KALAMAZOO, MI— The Kalamazoo Wings’ offense was firing on all cylinders as they scored seven times on their way to a 7-4 win against the Brampton Beast on Saturday night at Wings Event Center.
Setting the tone for what was a thrilling first period, Kalamazoo kicked off the night’s scoring with a quick transition attack through neutral ice. Eric Kattelus scooted up the right wing side and spotted a streaking Josh Pitt, who was crashing towards the goal. Kattelus swung a pass to Pitt who redirected the puck over the shoulder of Daniel Spence.
Brampton took over in the ensuing minutes, eventually scoring three times during a span of 4:36 of game time. Stefan Fournier tallied his 15th of the year on a beautiful deke after earning a breakaway, Vincent Dunn cashed in on a point-blank try while on a power play, and Brandon MacLean ripped a stick-side shot into the top corner to cap off the Beast flurry.
Kalamazoo pulled to within a goal while on a man advantage of their own, as Josh Pitt scored his league-leading 12th power play goal of the year. Pitt held in a clearance at the right wing wall and danced to the middle of the ice, where he faked a shot to open space before zipping in his second of the evening.
Carrying his red hot stick into the second period, Pitt capped off his hat trick with his 24th goal of the year in shorthanded fashion. Pitt earned a breakaway on Spence and, although his initial try was denied, he stuck with the play and drove a second effort into the goal.
Spence had to exit the game due to injury a few minutes later, and he was replaced by T.J. Sherwood. Right after the goalie change, the Wings threw everything they had at the net, and eventually mustered up their fourth goal of the night. Lane Scheidl danced into the Beast zone with a beautiful move past the defense and he slid a shot beyond the far-side pad of Sherwood and inside the post.
Brampton evened the score before the end of the period after they generated another breakaway. David Vallorani slipped in behind the defense and beat Michael Garteig with a forehand finish, sending the teams into the second intermission in a 4-4 tie.
Taking complete control in the third period, Kalamazoo dominated play for the remainder of the night. Kyle Blaney wiggled his way into the high slot of the Brampton zone and lifted a shot that leaked through the pads of Sherwood, propelling the Wings back on top, 5-4.
Adding to their advantage, Kattelus provided some insurance for the Wings at the midway point of the period. Kattelus reeled in the puck on the wing and side-stepped a Beast defender with a fancy move before finding the short-side corner of the net for his 10th goal of the season.
Kalamazoo sealed the home-ice win when Brampton pulled their netminder for an extra attacker and Justin Taylor fired the puck down the ice and into the net. Taylor’s goal followed a gutsy blocked shot in the defensive zone by Sean O’Rourke and was Taylor’s team-leading 26th of the season.
Photo credit: Kimberly Moss
Next: Kalamazoo vs. Cincinnati Cyclones- Saturday, March 4, 3:00 p.m., Wings Event Center.
Broadcast information: Sunday’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.