Kalamazoo (11-11-0-1) vs. Brampton (12-11-2-1)
Listen: 1660 The Fan
Last Time Out:
Reid Gardiner played hero against his former squad in overtime as the K-Wings topped the Wheeling Nailers 4-3 in overtime on Friday night. The K-Wings scored each of the first two goals of the night, jumping out to a 2-0 lead just over five minutes into regulation. Wheeling stormed back with two consecutive goals to knot the game at 2-2 midway through regulation. Tyler Biggs gave the home team the lead once again as the second period wound down. After forty minutes of play the K-Wings found themselves sitting with a 3-2 lead. That lead would last until the 13:28 mark of the third as the Nailers tied the game up once again, setting the stage for overtime. In the extra frame it was Reid Gardiner who ended it, scoring 1:28 into the frame to send his former team home without a victory, and the K-Wings home with the extra point. Jake Hildebrand starred stopped 34 of 37 shots in the victory for the K-Wings.
Tyler Biggs netted a pair of goals on Friday night giving the forward goals in back-to-back games, and three goals in four games since returning to the K-Wings. The third-year K-Wing scored his first goal of the season on Wednesday night in Brampton, which was also his first point of the season. Biggs comes back to the K-Wings where he set career highs last year with 39 points (18g, 21a). The forward began the season with Nottingham (EIHL) where he tallied nine points (4g, 5a) in 24 games.
Saving the Day:
Jake Hildebrand stopped 34 of 37 shots on Friday night, marking the eighth time in the last nine games that a K-Wings netminder has made 30 or more saves. Hildebrand (5-9-0-1) has stopped 376 of 426 shots faced this season, while relative newcomer to the K-Wings Ivan Kulbakov has stopped 206 of 225 shots he has faced. Kulbakov currently holds the K-Wings season high for saves when he stopped 47 of 51 shots on Nov. 27 against Wheeling. Five netminders have made over 500 saves already this season.
In each of the first two meetings of the season between the Beast and K-Wings the visitor has come out on top. The Beast took the opening meeting of the season 4-2 in November, before the K-Wings claimed a 4-2 victory on Wednesday night in Brampton. Last season the visitor held the extra edge as well, claiming the victory in three of five meetings. Kalamazoo and Brampton play twice more to conclude a five-game season set.
Friday night four different K-Wings found themselves with multi-point games as Tyler Biggs, Kyle Blaney (2a), Brandon Anselmini (1g, 1a) and Justin Taylor (3a) each found the score sheet more than once. Taylor recorded his first three-point game of the season, and leads the K-Wings with six multi-point games this season. His three assists also set a season high for the K-Wings with three points in a game at home.
Turner Cup Champions Night:
Saturday night is be Turner Cup Champions night at Wings Event Center as the K-Wings honor the Turner Cup Championship teams from the 1979-80 and 1980-81 seasons. The K-Wings won the Turner Cup in back-to-back seasons in 1979-80 and 1980-81. Kalamazoo clinched their first Turner Cup by defeating Grand Rapids in seven games. The following year the Turner Cup was clinched in six games over the Fort Wayne Komets. The Turner Cup will be on site for fans to see and get a photo with. In addition some members of the Turner Cup Championship teams will be here to sign autographs and take photos with fans and the Cup. The two championships were the first two in K-Wings history.