FT. WAYNE, IN—The Kalamazoo Wings scored a season-high eight goals on 24 shots and cruised past the Ft. Wayne Komets, 8-3, on Wednesday at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.
Storming out of the opening faceoff, Kalamazoo established early dominance with a relentless attack. Driving the net on his forehand, Jimmy Mullin’s shot was kicked aside by Michael Houser, but the rebound landed on the tape of Josh Pitt, who punched the rebound into the back of the goal for his ninth of the year.
Adding to their quick lead, the Wings took a 2-0 advantage while operating on their first power play of the game. Aaron Irving slid a pass to Eric Kattelus, who one-timed the feed through traffic and over the leg of Houser.
As the offensive display continued, the Wings established a three-goal lead just 18 seconds later on the back of a Kyle Bushee strike. Again, Mullin gained the line and flung a low wrist shot towards Houser, who kicked it along to the slot, where Bushee crashed with his stick on the ice and tallied his sixth goal of the year. The goal was the end of the night for Houser, who was pulled after giving up three tallies on eight shots.
Just over three minutes later, J.T. Stenglein earned his third goal in his past two games and fourth of the season when he was on the receiving end of a beautiful drop feed by Garret Cockerill. Cockerill slipped the puck through the legs of a Komets’ defenseman, and dropped it off to Stenglein, who picked the top corner for a 4-0 Kalamazoo lead.
Ft. Wayne got on the board while shorthanded, as a zone clearance turned into an odd-man rush. Dan Maggio swung the pass across the ice to Mason Baptista, who wired it over the stretching Michael Garteig.
After withstanding some early pressure from the Komets, the Wings turned their defense to offense in the first seven minutes of the second period. Kyle Blaney gained the Ft. Wayne line and fired a perfect pass to Justin Taylor, who used a little deke to draw Sean Maguire off his line and cash in on his 17th of the year.
With under two minutes to go in the period, the Komets used a two-on-one attack to draw to within three goals for the second time of the night. Dennis Kravchenko fed the puck to the backdoor, where Louick Marcotte’s hesitation move froze Garteig, freeing an open goal.
The Wings needed just 16 seconds before re-establishing their four-goal lead over the Komets. Blaney forced a steal at the Ft. Wayne blue line and found Taylor, who powered a wrist shot past Maguire for his second goal of the period. The late second-period strike sent Kalamazoo into the locker room with a comfortable four-goal lead through two periods.
As they continued to toy with the Komets, Aaron Irving ticked the Wings’ lead to 7-2 in the first 4:17 of the final period. Maguire played the puck from his crease and threw it onto the stick of Irving, who zipped a slap shot over the Komets’ goalie’s glove.
Ft. Wayne continued to try and mount a comeback, but their miracle bid would fall well short. Gabriel Desjardins scored his 13th of the year, but Irving pounded home his second of the night with less than two minutes remaining, capping off an 8-3 domination by Kalamazoo.
Next: Kalamazoo @ Kansas City Mavericks- Friday, January 5, 8:05 p.m.,Silverstein Eye Centers Arena.
Broadcast information: Friday’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.