INDEPENDENCE, MO— The Kalamazoo Wings and Kansas City Mavericks combined for a fight-filled affair with 90 penalty minutes and seven goals, as the Wings faltered on the road in 4-3 fashion on Friday night at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena.
The Wings roared out to a terrific start and earned the first goal of the night at the 5:08 mark of regulation. Tyler Heinonen worked the puck to Justin Taylor, who spun and fired the puck from an impossible angle. Mavericks’ goalie Mason McDonald was caught out of position and Taylor’s shot slipped into the short-side post.
Five minutes later, the Wings padded their lead as Brendan Bradley earned his first career goal. A long wrist shot by Scott Henegar hit the chest of McDonald and dribbled out to the front of the net, where Bradley was crashing with ferocious speed and his stick on the ice. Falling to the ice, Bradley angled the puck into the net before crashing into it himself, taking it off its moorings. It was decided the net was dislodged after the goal was scored, giving Kalamazoo a 2-0 advantage.
Earning a five-on-three power play after the game temporarily descended into mayhem with 26 minutes of penalties assessed to six different players, and even a goalie fight, the Wings took a three-goal lead. Josh Pitt set up the power play along the top of the right circle and used the extra space to walk towards the goal and laser a wrist shot over the blocker of McDonald.
All together in the first period, the teams combined for 78 penalty minutes, including four separate fights and two misconducts.
After things calmed down in the second period, Kansas City came to life and took over the tempo of the game. The Mavericks erupted for three goals in 1:46 of game time during the second to draw even.
Hunter Smith got Kansas City on the board with a looping deflection of a shot, Jared VanWormer was on the receiving end of a fortuitous bounce 1:12 later, and Smith earned his second of the night 32 seconds after that to send the game into the third period deadlocked in a 3-3 tie.
After a back and forth third period, the Mavericks used the momentum they built to generate the eventual game winner. Smith found Mike McMurtry in front of the Kalamazoo goal, allowing McMurtry the time to piece together a nifty deke move to beat Joel Martin for his ninth goal of the season. His strike, registered at 18:13 of the third period, was the decider in what was a ferocious contest.
Next: Kalamazoo @ Wichita Thunder- Saturday, December 2, 8:05 p.m., INTRUST Bank Arena.
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.