Kalamazoo (0-1-0-0) vs. Ft. Wayne (1-1-0-0)
Listen: 1660 The Fan
Kicking Off Year 45:
The K-Wings will begin the home portion of the 45th Anniversary season in a big way on Friday night, retiring a jersey number for the first time in 38 years. The no. 26 jersey worn by Kevin Schamehorn will be retired in a pre-game ceremony. Schamehorn, who played in Kalamazoo from 1976-1979, 1981-85, then again during the 1989-90 season, is the only player to ever play in three decades for the K-Wings.
During 495 games with Kalamazoo Schamehorn set K-Wing records for points (474), assists (235) and is tied for the K-Wing record in goals (239). All of those records still stand today. The former fourth round pick of the Detroit Red Wings still resides in Kalamazoo today.
Home Ice Advantage:
After falling 8-4 in Indy last Saturday night the K-Wings return to the friendly confines of Wings Event Center for the first time in the 2018-19 season. Since joining the ECHL for the 2009-10 season the K-Wings have never posted a losing record at home. Only three times during that span have the K-Wings failed to win at least 20 games at home (19,18,18). During the last five seasons Kalamazoo has won 57% of games played at home posting a record of 102-60-9-9 at Wings Event Center.
This weekends home-and-home series with Ft. Wayne marks the start of a 13 game season series with the Komets. Last season the rivals faced off six times with the Wings winning the season series with a 5-1-0-0 record. Friday will be the first of only five trips for Ft. Wayne to Kalamazoo. The majority of the season series will take place in Ft. Wayne, with eight of the 13 games taking place at the Allen County War Memorial.
Saturday night both Jagger Dirk and Chris Collins scored their first professiona goals in the 8-4 loss to Indy. Dirk, who was assigned to Kalamazoo from Utica on Saturday morning, scored on his first shot, and first shift as a K-Wing when he netted Kalamazoo's first goal 1:36 into the opening period. Collins, making his professional debut after spending the last four seasons at the University of Calgary, scored the K-Wings second goal of the night just over midway through the opening period. The forward was the only player to make his professional debut in the defeat to Indy on Saturday. Forward Zach Diamantoni and defenseman Matt Joyaux are the only other players on the K-Wings roster this season who are slated to make their professional debuts.
In addition to the two goal scorers, forward Chad McDonald netted his first professional point with an assist on Justin Taylor's second period tally.
Facing the Central:
Each of the first seven regular season games this year for the Wings will come against Central Division foes. Overall the Kalamazoo will play 56 of the 72 games this season against in-division foes. After the 13 match-ups against the Komets, Kalamazoo plays Indy 13 times, Cincinnati 11 times, Toledo 12 times, and Wheeling seven times. Last season Kalamazoo finished the regular season 17-20-2-3 within their own division.
Of the 16 non-division games, seven will come against the North Division, while the remaining nine will be against the Mountain Division. Kalamazoo does not face any South Division teams this season. Last year Kalamazoo was 8-3-0-0 against the Mountain Division, while going 5-6-2-0 against the North.
After finishing the weekend set with Ft. Wayne the K-Wings turn their attentions to Division foe Cincinnati. Kalamazoo will go travel to face the Cyclones on Friday, Oct. 26 before returning home to host the Cyclones on Oct. 27 for Orange Ice and Nickelodeon Night.