KALAMAZOO, MI— The Kalamazoo Wings were backed by a standing-room-only crowd and propelled by a third period surge, as they toppled the Cincinnati Cyclones, 4-1, at the 37th annual green ice game on Saturday at Wings Event Center.
The Cyclones benefited from a fortunate bounce in the opening stages of the first period and earned an early advantage. Daniel Muzito-Bagenda waltzed into the Kalamazoo zone on the right wing and flipped a backhand to the goal. The shot hit Joel Martin in the mask and dropped to the ice before dribbling to the net and over the line.
Kalamazoo tied the game ten minutes later after creating mayhem in front of the Cincinnati goal and cashing in on the scramble. Jimmy Mullin sent the puck to the goal and Jason Kasdorf fumbled the attempted save. With the puck loose in the crease, Scott Henegar crashed the goal and reached his stick through the web of bodies and rolled the puck into the back of the net.
After an even first period, the Wings took control in the second period from the drop of the puck. Creating extended pressure in the Cyclones’ end, Kyle Blaney fought through the stick check of a defender before whipping a backdoor feed to Lane Scheidl, who one-timed the pass into the top of the net. Scheidl’s strike was his third in his last two games and was the only goal of the second period, sending the Wings into the third period with a 2-1 lead.
Midway through the final frame and leading by a goal, the Wings used two goals in a thirty second span to flex their muscles and rip away any chance of a Cyclones’ comeback. Brendan Bradley bounced the puck out to the line where it was pulled off the wall by Aaron Irving. Irving took two steps towards the middle of the ice and unloaded a heat-seeking slap shot that flew over the shoulder of Kasdorf and in for his 14th of the year.
Shortly thereafter, Mullin pushed the Kalamazoo lead to three goals with his 18th of the season. Eric Kattelus knuckled a shot to the net and Kasdorf made the save, but the rebound leaked out. Bradley poked the rebound off the post and Mullin bombarded the goal to reap the reward on the opportunity. His tally gave the Wings a 4-1 edge with under nine minutes remaining in regulation.
Even though Kasdorf was pulled for an extra attacker, the defense of the Wings stepped up to the challenge and warded off each try from the visitors, resulting in a Kalamazoo triumph on green ice.
Next: Kalamazoo @ Ft. Wayne Komets- Wednesday, March 21, 7:30 p.m., Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.
Broadcast information: Wednesday’s game will air on AM 1660 The Fan or online at www.1660thefan.com/listen-live.
Photo credit: Kimberly Moss
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.