KALAMAZOO, MI— The Kalamazoo Wings’ offense established dominance early and often on their way to a 6-1 victory over the Quad City Mallards during the annual New Year’s Eve matinee on Sunday at Wings Event Center.
Needing less than one minute of play to get on the board, the Wings flexed their muscles in the early going and took the lead at the 59-second mark of the game. J.T. Stenglein received a cross-ice feed from Ben Wilson and wired a wrist shot past Eric Hartzell and into the net for his second of the year.
Just over a minute later, the Mallards tied the game up at one after a heat-seeking shot from Sam Warning. Warning motored up the left wing side and ripped a wrist shot that flew over the glove of Joel Martin and into the top corner of the net.
The teams were tied for just over six minutes before Kalamazoo regained the lead. Opening up some space in the attacking zone, Tyler Heinonen used an overpowering wrist shot to leak a drive through the pads of Hartzell, re-establishing the Wings’ one-goal advantage.
Padding their edge just over two minutes later, Kalamazoo received some offense from the back end. Joining the rush up the ice, Sean O’Rourke was delivered a pass from Josh Pitt, allowing O’Rourke to lift his eyes and pinpoint a shot to give Kalamazoo a 3-1 edge in the middle of the first period.
Continuing their dominance in the second period, Kalamazoo cracked the game open with their fourth of the night, courtesy of Brendan Bradley. Eric Kattelus paced a perfect pass ahead to Bradley, who carved to the goal, went to the backhand, and rolled a shot between the legs of Hartzell for his fifth of the year.
Minutes later, Kalamazoo’s sustained pressure yielded more results, as Stenglein earned his second of the night and generated a 5-1 lead for the home team. Kyle Bushee rifled a long slap shot from the line, and after Hartzell made the initial save, Stenglein crashed the goal and chopped home the rebound.
The Wings put the icing on the cake late in the third period as Jimmy Mullin earned his seventh of the year on a doorstep tap-in. The goal was assisted by Heinonen, who earned a three-point night, and Martin, who made 26 saves during the victory.
Next: Kalamazoo @ Ft. Wayne Komets- Wednesday, January 3, 7:30 p.m.,Allen County War Memorial Coliseum
Broadcast information: Wednesday’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.