Published: 32 days ago
KALAMAZOO, MI— Propelled by a two-goal performance from Justin Taylor and another stellar outing from netminder Nick Riopel, the Kalamazoo Wings picked up a 4-1 victory over the Quad City Mallards and moved into the fourth and final playoff position in the Central Division with 18 games remaining in the season.
With an energetic start to the first period, the Mallards peppered a series of chances against Riopel in the opening minutes. The visitors were finally able to get one to leak through, as Jack Nevins carried to the goal and muscled a shot that trickled through the pads of Riopel and into the goal for the only tally of the first.
Trailing by a goal, Kalamazoo were a completely different team in the second period and dominated every element of the frame. After keeping a puck deep in the Quad City end, Tyler Biggs turned in the high slot and knuckled a wrister over the glove of Adam Vay and tied the game at one.
Five minutes later and on a counter attack through center ice, Peter Schneider dropped a pass to Sean O’Rourke, who had joined the rush from his defensive position. O’Rourke took one step towards the goal and fired a wrist shot with perfect placement that flew into the top corner for his first career goal.
As the lop-sided second period continued, Kalamazoo added a third marker off a well-executed faceoff. Taylor won the draw back to Eric Kattelus, who drove a shot towards the goal that Taylor tipped past a screened Vay. Kalamazoo’s domination in the second frame sent them into the third period with a 3-1 lead.
Both teams fought for every inch during the third, but Kalamazoo’s defense was too mighty for Quad City to break. With Vay on the bench for an extra attacker in the closing minutes, Cam Darcy slid the puck ahead to Taylor, who buried it into the empty net, putting the icing on a 4-1 home victory.
Next: Kalamazoo vs. Cincinnati Cyclones- Sunday, February 26, 3:00 p.m., Wings Event Center.
Broadcast information: Sunday’s game will air on AM 1660 The Fan in Kalamazoo or online at www.1660thefan.com/listen-live.
Notes: Taylor set a new career high with his 26th goal of the season and he is now three points shy of Sam Ftorek’s ECHL franchise record for career points… Riopel has won seven of his last eight starts… Kalamazoo now have 56 points and jumped Tulsa for the fourth and final playoff position in the Central Division… Darcy has points in both games since being re-assigned to Kalamazoo… Kalamazoo’s 23 second-period shots set a new season high for a single-period shot total.
Single-game tickets are on sale! Tickets start as low as $10 and can be purchased at www.kwings.com/tickets/schedule or at the Wings Event Center box office.
Wings Event Center, owned and operated by Greenleaf Hospitality Group, is home to the minor league hockey team Kalamazoo Wings and a full entertainment venue offering concerts, sporting events, family shows and trade shows. Built in 1974, Wings Event Center values partnerships with the community to bring events and attractions that enrich the lives of residents in the Kalamazoo area.