CINCINNATI, OH—The Kalamazoo Wings and Cincinnati Cyclones needed more than 60 minutes to settle Saturday night’s season-opening contest at U.S. Bank Arena, setting the stage for Jon Jutzi’s overtime winner which put the Wings on the right side of a 3-2 final.
Flying out of the gates in the first few minutes, Kalamazoo earned the night’s first lead with aggressive play from the blue line. Eric Kattelus joined the rush on the left wing and was on the receiving end of a great feed from Lane Scheidl, providing a wide open net for Kattelus to deposit his first of the season.
A little over eight minutes later, Kalamazoo doubled their advantage after an aggressive forecheck freed space in a scoring area. Justin Taylor and Tyler Biggs forced a turnover, which let Taylor spring the puck in front to Kyle Blaney, whose powerful wrist shot hit the pads of Cyclones’ goalie Anthony Peters and trickled over the line.
Before the end of the frame, the Cincinnati attack found their stride and sliced the Wings’ lead in half with a power play strike. A speedy step from Eric Knodel opened room for Justin Vaive to find an unmarked spot by the goal for a one-time finish.
After the teams went back and forth in the early goings of the second period, the Cyclones capitalized on an offensive-zone faceoff and tied the game at two. Brycen Martin walked the puck to the left-side circle and fired a wrist shot that went over the glove of Joel Martin and into the goal.
With no more scoring in the third period, the game headed to an overtime session tied at two goals.
After a flurry of Cincinnati chances required a series of saves by Martin, the Wings scooted up the ice on the counter attack with a minute remaining in the extra frame. Peter Schneider dished the puck to Josh Pitt, who showcased tremendous patience to wait for the opening on the back door. Pitt fed a backhand pass to Jutzi, who tapped in the game winner for his first goal in a Wings’ jersey.
Next: Kalamazoo vs. Brampton Beast, Saturday, October 21, 7:00 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.
Notes: Schneider has a point in 15-straight regular season games dating back to March 5… Eric Kattelus played in his 300th career ECHL game… Brendan Bradley, Jimmy Mullin, and J.T. Stenglein all made their pro debuts…Kalamazoo went 1/4 on the power play and 4/5 on the penalty kill…The Wings outshot the Cyclones, 36-30.
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 minor league hockey team Kalamazoo Wings 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.