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Game Day: Wednesday Night Rivalry Hockey Brings Toledo to Town

Wednesday, December 19th
Game Day: Wednesday Night Rivalry Hockey Brings Toledo to Town

GAME #26

Kalamazoo (13-11-0-1) vs. Toledo (17-5-2-0)

7:30 pm

Watch: ECHL.TV

Listen: 1660 The Fan

Last Time Out:

Another late third period tally provided the differential as the K-Wings picked up their fourth straight victory, topping the Wichita Thunder 3-2. For the second consecutive night the K-Wings surrendered the first goal of the night, but quickly answered back. Just 0:28 after the Thunder got on the board Eric Kattelus netted his first of the season, tying the game at 1-1. Before the end of the first period the K-Wings took the lead for the first time thanks to Reid Gardiner. The 2-1 Kalamazoo lead lasted through the middle frame and into the third period. After Wichita tied the game early in the third period Kalamazoo needed a late game goal once again to secure the victory. With just under two minutes to play Tyler Biggs cut to the front of the net, wristing a shot towards the cage that beat Stuart Skinner, giving Kalamazoo the 3-2 lead with 1:48 to play in regulation. Jake Hildebrand stopped everything else thrown his way, making 27 saves en route to the victory.

Head-to-Head:

Wednesday night is the third of 12 meetings between the Central Division foes this season. The Walleye have claimed each of the first two meetings, both coming at Wings Event Center. Kalamazoo took a point out of the first meeting, pushing the game to a shootout before falling 3-2. Shane Berschbach leads all skaters in the series with five points (1g, 4a) through the first two games. Teammate AJ Jenks has notched four points, all assists through the first two games against the K-Wings. Jagger Dirk, who is currently with the Utica Comets, is the only Kalamazoo player to have recorded multiple points against Toledo this season.

Scouting the Walleye: 

Toledo heads to Kalamazoo sitting three points back from Cincinnati for the Central Division lead. After nine-game and four-game win streaks earlier in the season the Walleye have been .500 in their last six games. Berschbach leads the Walleye with 30 points (11g, 19a) skating in 23 games this season. Berschbach is also the lone Walleye to surpass the 10-goal mark so far this season. Toledo newcomer TJ Hensick ranks second on the team with 28 points (8g, 20a) and leads the team with 20 assists. In net Kaden Fulcher (10gp) and Pat Nagle (14 gp) have split time for the Walleye. Fulcher, who has started both games against Kalamazoo is 10-3-1-0 with an .899 save percentage. and a 2.74 goals against average.

Bigg Play from the Old, New Guy:

Forward Tyler Biggs has quickly made an impact in the K-Wings lineup picking up five points in his first six games. Since being held off the score sheet in his first two games of the season, Biggs has points in four straight, including Sunday's game winning goal. Last season the forward set a career high with 39 points (18g, 21a). The forward has never pushed a point-streak past four games.

Third Period Finishers:

Sunday's third period tally marked the third time in three games that the K-Wings found themselves tied with less than five minutes to play in regulation. During the three-game stretch the K-Wings scored game-winning goals in the final two-minutes of play on Saturday and Sunday, while Friday night's game required overtime.

Climbing the Standings:

After topping the Thunder on Sunday afternoon the K-Wings jumped from fifth to third in the Central Division. The K-Wings are currently tied with the Fort Wayne Komets for third, while sitting one point ahead of Indy and Wheeling. Cincinnati and Toledo lead the Central with 39 and 36 points respectively. In their last ten games Kalamazoo has posted a record of 9-1-0-0, giving them more wins than any other team during that stretch. Idaho is the only other team to collect at least eight wins in their last ten games. 

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