Kalamazoo (7-10-0-1) vs. Indy (10-10-0-0)
Watch: ECHL.TV, Facebook.com
Listen: 1660 The Fan
Watch for Free:
Friday's game will be available to watch for free online through the ECHL's Facebook page. The K-Wings and Fuel are the featured showcase game and will be streamed through Facebook Watch.
Last Time Out:
Jake Hildebrand stole the show for the K-Wings stopping all 30 shots faced on Saturday night as the K-Wings blanked the Nailers 2-0, taking their third straight victory. After a scoreless first period the K-Wings took the first lead of the night at 6:11 of the middle frame courtesy of Justin Taylor. The goal was Taylor's 14th of the season, and extended his scoring streak to three-games. A power play tally, it would be all the K-Wings needed, but the team would add a second early in the third period to pad the lead. Hildebrand shut the door the rest of the way stopping all 15 shots he faced in the third period, and all 30 throughout the game, giving the K-Wings the 2-0 victory. Kalamazoo finished the night two-for-four on the man-advantage, while holding the Nailers scoreless on three power play chances of their own.
Hildebrand Catches Them All:
Saturday's shutout victory for Jake Hildebrand was the netminder's first since January 27, 2017 when he was manning the cage for the Indy Fuel against the Rapid City Rush. During the 2016-17 season with the Fuel, Hildebrand set a career high with four shutouts, including three in January. During his college career at Michigan State Hildebrand recorded 13 shutouts, placing him third all-time in Spartan Hockey history behind Ryan Miller and Dominic Vicari.
Scouting the Fuel:
Indy heads into the weekend five points ahead of Kalamazoo in the Central Division standings, having played two more games than the K-Wings. The Fuel are 5-5-0-0 in their last ten games, including a 6-3 victory over the K-Wings on Nov. 24. Forward Josh Shalla leads the Fuel offense this season with 21 points (9g, 12a) through the first 20 games of the season. Ryan Rupert, who leads the Fuel with 14 assists on the season, is second on the team with 18 points. Matt Tomkins has shouldered the bulk of the play between the pipes appearing in 15 games. The netminder is 6-8-0-0 with a goals against average of 3.39 to go along with a .899 save percentage. Jason Pawloski, who is still looking for his first win of the season, has appeared in two games for Indy, posting a 6.00 goals against average and a .778 save percentage.
Moving In the Record Books:
A pair of goals on Tuesday night pushed Justin Taylor into third place all-time in K-Wings history with 194 goals. The ninth-year K-Wing trails only Kevin Schamehorn and Mike Wanchuk who are tied for the franchise record with 239 goals. At his current pace (.77gpg) Taylor would finish the 2018-19 season one goal shy of Schamehorn and Wanchuck.
For the second time this season Taylor also enters the weekend on a three-game scoring streak. His four goals in the K-Wings three games last week give him 14 on the season, the second most in the ECHL.
Power Play Surging:
Kalamazoo netted a pair of power play goals on Saturday, giving the K-Wings 11 power play goals in the last ten games. During that stretch the K-Wings have only been held scoreless on the man-advantage in only two games. Kalamazoo ow ranks 14th on the power play, converting on 16.9% of chances.
It's a busy weekend at Wings Event Center as the K-Wings host all three legs of a three-in-three weekend. Saturday night the K-Wings welcome the Tulsa Oilers to town for Teddy Toss night. Fans are invited to bring new stuffed animals to toss onto the ice after the K-Wings first goal of the night. All stuffed animals will be donated to Bronson Children's Hospital. In addition the K-Wings will be wearing special Fan Design jerseys on Saturday night that will be auctioned off following the game. Chosen in an off-season contest, the jerseys, designed by Dallas Kirkpatrick, feature the green and gold color scheme once worn by the K-Wings.
Fans are also invited to meet the Grinch on Sunday afternoon as he will be in attendance as the K-Wings take on the Cincinnati Cyclones.