As they have several times this season, the Kalamazoo Wings (17-12-0-0) used last minute heroics to stage a come-from-behind victory over the Fort Wayne Komets (17-10-4-0) at Wings Event Center on Wednesday evening.
In an odd beginning to the game, both teams scored while shorthanded for their first goals of the night. First the Komets Tyler Busch scored an unassisted goal to give the visiting team a 1-0 lead. The K-Wings Kyle Blaney returned the favor minutes later as he took a pass from Denis Smirnov and then broke through two Komet players as he raced down the ice for his fifth goal of the year.
Cody Corbett added his first goal of the year near the end of the first period, taking a shot from inside the blueline to give the K-Wings a 2-1 lead.
Newcomer Greg Mauldin gave the Kalamazoo a 3-1 lead in the opening minutes of the second period, scoring his first goal as a K-Wing. Mauldin swiped the puck from a Komet player and sent it sailing over the shoulder of net-minder Liam Hughes.
Mauldin retired from professional hockey following the 2018-19 season after playing 16 seasons in the AHL, NHL and overseas. Mauldin suited up for the Columbus Blue Jackets (2003-04), New York Islanders (2009-10) and the Colorado Avalanche (2010-11).
Mauldin, an assistant coach with the USA National Team Development Program, is happy to be back on the ice as a player.
“It feels good to be back competing again and being part of a team,” Mauldin said. “I really missed the competition and being around the guys”.
After 682 days off the ice as a professional player, Mauldin’s goal on Wednesday provided all the feels.
“It brought back a few emotions, but more happy I was able to contribute to the K-Wings,” Mauldin said, “Anytime a player goes to a new team they want to contribute on the score sheet. It also helped my confidence knowing I can still play the game a little”.
Due to his commitments with USA Hockey, Mauldin won’t be available for all games, but he is glad to be back on the ice.
I never really wanted to retire,” Mauldin said. “So I always had the urge to still play, (so) when I heard they needed guys and after talking to Nick it seemed like a pretty easy decision. So far I’m happy with things.”
The Komets would come back to tie the score at three goals apiece on a pair of goals scored by Matt Alvaro.
Taking the lead in the early stages of the third period Anthony Petruzzelli scored his 10th goal of the season, to give the Komets a 4-3 advantage.
Greg Betzold’s shot from the right circle tied the game at 4-4. It was Betzold’s fourth of the season.
With just 52 seconds left in the game, the game, or rather the puck, took an unexpected bounce.
Andrew Debrincat sent the puck down the ice from the blue line. Hughes, the Komets goaltender, skated behind the net to retrieve the puck. However the puck took an awkward bounce off the wall and ricocheted toward the front of the wide open net and right toward the stick of Logan Lambdin, who knocked the puck in for 5-4 K-Wings lead and eventual win.
This past weekend, the K-Wings dropped a pair of games to the Toledo Walleye and Cincinnati Cyclones. The K-Wings defeated the Wheeling Nailers 5-1 on Sunday afternoon in West Virginia.
The K-Wings play at home this Friday and Saturday with both games beginning at 7 PM. On Friday they host the Walleye and the Cyclones on Saturday. The K-Wings and the Komets battle in Fort Wayne on Sunday.
K-Wings News and Notes:
So long, for now: The K-Wings are without the services of goaltender Jet Greaves and forward Zach Jordan who were called up to the AHL Cleveland Monsters. Forward Erik Bradford was called up to the Grand Rapids Griffins.
Welcome Aboard: The K-Wings signed forwards Brennan Sanford and Greg Mauldin as well as defenseman Jeremy Masella. The team also claimed Jason Pawloski off waivers.
More history: Captain Justin Taylor tied Eric Kattelus for sixth all-time in assists in K-Wings History on Sunday vs the Wheeling Nailers.
Photo Credit: Kimberly Moss
By: Mark C. McGlothlen