KALAMAZOO, MI— The Kalamazoo Wings exploded for seven goals and used a third-period surge to defeat the Ft. Wayne Komets, 7-4, on Friday night at Wings Event Center. Kalamazoo’s win snapped Ft. Wayne’s five-game winning streak and improved the Wings to 3-0-0 on the season against Komets while scoring 21 goals in the process.
Needing just 2:23 to earn the first marker of the night, Kalamazoo roared out to an early advantage against their rivals. Brendan Bradley carried the puck to the goal and whacked a backhand which was stopped by Michael Houser. Scott Henegar chased the rebound to the side of the net and flung it past Houser for his seventh of the season.
A handful of minutes later, the Komets equalized by creating havoc in front of Joel Martin’s net. Cody Sol stuffed a shot from an acute angle and, after Martin made the stop, Garrett Thompson spotted the rebound and stuffed in the tying goal.
Kalamazoo took no time to respond and Henegar earned his second of the night after a remarkable individual effort. Forechecking the Komets’ defenders, Henegar forced a steal and sailed a wrist shot over the right leg pad of Houser to scoot the Wings back ahead by a goal.
The Kalamazoo edge lasted for just over a minute, as Ft. Wayne knotted the game back up in the ensuing moments. Artur Tyanulin moved up the wing and looked to sauce a centering feed to the backdoor, but the pass deflected off a Kalamazoo skate and into the top corner of the net.
The Wings ripped the lead right back with under five minutes to play in the first period as Justin Taylor exposed a flat-footed Komets’ defenseman. Taylor flew up the wing and danced around Cody Sol, freeing space to slip a stick-side wrister around Houser for his 24th goal of the season. The late first-period tally sent the Wings into the dressing room with a 3-2 lead.
Adding to their advantage in the second, Kalamazoo used their power play to open up a game-high two-goal lead. Jimmy Mullin hauled in a pass on the right wing side and looked rink wide where he spotted an open Tyler Biggs. Biggs one-timed the feed over the sliding Houser and made it 4-2 favoring Kalamazoo. The goal was Biggs’ 14th of the season and established a new career high for goals in a season.
Less than three minutes later, Ft. Wayne drew to within a goal with Jason Binkley’s fourth of the season. Thompson added his second just a few minutes later and helped the Komets claw back and tie the game at four. The high-scoring affair through 40 minutes of play set the tone for an exciting third period.
As the third period progressed, each team had quality chances, and eventually the Wings broke the stalemate. With under six minutes remaining, Taylor tapped the puck in front of the net for Kyle Blaney, who froze Houser with a head fake and lifted a drive into the top corner of the net.
Just over a minute later and on a power play stemming from a high-sticking minor, the Wings connected for an insurance tally. Mullin was dropped the puck by Blaney, and took a shot which ricocheted off a Ft. Wayne leg and onto the stick of Biggs. After reeling in the rebound, Biggs bashed in his second of the night and 15th of the season.
Putting the icing on the cake with under two minutes remaining, Blaney registered his second of the night by sliding the puck into an empty Ft. Wayne net, vacated in favor of an extra attacker. Blaney’s 5th of the season put the game out of reach and lifted the Wings to their third win in three attempts over the Komets this season.
Next: Kalamazoo vs. Indy Fuel- Saturday, January 27, 7 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.
Single-game tickets are on sale! Tickets start as low as $10 and can be purchased at http://kwings.com/SingleGameTickets or at the Wings Event Center box office.
Wings Event Center, owned and operated by Greenleaf Hospitality Group, is home to the Kalamazoo Wings professional hockey team 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.