night to give the K-Wings a 6-3 lead.
The Nailers added a goal later in the period, but the K-Wings held on for the victory.
On Saturday, the K-Wings continue their scoring ways by putting up a 4-0 lead over the Nailers in the first period.
Scheidl, Blomstrand (2) and Kattelus scored in the opening frame for the K-Wings.
After a scoreless second period, the Nailers broke up goaltender Joel Martin’s shutout bid by scoring their first and only goal of the game just over six minutes into the final frame.
Justin Taylor scored later in the period to give the K-WIngs a 5-1 win.
Notes: The Wings finished the season series with the Nailers by posting a 5-2-1-0 record. Scheidl has seven goals in his last seven games. Blomstrand has posted two straight multi-goal games. Taylor registered his 100th goal as a Kalamazoo Wing. Joel Martin knotched his league-leading 31st win. Martin also leads the league in minutes played with 3,409 and saves with 2,063.
The K-Wings head to Greenville, South Carolina for three games against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits with the first game on Thursday evening.
The K-Wings close out the regular season at home on April 9th at Wings Event Center against the Toledo Walleye.
By: Mark C. McGlothlen

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