MOLINE, IL— The Kalamazoo Wings outshot the Quad City Mallards, 37-34, but couldn’t overcome a three-goal deficit during a 6-3 loss on Friday night at TaxSlayer Center.
Forced to try and kill an early first-period penalty, the Wings surrendered the first goal of the night in controversial fashion. A point blank try from Gergo Nagy appeared to go off the crossbar, but upon conversation between the referee and goal judge, it was ruled a goal and put the Wings in a 1-0 hole.
Less than three minutes later and carrying in on an odd-man rush, the Mallards doubled their lead. Alex Globke feathered the puck along to Tristan King, whose nifty move opened space between the skate of Michael Garteig and the post, allowing King to pocket his 8th goal of the year.
The Mallards continued their efficient play into the waning minutes of the first period and were able to go ahead 3-0 before the break. While shorthanded, Quad City forced the puck out of their own end and created another two-on-one rush. Matt Pohlkamp found Globke, who slipped a backhand through the legs of Garteig for his fifth of the season.
Showing a renewed energy after the first intermission, the Wings wasted no time in their attempt to mount a comeback. Eric Kattelus stole a clearance attempt by Quad City, and carried the puck to the high slot area where he unloaded a heat-seeking wrist shot that sailed into the top corner of the net for his ninth of the season.
With three minutes remaining in the period, Quad City, who were shorthanded for the third time on the night, forced yet another odd-man rush. Alexander Kuqali raced up the left wing side with a teammate to his right, but Kuqali elected to shoot the puck and he whipped it into the short side corner, giving the Mallards a 4-1 lead at the second intermission.
Kalamazoo took control of the game in the opening minutes of the third period, as Kyle Bushee struck for his ninth of the season. Following the play up the ice, an initial shot missed the goal and rattled off the end wall, allowing Bushee to spot the loose puck for a tap-in. The goal was Bushee’s 33rd point of the year, setting a new career high.
Shortly after Bushee’s tally, the Wings continued their aggressive attack of the Mallards and brought the game back to within a goal. After a bouncing puck ended up on the stick of Tyler Biggs in the left wing corner, he decided to fling an acute-angle drive to the net which leaked through the legs of C.J. Motte and over the line.
With Kalamazoo just a goal behind, the Mallards yanked control right back ten minutes later. Creating a three-on-one up the ice, a tic-tac-toe play opened Jamie Tardif in front of the goal for the finish, making it 5-3, late in the third.
Minutes later, the Mallards put the game out of reach with a power play goal, courtesy of Tristan King. After Quad City won a faceoff, King wound up and drilled a slap shot into the top corner of the goal, putting the cherry on top of a 6-3 Mallards win.
Next: Kalamazoo vs. Toledo Walleye- Saturday, February 17, 7 p.m., Wings Event Center.
Broadcast information: Saturday’s game will air on AM 1660 The Fan 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.