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Wings falter in Wheeling during last road contest of regular season

Published: 18 days ago


WHEELING, WV— The Kalamazoo Wings faced a deficit in the first minute of gameplay on Friday night, and they were never able to overcome against the potent offense of the Wheeling Nailers at WesBanco Arena.

Racing out of the opening faceoff with an intensity that couldn’t be matched, the Nailers jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first minute of the game. Generating early chances on the first shift of the night, Christian Hilbrich cashed in on his 16th of the season at the 42 second mark of the contest.

Less than four minutes later, Wheeling opened up a two-goal lead after Tyler Currier dished the puck along to Riley Bourbonnais, and he swatted in his third goal of the season past Kalamazoo netminder Nick Riopel.

The Wings refused to roll over and battled their way back to within a goal, midway through the first. After driving a few empty chances towards Sean Maguire, the Wings’ persistence and net crashing paid off. Peter Schneider stuck with the play and rolled a second-chance try towards the net, and it slipped through the legs of Maguire, clawing the Wings to within 2-1. The goal was Schneider’s 21st of the season and improved his point streak to 13 games.

Re-establishing their two-goal lead in the opening minutes of the second, the Nailers used a pretty passing play from behind the goal to build some cushion. Kale Kerbashian swept the puck in front of the net to Bourbonnais, who one-timed it into the back of the goal for his second of the night.

Kalamazoo struck right back less than five minutes later and, for the second time on the night, cut the Nailers’ lead to a goal. Kyle Bushee hauled in a pass from Schneider at the line and his blue-line blast was deflected in front by Lane Scheidl and past Maguire for his 26th goal of the year.

Wheeling roared right back and crafted a beautiful back-door play from Hilbrich to Daniel Leavens, who tapped in his fifth goal of the season at the 10:03 mark of the second period, scooting the Nailers’ lead back up to a pair of goals.

Before the period ended, the home team would tack on some insurance after a steal in their own end. Garrett Meurs swiped the puck away from a Kalamazoo attacker and carried down the ice for a breakaway. Meurs rifled a shot that beat Riopel and extended the Nailers’ advantage to 5-2.

Wheeling continued their dominance into the third period and padded their lead to a game-high four goals as Kevin Schulze wired a slap shot over the glove of Riopel and into the top corner of the goal.

The Nailers ended their offensive explosion in the closing seconds of the third period and on a power play. Bourbonnais capped off his hat trick with a long-range shot that sailed into the goal, putting the finishing touch on a 7-2 Nailers victory.

Next: Kalamazoo vs. Wheeling Nailers- Saturday, April 8, 7:00 p.m., Wings Event Center.

Broadcast information: Saturday’s game will air on AM 590/FM 106.9 WKZO in Kalamazoo or online at http://player.listenlive.co/29131.

Notes: Schneider’s point streak has improved to 13 games… Kalamazoo have lost two straight games for the first time since February 18-20… Kalamazoo went 0/2 on the power play and 1/2 on the penalty kill…  The Wings outshot the Nailers 38-34… Scheidl had two points in his first game back since missing five due to injury... Cam Darcy has points in nine of his last ten games.

Stats: http://www.echl.com/game-summary?game_id=14756

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.

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