Kalamazoo (15-16-0-1) at Toledo (22-7-3-0)
Listen: 1660 The Fan
Last Time Out:
The K-Wings led 2-1 in the first period, but Indy stormed back to score five unanswered goals, topping the K-Wings 6-2 on Saturday night. Chris Collins, Reid Gardiner, and Tanner Sorenson all extended their point-streaks in the first period of the loss. Kalamazoo took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission, but it took the Fuel only 1:40 into the middle stanza to knot it back up. A power play goal from Josh Shalla was the equalizer, and set the stage for a big second period. Ryan and Matt Rupert tacked on goals in addition to Avery Peterson pushing the lead to 5-2 after the second. In the third period Matt Rupert's second tally of the night was the only one in the final period, rounding out 2018 with a 6-2 victory for the visitors.
Game of Thrones Part II:
Friday Night marks the second of two Game of Thrones Night games played by the K-Wings and Walleye. Both teams wore special Game of Thrones jerseys last Friday night in Kalamazoo, and will wear the jerseys once again in Toledo. The Walleye took the initial Game of Thrones Night, topping Kalamazoo 5-4.
December in Review:
The K-Wings spent December playing nearly a game every other day, playing 15 games during the 31 day month. Kalamazoo finished the month posting a record of 9-6-0-0, more than doubling the win total for the season. Eleven of the 15 games played during the month, took place at home, pushing the K-Wings past the half-way portion of the home schedule. Reid Gardiner and Chris Collins led the way for the K-Wings in December offensively, ending the month on 12 and five-game point streaks. Collins (7g, 12a) led all rookies in scoring, while Reid Gardiner finished the month with 23 points (12g, 11a). With December in the review mirror the K-Wings will only host 16 games throughout the remainder of the season.
The line of Reid Gardiner, Chris Collins, and Tanner Sorenson continued its hot play on Monday afternoon, recording the K-Wings lone goals in the loss to the Fuel. Entering the weekend’s games all three players are currently riding career long point streaks. Sorenson (6 games) and Collins (5 games) are each tied with their previous career high, while Gardiner (12 games) has surpassed his career high of ten games. Gardiner, who was an honorable mention for player of the month in December. Gardiner was third among all skaters with 23 points during the month. Meanwhile Chris Collins led all rookies in scoring (19 points) and was runner up for Rookie of the Month.
After a month loaded with home games the K-Wings split the month of January almost evenly between the home and road games. Kalamazoo plays six of 11 games away from home. January pits the K-Wings against Central Division foes in nine of the 11 games with the only non-divisional opponents being Brampton and Rapid City, both coming at home. After an 11 home game month in December the K-Wings will only play nine home games during January and February combined.
Scouting the Walleye:
Friday is the second game of the weekend for the Walleye. Prior to the start of the weekend Shane Berschbach led the Walleye with 39 points (14g, 25a). Fellow forward TJ Hensick is the only other Walleye over 30 points with 38 in his first ECHL season (10g, 28a). Bryan Moore (12g) ranks second on the team in scoring. Kaden Fulcher and Pat Nagle have split time in net this season. Nagle has played in the bulk of the games, posting a record of 12-5-1 with a 3.05 goals against average and a .897 save percentage. Fulcher, who has appeared in 13 games, is 9-2-2, with very similar numbers posting a 3.07 goals against average, and a.895 save percentage.