WICHITA, KS— Led by lights-out goaltending from Joel Martin and Garret Cockerill’s first career goal, the Kalamazoo Wings earned a hard-fought 3-2 overtime victory over the Wichita Thunder on Sunday night at INTRUST Bank Arena.
Showcasing boundless energy in the opening minutes, the Wings heavily out-shot and out-chanced the Thunder in the first period. Earning a power play in the late stages of the frame, Kalamazoo took the lead with the lone tally of the first 20. Eric Kattelus dropped to a knee and held in a clearance attempt, then slid the puck to Josh Pitt. Upon receiving the pass, Pitt carried to the high slot and punched a wrist shot past a screen and around Wichita goalie Shane Starrett for his 11th goal of the season.
Minutes into the middle period and on a power play, the Wings doubled their advantage on Pitt’s second of the night. In similar fashion to the first tally of the night, Pitt controlled the puck at the top of the circles before ripping a wrist shot that flew over the glove of Starrett.
Wichita erased the Wings’ lead over a 53-second span during the middle minutes of the second period, and tied the game with a pair of strikes. Winning a faceoff in the attacking zone, Kevin Dufour wasted no time getting the puck off his stick and into the goal with a top-corner-finding wrist shot from the top of the left circle.
Less than a minute later, the Thunder equalized, courtesy of Dyson Stevenson’s ninth of the year. A tape-to-tape feed from Evan Polei to Stevenson allowed him the space to deke around Joel Martin and deposit the puck into an open net.
The third period was a spirited affair, with both teams earning quality chances. The goaltenders highlighted the frame, with Martin making a series of point-blank saves down the stretch, sending the game into an overtime period in a 2-2 tie.
Forced to kill a penalty in the first portion of overtime, the Wings used the momentum of the kill to generate the game winner. Garret Cockerill scurried up the right wing wall and stepped into a slap shot from the faceoff dot which sailed over the stick side of Starrett and into the top corner of the net for the game winner.
Next: Kalamazoo @ Idaho Steelheads- Wednesday, January 10, 9:10 p.m., CenturyLink Arena.
Broadcast information: Wednesday’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.