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Wings come up short on pink ice

Thursday, February 15th
Wings come up short on pink ice

KALAMAZOO, MI—The Kalamazoo Wings saw a two-goal lead evaporate after the Quad City Mallards produced a four-goal second period, as Kalamazoo dropped a 5-3 final at the annual Valentine’s Day Pink Ice Game on Wednesday at Wings Event Center.

After a back and forth first period, Kalamazoo eventually tallied the first goal of the night, 17:25 into the opening period. While on a power play, Danny Moynihan served the puck to Josh Pitt at the top of the right-wing circle, opening up Pitt with loads of space. He took two steps towards the goal and fired a top-corner wrist shot over the glove of C.J. Motte for his 19th goal of the season, setting a new career high. It was his tenth power play goal of the year, good enough for second most in the ECHL.

21 seconds later, Pitt led a charge up the wing and in behind the Quad City defense. He drove to the net and tapped a backdoor feed to Kyle Bushee, who joined the rush and finished off the play with a one-time tap in for his eighth goal of the season. Bushee’s 32nd point of the year tied a career high which he set in 2012-13 with Elmira.

Early in the second period, Quad City took control of the game and ripped off the first of what became four unanswered goals during the middle frame. 6:04 into the period, Gergo Nagy was freed on a breakaway and carried in on Joel Martin before faking a shot and sliding a backhand through Martin’s legs and in.

Seven minutes later, another tremendous individual effort by Nagy drew the game even. The Mallards’ forward forced a steal in the offensive zone and froze the Wings’ defense with a fake shot before carrying the puck to the far-side post for a backhand deposit.

Three minutes later and maintaining their momentum in the second period, the Mallards used a put-back effort to go ahead, 3-2. Tristan King’s shot was stopped by Martin, but the rebound was fetched by Alex Kuqali, who chipped a backhand into the net for his third of the year.

Capping off a four-unanswered-goal stretch, the Mallards went ahead by a pair, courtesy of Kyle Follmer. Nagy went to the net and drove a shot which was stopped, but the loose puck couldn’t be contained and Follmer spotted it to bury the eventual game winner.

Less than ten seconds later, the Wings were on the receiving end of a generous bounce, as J.T. Stenglein went to center the puck, but it deflected off a Quad City defender before angling over the shoulder of Motte and into the goal. The late second-period strike brought Kalamazoo to within one at the second intermission.

Late in the third period and after withstanding a barrage of chances from the Wings, the Mallards put the game out of reach with another breakaway goal. Keegan Kolesar was stretched a pass behind the Kalamazoo defense and finished a beautiful move to pace the Mallards to a 5-3 lead, which held through the final horn.

Next: Kalamazoo @ Quad City Mallards- Friday, February 16, 8:05 p.m., TaxSlayer Center.

Broadcast information: Friday’s game will air on AM 1660 The Fan or online at www.1660thefan.com/listen-live.

Stats: https://www.echl.com/stats/game-center/15584

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.

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Friday, March 8th
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