KALAMAZOO, MI— The Kalamazoo Wings and Indy Fuel played a game that featured four different lead changes, and it was the Fuel who topped the Wings, 6-5, in front of a standing room only crowd at Wings Event Center during the 36th annual world famous green ice game.
Midway through the opening period, the Fuel aimed to silence the Kalamazoo crowd and were able to strike for the first tally. Michael Neal’s one-timer from a feed by Shawn Hulshof zipped past the glove of Nick Riopel, and landed in the top corner of the goal.
Less than a minute later, Kalamazoo pulled even on the back of some creative stickhandling from Cam Darcy. After catching a feed from Lane Scheidl up the middle of the ice, Darcy danced to the outside of the Fuel zone, then sliced back towards the goal where his forehand chip shot lifted over the shoulder of Jake Hildebrand.
Indy regained the lead 1:11 later, as Matt Rupert powered his way to the goal and slipped a shot that trickled through the pads of Riopel and over the line for Rupert’s 16th of the season.
Three minutes later and working on their first power play of the game, the Wings tied the game back up by generating traffic in front of the goal. Blake Kessel’s long shot from the blue line caromed off the stick of Josh Pitt, and changed direction enough for Hildebrand to lose sight, allowing the puck into the back of the net.
The scoring didn’t quit in the second period, as the teams combined for five separate markers during the middle frame. Kalamazoo struck first in the second period while working on yet another power play. After a shot from Kyle Bushee was stopped by Hildebrand, a mad scramble ensued, allowing Tyler Biggs to clean up the rebound for his 13th goal of the year.
The seesaw battle continued in the following minutes, as Indy struck twice in less than two minutes to regain the lead. Josh Shalla found the back of the goal on a breakaway, and Neal followed up with his second of the night with a high-slot snap shot.
The Wings stuck with the Fuel and only needed a 24second span to tie and retake the lead. Peter Schneider was served a pass from Darcy that opened space for Schneider to hesitate and catch Hildebrand off guard, leaving an open corner to deposit the puck.
Only 24 seconds after Schneider’s tying goal, Scheidl propelled the Wings to a 5-4 advantage after another tape-to-tape set up by Darcy. Scheidl was opened up with a high-slot feed that led to space for Scheidl to rocket a wrister for his 23rd goal of the season.
The Fuel chipped away at the Wings’ lead with less than five minutes to go in regulation and tied the game at five. Jake Marchment finished off a tic-tac-toe passing play by the attacking Indy forwards, and the game went into the final minutes in a deadlock.
With 2:17 on the clock, the Fuel netted the game winning goal directly off a faceoff in the Kalamazoo end of the ice. The draw was pulled back to Neal, whose cannon of a shot picked the top corner and capped off his hat trick and the Fuel’s 6-5 win on the road.
Next: Kalamazoo @ Indy Fuel- Saturday, March 18, 7:30 p.m., Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
Broadcast information: Saturday’s game will air on AM 1660 the Fan in Kalamazoo or online at www.1660thefan.com/listen-live.
Notes: Schneider has a team-high four-game goal streak… Schneider has 13 points in his last ten games… Riopel lost just his second game in his last 14 starts… It was Kalamazoo’s third loss this season when leading after two periods… It was Darcy’s second three-point game in eleven contests with Kalamazoo this season…The Wings set a new season low with zero penalty minutes.
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.