CINCINNATI, OH— The Kalamazoo Wings earned a point on the road during their fourth game in five days, but it was the Cincinnati Cyclones who picked up the 5-4 overtime victory on Sunday at U.S. Bank Arena.
Showing plenty of energy in the first period, the Wings took the game’s first lead after a lightning-quick transition through center ice. Kyle Blaney broke the puck out to Tyler Heinonen, who whipped a rink-wide feed to Lane Scheidl at the Cyclones’ blue line. Scheidl carried up the left-wing wall and zipped a short-side wrist shot over the stick of Jonas Johansson for the lone goal of the first period.
The second period featured scoring in bunches as the teams went back and forth throughout the frame.1:19 into the period, Winston Day Chief brought Cincinnati even at one with his 16th of the year. Michael Garteig made a save at the top of his crease but scrambled to get back in position as Day Chief poked home a rebound.
Kalamazoo re-gained the lead just five minutes later as another odd-man rush propelled the Wings ahead. Brendan Bradley reeled in the puck off a missed net from Cincinnati and bolted into the Cyclones’ zone on the right wing. Bradley lifted a near-side wrister over the glove of Johansson for his 12th of the year.
The Cyclones roared right back minutes later and equalized the game at a pair apiece, courtesy of Alex Kile. A long shot from Jesse Schultz was tipped in front by Kile and changed directions on its way into the goal.
Taking complete control the rest of the way in the second, the Wings flexed their muscles and struck twice before the period came to a close. Possessing the puck in the offensive zone, Jimmy Mullin opened up space in the middle of the ice and walked to the slot to fire a wrist shot. Johansson made a glove save, but he knocked the rebound back into the slot where J.T. Stenglein batted it out of the air and made it 3-2.
38 seconds later the Wings doubled their lead after a beautiful display of patience by Josh Pitt. Pitt had the puck dropped to him by Tyler Biggs, and he danced into the zone, fought through a stick check, and carried to the low slot. Pitt saw a gap between the legs of the Cincinnati goaltender and slid his 21st goal of the season into the back of the net. His late tally sent Kalamazoo into the second intermission with a 4-2 lead.
Seconds into the third period, Cincinnati threw everything they could at the goal of Garteig and were rewarded with a put-back tally. Daniel Muzito-Bagenda had a kicked-away save land on his stick, and he sailed a wrist shot into the top corner of the goal to make it 4-3.
Clawing their way back into contention, the Cyclones knotted the game at four midway through the third. Yet another follow-up off a rebound let Cincinnati equalize the game in the final period. Garteig’s initial stop on the Cyclones’ first effort couldn’t be cleared and the puck landed on the stick of Eric Knodel, who flung a wrist shot over the blocker and under the post.
The 4-4 tie lasted until the end of regulation, sending the game into a three-on-three overtime session. With under 30 seconds left in the extra session, the Cyclones earned the victory from Eric Diodati. He joined the rush up the right wing side and reached back to fire a slap for the game winner and his first career goal.
Next: Kalamazoo vs. Wheeling Nailers- Wednesday, February 21, 7 p.m., Wings Event Center.
Broadcast information: Wednesday’s game will air on AM 590/FM 106.9 WKZO 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.