Kalamazoo (14-12-0-1) vs Indy (13-13-0-0)
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Saturday night will be the first Underwear Toss game done by the K-Wings. Fans are invited to bring new packages of underwear to the game and toss them onto the ice after the K-Wings first goal. The toss will work just like the Teddy Toss game earlier in the season. All the underwear collected will be donated to local shelters to assists those in need this holiday season.
Last Time Out:
Kalamazoo broke a seven-game power play drought in the final seconds of the middle period and added another power play goal in the third as Kalamazoo topped the Fort Wayne Komets 5-3 on Friday night. Five different players scored for the K-Wings in the victory as they worked back from a pair of one-goal deficits. After a scoreless first the hometown Komets got on the board first midway through the second. The teams traded goals back and forth until the final seconds of the period. With a power play chance Zach Saar threw the puck towards the Komet net. Saar's shot snuck past netminder Zach Fucale to give Kalamazoo their first lead of the night. In the third the K-Wings got on the board quick as Tanner Sorenson netted his second of the season. Sorenson's power play goal gave Kalamazoo the padding they would need to wrap it up. Fort Wayne made a late push as they got a penalty shot goal from Jamie Schaafsma cutting the lead to one goal. Justin Taylor notched an empty netter late to push the lead back to two goals. As the final horn sounded the K-Wings skated out with a 5-3 victory, their eighth in the last ten games.
Saturday's contest will be the fourth of the season, and second in Kalamazoo between the Central Division foes this season. Tonight's game will be the halfway mark of the season series as the teams play a total of eight times this season. Indy won each of the first two matchups, but the K-Wings came away victorious in the most recent matchup on Dec. 7. Chris Collins leads the K-Wings against the Fuel this season with four points (2g, 2a) and is one of three K-Wings to score twice against Indy joining Justin Taylor and Zach Saar. The Fuel have been paced by Ryan and Matt Rupert, as well as Matthew Thompson who all have five points through the first three meetings.
Justin Taylor's empty net goal on Friday night gave the forward sole possession of first place in the ECHL's scoring race with his 20th goal of the season. Taylor has 20 goals through the first 27 games so far, and sits one goal ahead of Utah's Caleb Herbert. Chris Collins sits in sevent among all ECHL rookies with 25 points through 27 games with Kalamazoo this season. The forward also leads the league in shorthanded points (7) and is second in shorthanded goals (3).
Seven and Counting:
A pair of assists on Friday extended Reid Gardiner's point streak to seven games. Since being reassigned to Kalamazoo from Utica the forward has notched at least a point in ten of 11 games, and has recorded four multi-point games in that stretch. Gardiner has 20 points (9g, 11a) in 17 games for the K-Wings this season, ranking third on the team behind Justin Taylor and Chris Collins.
Back on the Board:
A pair of power play goals on Friday night snapped a seven-game drought for the K-Wings that saw the team go scoreless on 26 straight opportunities before capitalizing at the end of the second period. Kalamazoo currently ranks 21st on the man-advantage, scoring on 14.4% of chances. Zach Saar, who scored on the power play Friday, and Justin Taylor each lead the team with three power play goals.