MOLINE, IL— The Kalamazoo Wings matched a season-high output by scoring eight goals on their way to a dominant 8-2 victory over the Quad City Mallards on Friday at TaxSlayer Center.
Showing no rust from their six days off, the Wings earned the first goal of the night just 5:24 into regulation. Mackenze Stewart ripped a long shot from the left-side blue line, allowing Justin Taylor to re-direct the drive into the goal.
Less than five minutes later, Kalamazoo added to their advantage after Ben Wilson showed off some offensive prowess in the attacking zone. Wilson danced around a Quad City skater, walked to the middle of the ice, and snuck a wrist shot over the stick side of Jake Paterson for his second of the season.
Continuing their dominance later on in the period, Tyler Heinonen earned his tenth of the year and busted the Wings’ lead open to 3-0. After receiving a pass at the left-side faceoff dot from Josh Pitt, Heinonen looked up and launched a shot that powered through Paterson and trickled into the goal.
Battling late to earn a spot on the scoresheet in the first period, Quad City’s Keegan Kolesar put the home team on the board with under two minutes remaining in the period. Kolesar executed a fancy toe drag near the front of the goal and zipped a shot under the blocker of Michael Garteig for his second of the year.
Though the Mallards showed some signs of life in the second period, Kalamazoo were backstopped by 13 stops from Garteig and a buzzer-beating power play goal from Jimmy Mullin. With time ticking down, a mad scramble in front of the goal left a loose puck sitting on the edge of the net, allowing Mullin to chip it over the leg of Paterson with under a second remaining in the frame. His tenth of the season sent the Wings into the second intermission with a 4-1 lead.
Just over a minute into the third, Mullin earned his second of the night after being on the receiving end of a tic-tac-toe play. Heinonen spotted Josh Pitt, whose tape-to-tape feed met Mullin in front for an easy tap in.
Kolesar tallied his second of the night on a power play just minutes later, after he freed space with a burst of speed along the wing. Kolesar drove to the goal and lifted a shot over the leg of Garteig for the Mallards’ second tally of the game.
Kalamazoo weren’t done with their offensive eruption, and Stewart would add two goals in less than three minutes to propel the Wings ahead by five in the third. Stewart used well-placed shots from the high slot for his second and third goals of the year. The two goals capped off a four-point night for Stewart, who was the game’s first star.
Taylor sealed the blowout with his second of the night, assisted by Colin Murray, who was appearing in his first game since being acquired via trade. Taylor’s goal was his 23rd of the season, ranking him second among all goal scorers in the ECHL. The goal was the Wings’ eighth of the night and matched a season-high for goals scored in a single game.
Next: Kalamazoo vs. Quad City Mallards- Saturday, January 20, 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.