WHEELING, WV—The Kalamazoo Wings clawed to within a goal of the Wheeling Nailers on two separate occasions, but couldn’t prevent the potent offense of their opposition during a 6-2 loss on Wednesday night at WesBanco Arena.
After showing some hop in their step in the early goings of the first period, the Wings fell victim to the team speed of the Nailers and fell behind by a pair of goals. Cody Wydo opened the scoring at the 5:21 mark of the first period, and Reid Gardiner followed it up with his 22nd of the year just over three minutes later.
Later on in the period, Kalamazoo roared back to try and erase the deficit they faced. After receiving a stretch pass from J.T. Stenglein, Jimmy Mullin scooted up the right wing side and squeezed a shot into a tiny window over the short-side shoulder of Adam Morrison for his 13th goal of the season.
Wheeling responded in a hurry to the Mullin strike, as the Nailers re-established their two-goal lead just 1:27 later. Gardiner generated his second goal of the night after one-touching a centering feed in front of the net.
Before the period came to a close and on a power play, the Wings cut the Nailers’ lead to a single goal for the second time of the night. Mullin darted into the Wheeling zone and centered a pass to the high slot that was run down by Tyler Biggs, who spotted a gap in the legs of Morrison and dribbled a five-hole shot into the net for his 13th goal of the season.
After skating to a scoreless first 19:57 of the second period, the Nailers were on the receiving end of a fortuitous bounce that eventually sent the Wings into the second intermission down by two goals. Nick Sorkin pushed ahead on a two-on-one with seconds remaining, and his centering feed ricocheted off a Kalamazoo skate and between the legs of Martin for a near buzzer beater.
In the first few minutes of the third period, the Nailers opened their lead to a game-high three goals after a quick-strike play in front of the net. Dylan Zink tossed the puck to Jeremy Beirnes, whose one-timer rang off the inside post for his second of the year.
Before the third period came to a close, Wheeling padded their advantage with their sixth goal of the night, once again benefitting from a prosperous bounce at the net. Danny Fick moved the puck to the front of the goal and it rattled off the skate of Riley Bourbannais and over the line, capping off a 6-2 Wheeling win.
Next: Kalamazoo vs. Ft. Wayne Komets- Friday, January 27, 7 p.m., Wings Event Center.
Broadcast information: Friday’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.