Kalamazoo (20-20-0-2) at Toledo (26-10-3-3)
Listen: 590 AM WKZO
Last Time Out:
Zach Saar scored twice, including once in the final six minutes of regulation to help push the K-Wings past the Indy Fuel 4-3 on Sunday night, wrapping up a three-in-three by splitting a weekend set with the Fuel. After surrendering the first goal of the night Kalamazoo answered back, only to see the Fuel retake the lead with 0:25 to play in the opening period. Indy's one-goal lead stood in place until the opening minutes of the third period. Tanner Sorenson netted his 12th goal of the season just 1:08 into the final frame to tie the game at 2-2. The Fuel got back on the board thanks to the power play however. The Fuel lead only lasted for around three minutes however, as Kyle Thomas, as he did on Saturday night, got Kalamazoo back on the board, and drew the game even at 3-3. Three minutes later Saar notched what would prove to be the game-winner. Chad McDonald and Colin Jacobs worked the puck ahead to Saar in front of the net, who put the K-Wings up 4-3. The victory pushed the K-Wings within a single point of fifth place Wheeling, and five-points back from Indy and Fort Wayne, who are tied for third and fourth.
Scouting the Walleye:
Toledo (26-10-3-3, 58 pts) heads into the weekend jsut two points back from Division and Conference leading Cincinnati (27-8-3-3, 60 pts). Since falling to the K-Wings in a shootout on Jan. 19, the Walleye have won three of their last four games. In addition three of those last four have gone past regulation, and five of the last seven have needed extra time as well. Toledo's TJ Hensick leads the ECHL in points (53) and assists (38) through 42 games this season. The forward is followed by former WMU Bronco and K-Wing Shane Berschbach, who leads the team in goals (17), and is second in points (44). Defenseman Matt Register leads all ECHL defensemen in points, and is tied with Greg Wolfe for third on the squad in points with 36. In net Kaden Fulcher and Pat Nagle have nearly split time, with the rookie Fulcher appearing in 19 games, while Nagle has appeared in 24.
The January 19th shootout victory over the Walleye marked the first in six tries this season for the K-Wings. The K-Wings and Walleye have gone into a shootout on two seperate ocassions, both in Kalamazoo, with each team winning once. Shane Berschbach leads all skaters with nine points in the series. Kyle Thomas is the only active K-Wing to have scored more than once against the Walleye.
Thomas Hits A Career High:
A goal in the third period on Sunday afternoon extended Kyle Thomas' career long point-streak to six-games, and his scoring streak to four-games. During the current six-game stretch Thomas has tallied seven points (5g, 2a). The four-game scoring streak for Thomas ties a career-high set during the 2016-17 season while with Fort Wayne. Thomas scored five goals over the four-game stretch from Dec. 29- Jan. 7. Thomas' four-game streak is the second longest active streak. Only Chris Collins (7 games) has a longer active scoring streak.
First Two-Goal Outing:
Zach Saar's two-goal game on Sunday afternoon marked the first time in the forwards career that he had tallied multiple goals in the same game. Saar, 25, had previously notch multi-point games on three separate ocassions, but none had involved more than a single goal. In his second pro seaosn Saar has already more than doubled his point total from last season notching 14 points. His second goal on Sunday was also his second game winner of the season.
Lots of Time with Division Foes:
With 29 games left in the regular season, the K-Wings will play 22 of those 29 against Divisional opponents. Kalamazoo plays three non-divisional foes (Adironack, Brampton, Kansas City) in the month of February, before playing 15 straight games against Central Division opponents in the month of March.