Kalamazoo (15-18-0-1) vs. Brampton (15-17-2-1)
Listen: 1660 The Fan
Last Time Out:
Tanner Sorenson scored his first professional hat trick on Saturday night as the K-Wings fell 8-5 in a spirited offensive contest in Cincinnati. The Cyclones notched the first four goals of the night, jumping out to a 4-0 lead late in the opening period. Sorenson netted his first of the night however as time wound down, sending the K-Wings into the intermission trailing by three. After Reid Gardiner got Kalamazoo within two, the Cyclones offense exploded for four more goals, pushing their lead to 8-2. Kalamazoo got the final three goals of the night as Sorenson capped off a hat trick, bringing the final score to 8-5.
Friday is the fourth of five meetings between the K-Wings and Beast this season. After surrendering the first game of the season in Kalamazoo, the K-Wings have won each of the last two meetings between the teams. ECHL Leading scorer Justin Taylor leads all skaters in the season series with three goals. He is the only K-Wing to have scored more than once against the Beast this year. Brampton's Brandon Marino leads all skaters through the first three games with six points (2g, 4a). Former K-Wing David Pacan is the only other player to notch more than a single goal in the series so far. Overall seven different Beast skaters have scored, while eight different K-Wings have recorded a goal. Austin Lotz has appeared in two games against the K-Wings, posting a record of 0-2-0-0 with a .816 save percentage and a 4.61 goals against average. The netminder played one of those two games while with the Reading Royals.
Scouting the Beast:
Brampton heads into the weekend tied for sixth place in the North Division, and six points out of the fourth and final playoff spot. David Pacan is tied for the Beast lead with 32 points (16g, 16a) and ranks among the top five in the ECHL in goals. Brandon Marino, who is tied with Pacan with 32 points, leads Brampton in assists (25). Former Indy Fuel netminder Etienne Marcoux and as well as Austin Lotz have played the bulk of the games for the Beast, despite Brampton using six different netminders this season. Marcoux leads the Beast with six victories, posting a record of 6-5-0-1.
The line of Tanner Sorenson, Chris Collins, and Reid Gardiner enter the weekend all on career-long point streaks. Gardiner (14 games) is currently on the longest point streak in the ECHL this season. Sorenson (8 games) and Collins (9 games) are close behind their linemate with the longest streaks of their careers.
Controlling the Offense:
For the third straight game the Gardiner-Sorenson-Collins line factored on every K-Wings goal in Saturday's 8-5 defeat. The line has now accounted for or factored on each of the K-Wings last 10 goals scored throughout the last four games. Collins, who leads the team in points, has inched his way up the league scoring charts and ranks fourth in the ECHL in points (40), and second among all rookies. All three players are averaging over a point per game through the first half of the season for the K-Wings.
After the next two games send the K-Wings to Fort Wayne, Kalamazoo returns home for a big weekend next weekend, hosting Cincinnati and Toledo prior to the All-Star Break. On Saturday, Jan. 19 the K-Wings will honor former goaltender Georges Gagnon by retiring his number 1 in a pregame ceremony. In addition the team will honor 45 years of Kalamazoo Wings hockey by welcoming back members from nearly every team in K-Wing history. Prior to the K-Wing game several of those alumni will hit the ice for an Alumni Game beginning at 5:00pm. Those alumni who make the trek back to Kalamazoo will also be honored during the first intermission of Saturday night's game.