Kalamazoo (16-18-0-2) at Fort Wayne (21-15-0-1)
Listen: 590 WKZO
Last Time Out:
After surrendering the first goal of the night the K-Wings stormed back to score the next three straight, taking the lead and not looking back. Zach Diamantoni's first professional goal tied the game at 1-1, before the end of the first period. In the second period Kalamazoo netted a pair of goals in a 2:11 span to take a 3-1 lead. Shortly after Reid Gardiner put the visitors up by two the Komets got an even strength tally to close the gap to one, but that was as close as they got the rest of the way. Chad McDonald scored a power play goal and Chris Collins added an empty net goal to extend the lead to 5-2 before the Komets scores a goal in the final minute to round out the scoring. Jake Hildebrand stopped 39 of 42 shots as the K-Wings snapped a five-game winless streak. The Kalamazoo power play finished the night two-for-four, marking the third straight game with a power play goal.
Scouting the Komets:
Fort Wayne sits in third place in the Central Division heading into Wednesday's match up. The Komets are three points ahead of fourth place Indy, and seven points ahead of the sixth place K-Wings. Fort Wayne is the hottest team in the Central Division, despite dropping Sunday's game, holding a record of 7-3-0-0 in the last ten games. Despite this the Komets are the lowest scoring team in the Central Division averaging 3.11 goals per game, having scored 115 goals so far this season. Justin Hodgman, who missed Sunday's game, leads the Komets with 39 points (12g, 27a) this season, with Jake Kamrass (38 points) right on his tail. Forward JC Campagna leads the Komets in goals with 17, having appeared in 31 games. Likas Hafner, who started each of the last three games, has appeared in 21 games for the Komets, posting a record of 11-9-0-0.
In the Front of the Pack:
Rookie Chris Collins ranks among the league leaders in several categories at the half-way point of his first professional season. The Calgary, AB native is second in the ECHL in points (44) sitting two points back from league-leading TJ Hensick of Toledo. Collins leads all rookies in points, goals, and ranks second in assists. He also leads all ECHL skaters in every shorthanded category (goals, assists, points). His current nine-game point streak has helped Collins jump to the top of the K-Wings scoring charts, eight points ahead of second place Reid Gardiner.
Reid Gardiner (16 games), Chris Collins (9 games), and Tanner Sorenson (10 games) all ride point streaks into Wednesday's game against Fort Wayne. Gardiner has the longest streak in the ECHL this season and has notched 27 points over the course of his current streak. After only recording four points in his first five games this season Gardiner has recorded 32 points over his last 21 games with Kalamazoo (18g, 14a). The forward also spent nine games in the AHL with the Utica Comets at the start of the season.
The point streaks for Sorenson and Collins are also the longest of their careers heading into Wednesday night. Collins also enters the game having notched seven straight multi-point point games. He has also socred in each of his last six games, giving him the longest active goal-scoring streak in the ECHL.
Alumni Game and Jersey Retirement:
After Wednesday's game the K-Wings return home for three consecutive home games, hosting Cincinnati, Toledo and Rapid City. Saturday's game against Toledo will be a special one for the K-Wings as they retire the number one jersey worn by goaltender Georges Gagnon in a pregame ceremony. In addition the K-Wings will welcome back alumni from all eras as a part of the 45th Anniversary Night Alumni Game. The game, which pits alumni against alumni, takes place at 5:00pm on Saturday. A ticket to the K-Wings game that night guarantees fans entry into the alumni game as well.