Published: 25 days ago
ESTERO, FL— Peter Schneider netted a hat trick and added an assist, while Nick Riopel made 30 stops on the way to his 14th win in his last 16 starts, and the Kalamazoo Wings erupted for a 7-5 victory over the Florida Everblades Friday night at Germain Arena.
Less than a minute into the first period and lining up for a draw deep in the Everblades’ zone, Kalamazoo raced out to an early advantage. Kyle Blaney leaned in to the faceoff, tugged it back to Scott Henegar, whose quick wrist shot sailed over the blocker of Anthony Peters and into the top corner of the goal.
Already leading by a goal, Kalamazoo kept their foot on the gas and tallied their second of the night. After poking the puck past the Florida defense, Tyler Heinonen raced through center with two teammates to his left. Heinonen called his own number and wired a wrist shot that zipped over the outstretched pad of Peters, marking the first career goal for the rookie.
Early in the second period, The Wings padded their lead while operating on an extended five-on-three opportunity. Schneider controlled the puck at the top of the right circle and used the extra space to walk towards the goal and rip a wrist shot into the net for his 17th of the season.
Florida raced back into the contest with two unanswered strikes in the ensuring minutes, as Mike Ferrantino and Mitchell Heard both tallied to claw the Everblades to within a goal.
Before the period concluded, Henegar notched his second of the night with a knuckling shot that cut through traffic in front of the goal and over the blocker of Peters. The goal marked Henegar’s 14th of the season and gave the Wings a 4-2 advantage heading into the second intermission.
Right off the hop in the third period, Florida again cut the Kalamazoo lead to a goal. Brendan O’Donnell swerved his way towards the net and uncorked a snap shot that floated into the top corner, over the glove of Riopel. The Everblades evened the game up about seven minutes later, as Brant Harris’s 30th goal of the season knotted the contest at four.
As the period progressed, Kalamazoo handled the continued comeback bids from Florida and kept their composure. With less than ten minutes remaining in regulation, Heinonen scooted into the Everblades’ end, and held the puck as he waited for reinforcements. Heinonen saw Schneider fly in from the bench, and he delivered a tape-to-tape feed that Schneider punched into the goal for his second of the night.
With time ticking down in the third and Kalamazoo forced to kill a late penalty, the Everblades converted on the man advantage and tied the game right back up. Josh Wesley was fed at the blue line and his long slap shot fought through a series of screens and landed in the goal.
Kalamazoo swiped the momentum away 29 seconds later after creating an odd-man-rush through center ice. Cam Darcy saucered a pass across the middle which landed on the stick of Brian Hart, who poked in his fourth goal of the season to put Kalamazoo ahead, 6-5.
With Peters on the bench for an extra attacker, the Wings handled a flurry of attacks from Florida, and Darcy was able to chip the puck along to Schneider, who finished off an empty netter for a hat trick, sealing a 7-5 win for Kalamazoo.
Next: Kalamazoo @ Florida Everblades- Saturday, April 1, 7:30 p.m., Germain Arena.
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 points in eleven straight games… Riopel is 14-2-0 in his last 16 starts… The Wings finished the month of March with a 10-4-0 record… Kalamazoo handed Florida their first Friday night regulation home loss of the season… Kalamazoo scored on three of their four shots on goal during the third period…Kalamazoo’s seven goals set a new single-game high for the season.
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.