Published: 24 days ago
ESTERO, FL—The Kalamazoo Wings competed admirably in a playoff-style slugfest with the Florida Everblades, but they fell short, 5-3, on Saturday night at Germain Arena.
Looking to avenge last night’s loss on home ice, the Everblades burst out of the gate with early chances, and they paid off in the first 46 seconds. Matt Ferrantino was served a quick feed in front of the goal, and his one timer zipped into the net for the game’s first tally.
Following up on the strike less than a minute later, the Everblades boosted their lead to a pair of goals, courtesy of Mitchell Heard. Heard snuck in behind the Kalamazoo defense and executed a beautiful forehand-to-backhand deke that was lifted into the roof of the goal for his fifth of the season.
Not bowing out after facing an early deficit, the Wings roared right back and cut the Florida lead in half at the 5:46 mark of the period. Peter Schneider dished the puck along to the right wing to Brian Hart, who wired a wrist shot that flew over the outstretched right leg of Everblades’ goalie Anthony Peters. The tally marked Hart’s fifth of the season, and the assist for Schneider improved his point streak to 12 games.
Early in the second period, Kalamazoo’s resiliency helped provide their second marker of the night. Peter Schneider was handed the puck by Hart, allowing Schneider to race in on a two-on-one with Cam Darcy. Schneider held the puck, checked off the pass, and tucked a shot into the far-side post for his 20th goal of the season.
Ten minutes later and killing off a four-minute double minor penalty, Kalamazoo sealed the back end shut and denied a multitude of chances from Florida. After working the puck to center on a clearance, Schneider stole it free from an opposing defender and ladled it ahead for Tanner Sorenson, who finished off a breakaway for a shorthanded tally, giving Kalamazoo a 3-2 lead at the second intermission.
Florida adjusted at the break and were an inspired team in the final period, as Brant Harris earned his 31st goal of the season by poaching a loose puck in front of the goal, knotting the contest at three in the first 1:18 of the third.
Later on in the period and operating on a power play try, the Everblades tallied their second unanswered goal to regain the lead. Michael Kirkpatrick was shuffled a pass from Brendan O’Donnell, and he pocketed his 20th of the season, establishing a 4-3 edge for the Everblades.
As the hard-hitting period progressed, Kalamazoo entered the closing minutes trailing by a goal and summoned Nick Riopel to the bench for an extra attacker. After clearing the puck from their own end, O’Donnell chased a loose puck in the Wings’ zone and pushed in the empty net goal, marking his league-leading 39th of the season and finishing off a 5-3 victory for the Everblades.
Next: Kalamazoo @ Wheeling Nailers- Friday, April 7, 7:35 p.m., WesBanco Arena.
Broadcast information: Friday’s game will air on AM 590/FM 106.9 WKZO in Kalamazoo or online at http://player.listenlive.co/29131.
Notes: With a Quad City victory, the Wings will play the Toledo Walleye in the first round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs… Schneider’s point streak improved to 12-straight games and he has tallied eight points in his last three games…Schneider finished the year with ten points in four games against his former team… Kalamazoo finished the season 2-2-0 against the Everblades this season… The Wings were outshot 56-24 during the loss… Kalamazoo’s power play went 0/2 and the penalty kill went 8/9. The Wings finished the game with only 13 skaters due to injuries.
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.