Kalamazoo (10-11-0-1) vs. Wheeling (10-11-1-0)
Listen: 1660 The Fan
Last Time Out:
Justin Taylor led the Kalamzoo offensive attack netting a pair of goals and Ivan Kulbakov stopped 30 of 32 shots as the K-Wings got back in the win column with a 4-2 victory over the Brampton Beast on Wednesday evening. Kalamazoo opened the scoring in the first period thanks to Kyle Bushee. The lead grew to 2-0 in the middle frame after Tyler Biggs notched his first goal since returning to Kalamazoo. Brampton sliced the lead in half exactly five minutes later, and would trail by one heading into the final frame. In the third Justin Taylor scored his first of the night on a penalty shot while the K-Wings were short-handed, the first penalty shot of the season for Kalamazoo pushing the lead to 3-1. Brampton would cut the lead to one with a power play tally, but Justin Taylor added his second of the night, an empty netter, to give Kalamazoo the 4-2 victory. Ivan Kulbakov stopped 30 of 32 shots in the victory.
Justin Taylor's second goal of the night on Wednesday was the 200th of his ECHL career. The ninth-year pro has scored 190 of those goals while wearing the winged K, and is currently third all-time in K-Wings history, sitting 39 goals back from co-leaders Kevin Schamehorn and Mike Wanchuk. The Mindemoya, ONT native is on track to surpass the 20-goal mark for the seventh time in his nine-year career.
The penalty shot goal scored by Justin Taylor on Wednesday was the first time since March 3, 2014 that Kalamazoo had scored on a penalty shot. Former K-Wings and current Beast forward David Pacan scored in Orlando against Cody Reichard. That same season Yanni Gourde also scored on a penalty shot against Cincinnati's Michael Houser. Sicne Pacan's goal the K-Wings had gone through seven penalty shots without scoring.
Two short-handed goals on Wednesday evening put the K-Wings alone atop the ECHL with ten short-handed goals this season. Kalamazoo has now doubled their short-handed output from last season, with ten short-handed tallies. Maine ranks second in the ECHL with eight tallies.
In addition Justin Taylor now sits only one goal back from Utah's Caleb Herbert for the ECHL scoring title, with 18 goals. Herbert has tallied 19 times through 22 games with the Grizzlies to lead the lead. After Taylor there is a trio of players with 14 goals.
Finding Themselves All Tied Up:
Heading into Friday's game the K-Wings and Nailers have nearly the exact same record. Kalamazoo (10-11-0-1) and Wheeling (10-11-1-0) are currently tied for fifth place in the Central Division, and 11th in the Western Conference. By virtue of the head-to-head tiebreaker the K-Wings hold the upper hand, having won each of the first two meetings between the teams. Both teams are currently one point back from the Indy Fuel for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Central.
Upcoming-Turner Cup Champions Night:
Saturday night will 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 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. A limited number of replica Turner Cups will also be handed out to fans in attendance tomorrow night as well.