KALAMAZOO, MI—Lane Scheidl earned his first career hat trick, and the Kalamazoo Wings were provided timely third-period scoring, as they downed the Atlanta Gladiators, 6-3, on Friday night at Wings Event Center.
Controlling most of the tempo in the first period, Kalamazoo needed just 5:20 of gameplay before they scored the first goal of the night. A clearance attempt by Atlanta couldn’t get past Kyle Bushee, who held the blue line and knuckled a long shot towards the goal. Bushee’s attempt was re-directed in the high slot by Tyler Heinonen, allowing the puck to skip beyond the leg of goaltender Matt O’Connor and into the goal.
The Wings didn’t stop there, as they continued to pressure the Gladiators’ defense until they tallied their second goal. After Ben Wilson’s stick broke on a one-timer, the puck angled off the end boards and onto the stick of Tyler Biggs. He walked to the side of the goal and flipped a forehand into the top corner for his team-leading ninth of the season.
Opening the game up 35 seconds later, Kyle Blaney’s tape-to-tape feed to Scheidl helped create a 3-0 lead for Kalamazoo. Upon receiving the pass from the right wing, Scheidl had a wide-open net to deposit his sixth of the year.
The Gladiators would get on the board before the end of the period, as Cody Carlson ripped a one-timer from the left-side blue line to send the teams into the first intermission with a 3-1 score, favoring the Wings.
Atlanta carried their momentum into the second and clawed to within a goal, 3:09 into the second period. After Joel Martin made a save on a long attempt, the rebound was left in the crease. Brady Vail spotted it, and dove headfirst to poke it in for his 11th of the year. Vail’s goal was the only one for either team in the period and set the tone for an exciting third.
Tying the game less than two minutes into the third period, Atlanta used a net-front scramble to create an opportunity. After Martin was knocked to the ice by a teammate, it allowed Phil Lane to step into a high-slot slap shot which trickled through the pads of a stickless Martin and into the goal.
With the game deadlocked at three, Kalamazoo took control throughout the remainder of the third period. Jimmy Mullin and J.T. Stenglein set up a give-and-go in the neutral zone, freeing Mullin up the right side with great speed. He spotted an open window over the shoulder of O’Connor, and squeezed the puck into the top corner for his fourth of the year.
Ahead by a goal, the Wings added some insurance with less than three minutes remaining, as Scheidl worked for his second of the night. Again, it was a nice pass from Stenglein to provide room for Schiedl, whose low wrist shot went over the right pad of O’Connor, creating a 5-3 lead for the Wings.
With the Gladiators’ net empty in favor of an extra attacker, the Wings sealed the deal and Scheidl sealed his hat trick. Heinonen stole the puck and gave it ahead to Scheidl, who slid it into the goal for his third of the night, and the final exclamation point on the Wings’ 6-3 victory.
Next: Kalamazoo vs. Brampton Beast - Saturday, December 16, 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.