WICHITA, KS—The Kalamazoo Wings outshot the Wichita Thunder, 38-25, but were toppled by the opportunistic Wichita attack, who tallied 7 goals in a 7-3 Wings’ loss on Saturday at INTRUST Bank Arena.
After withstanding a number of chances from Kalamazoo in the opening few minutes, the Thunder found their offense and made it 1-0, 4:38 into the first period. After blocking a shot by Charlie Vasaturo, Greg Chase transitioned up the ice on a two-on-one attack. Chase decided to pull the trigger from the right wing and found a small window over the glove of Joel Martin.
Just over two minutes later, Wichita added to their lead while operating on their first power play of the game. Travis Brown moved the puck to the scoring area in front of the net, and a bouncing puck landed on the stick of Greg Chase, who was all alone on the backdoor for a tap in tally. The two goal lead for Wichita lasted until the end of the first period, pitting the Wings against a 2-0 deficit in the early going.
The Wichita offense continued to roll into the start of the second period and they earned their third goal of the night, just 1:50 into the period. Cuddemi’s second of the game came after a deflection in front of the cage beat Martin cleanly. They would tack on to their lead 1:06 later as Matt DeBlouw hammered a long-range slap shot into the back of the net, making it 4-0.
Less than three minutes later, the home team opened up a game-high five-goal lead. Pressuring the Wings’ defense, DeBlouw stole the puck free and pitchforked a backhand into the top corner.
Kalamazoo tallied their first goal of the night 1:05 after DeBlouw’s strike, breathing some life into the Wings’ attack. Kyle Blaney motored up the right wing side and muscled a tight-angle shot which was stopped by Joel Rumpel, but the rebounded landed directly on the tape of Kyle Bushee, who wouldn’t miss. Bushee’s goal was his fifth of the season, and cut the Thunder lead to 5-1.
The teams went back and forth for the remainder of the period, but the Thunder used an odd man rush in the waning seconds to re-establish their five-goal lead. Evan Polei caught a feed up the middle and ripped a wrist shot that lit the lamp.
The Wings refused to roll over, and their energetic presence in the third period yielded results. Jimmy Mullin intercepted a backdoor feed in the defensive zone, and dished the puck to Tyler Heinonen, who stretched it ahead to Kyle Blaney. Blaney hauled in the feed and carried to the net where he unleashed a perfectly placed wrist shot over the stick of Rumpel.
46 seconds later, the Wings cut the Thunder lead to three as Brendan Bradley scored his second goal in as many nights. Bradley raced towards a loose puck where he spun a backhander under the glove of Rumpel and into the net. J.T. Stenglein earned an assist on the play, marking his first career point.
Cuddemi sealed the game with 35 seconds later by capping off his hat trick with a long-range wrist shot.
Next: Kalamazoo vs. Quad City Mallards- Friday, December 8, 7 p.m., Wings Event Center.
Broadcast information: Friday’s game will air on AM 590/FM 106.9 WKZO in Kalamazoo or online at http://player.listenlive.co/29131.
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.