The Kalamazoo Wings (6-4-0-0) continued their short, three-game road trip this past weekend with a pair of games in Indiana.
On Friday, the K-Wings traveled to Fort Wayne (7-2-1-0) to take on the Komets. The Komets were playing shorthanded, but took control of the game early and didn’t look back as they defeated the K-Wings by a score of 4-2.
Logan Lambdin and Brenden Miller scored for the K-Wings.
Team captain Justin Taylor noted the K-Wings slow start in the game and mentioned that a term the team uses a lot is “start on time”.
“By that I mean we needed to be ready to go from the puck drop”, Taylor said, “That wasn’t the case in Fort Wayne. We came out slow and they took advantage of it. They were playing short handed and with a very young line up. They wanted it more and ended up with the win. It’s a learning experience for us and something we can address and remedy for the rest of the season.”
The K-Wings traveled to the Indiana Farmers Coliseum on Saturday night to battle the Indy Fuel (4-7-1-0).
The two teams met a week earlier in Kalamazoo with the K-Wings pulling out a 7-2 victory in a somewhat chippy game.
Unlike the night before, a slow start did not come back to haunt the K-Wings.
With just under four minutes left in the opening period, and on the power play, Taylor was able to put the puck into the net for a 1-0 lead.
Taylor struck again while on the powerplay early in the second period with his second goal of the night. Jake Slaker made it a 3-0 game with his third of the season minutes later.
Giovanni Vallati made it a 4-0 game as he took a shot from the circles for his first of the year.
The Fuel jumped back into the game scoring two goals in the later part of the period and added late in the first half of the final period to make it a 4-3 game.
Taylor came knocking later in the period, taking a Greg Betzold rebound and putting it into the net for a 5-3 lead. The goal by Taylor was his third of the night, good for a hat trick.
The K-Wings held on for the victory. Jet Greaves was in goal and stopped 32 of the 35 shots he faced.
While happy to net the hat trick, Taylor was more excited about the outcome of the game and thankful for the players around him.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to be the recipient of finishing the play,” Taylor said. “(I have been). very lucky to have the skilled players around me to have early success on the Power Play. At the end of the day, the 2 points in the standings are what’s important. Being fortunate enough to tally three (goals) is nice.”
Taylor was named as captain of the team a few weeks ago, an honor he had always hoped for.
“It’s an honor to be named captain,” Taylor said. “It is something that I’ve wanted in my career. I believe the years beneath me have helped shape me into being the best leader on and off the ice. I’ve always wanted that extra added pressure on me to deliver and this sets a precedent for me to be the best version of myself when it comes to hockey. I am very honored and proud to don the C here in Kalamazoo,”
The K-Wings host the Fort Wayne Komets Wednesday night at Wings Event Center with a 7 pm puck drop. After a short Thanksgiving break, the K-Wings host the Cincinnati Cyclones on Saturday night for Hockey Fights Cancer night. The two teams will play on lavender ice. Game time is 7 pm.
Submitted by Mark McGlothlen