Published: 19 days ago
KALAMAZOO, MI—Nick Riopel made 30 saves and Josh Pitt scored twice as the Kalamazoo Wings cruised past the Toledo Walleye, 3-1, on Friday night at Wings Event Center.
With an opening period that showcased endless energy and scoring chances, the Wings and Walleye each tested their opponent’s netminder in heaps during the first twenty minutes. Kalamazoo swung 15 shots towards Toledo goalie Jake Paterson, who was able to stop each effort, and the Walleye steered 11 shots towards Riopel, who denied each try.
Midway through the second period and working on their third power play of the game, the Wings found the back of the goal for the game’s opening tally. As they held the puck along the outside, Tyler Biggs shoveled it along to Kyle Bushee, whose long-range slap shot was tipped in front by Pitt for his tenth goal of the season.
Early in the third period and on yet another man-advantage try, Kalamazoo were able to capitalize with sustained pressure and space around the attacking zone. In nearly identical fashion to the first goal, Bushee walked the blue line and wired a waist-high wrist shot that was re-directed by Peter Schneider and bounced past Paterson.
Kalamazoo’s special teams continued to play a factor in the third period, with Pitt adding his second goal of the night while shorthanded. Directly off a faceoff in the Walleye zone, Justin Taylor chopped the puck to Pitt on the wing, and he was able to slip it through the pads of Paterson.
Riopel had his shutout spoiled with three minutes left in the contest after Shane Berschbach used a wall of screens to catch the Kalamazoo netminder off guard. Berschbach’s shot appeared to be a harmless wrist shot from the blue line, but Riopel lost sight of the puck and it trickled in.
In a desperation effort, Toledo pulled their goaltender in favor of an extra attacker, but the Wings fought off the late attacks and tallied a 3-1 victory on home ice.
Next: Kalamazoo vs. Toledo Walleye- Saturday, March 11, 7:00 p.m., Wings Event Center.
Broadcast information: Saturday’s game will air on AM 1660 the Fan in Kalamazoo or online at www.1660thefan.com/listen-live.
Notes: Kalamazoo have won seven of their last eight games… Riopel has won 11 of his last 12 starts…Kalamazoo have scored on four of their last 12 power plays… Cam Darcy has ten points in eight games with the Wings this season…Kalamazoo are 19-3-3 when scoring first.
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.