INDEPENDENCE, MO— The Kalamazoo Wings surrendered two early goals and couldn’t overcome a first-period hole, as they dropped a 4-2 final to the Kansas City Mavericks on Friday at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena.
Early in the first period, the Wings were punished after a turnover in their own zone allowed Kansas City to open the night’s scoring. Greg Betzold stole the puck away, allowing him to walk in on Joel Martin and wedge a snap shot into the back of the net for his second of the season.
Less than seven minutes later, the Mavericks’ speed through center propelled them to their second of the night and a 2-0 lead. Eric Freschi stretched the puck to the Wings’ line, where it was pulled in by Matt Robertson, freeing him for a breakaway. Robertson went to the forehand and leaked one past Martin for his 13th of the year.
Needing 13 minutes of action in the second before netting their first of the night, Kalamazoo got on the board after forcing a takeaway in the offensive zone. Eric Kattelus stole the puck free and dropped a pass along the right side for Aaron Irving, who powered a slap shot through the legs of Mason McDonald for his fourth of the season and third in his last two games.
Kansas City regained the two-goal lead just 30 seconds later, as Troy Donnay followed a shot to the goal and chopped a rebound into the top corner of the net.
Before the period came to the close, and while on a power play, the Mavericks put the game out of reach with their fourth goal of the night. Jordan Kwas took a shot that deflected off the stick of a player in front of the goal, sending it looping over the head of Martin and into the net.
A give-and-take third period yielded a few chances, and with seconds remaining in the game, the Wings earned their second goal of the night off an offensive zone draw. Sean O’Rourke punched a one-timer wide of the net, but a generous rebound sprang off the end wall and onto the stick of Josh Pitt. Pitt carried to the front of the goal and deposited his 10th of the season.
The last-gasp goal by the Wings cut the deficit to a pair, but the Mavericks carried their 4-2 edge into the final horn for the victory.
Next: Kalamazoo @ Wichita Thunder- Saturday, January 6, 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.