Kalamazoo (15-17-0-1) at Cincinnati (22-7-2-2)
Listen: 1660 The Fan
Last Time Out:
Chris Collins scored in the third period cutting the Walleye lead in half, but it was all the offense Kalamazoo would get in the final frame as a comeback fell just short on Friday night. Toledo's 3-2 victory gave the home side their fifth straight victory over the K-Wings this season. The Walleye opened the scoring in the first period just over six minutes in as Bryan Moore collected his own rebound in front and tucked it past Keegan Asmundson for the early lead. Moore's goal was the only one of the first period, and stood until the Walleye doubled the lead with a second period power play goal. Brandon Lubin's first ECHL goal got the K-Wings on the board and cut the lead back to one in the second, but Toledo notched another power play goal to put the lead back at two before intermission. In the third period the K-Wings netted the only goal of the frame thanks to Chris Collins, but it wasn't enough for a comeback as Toledo topped the K-Wings 3-2.
Saturday night is the seventh meeting of the season between the K-Wings and Cyclones. After the K-Wings topped the Cyclones in an overtime contest for the first meeting of the season, Cincinnati has won each of the last five matchups between the teams, and holds a record of 5-0-1-0 against Kalamazoo this season. Pascal Aquin, Myles Powell and Eric Knodel are all tied for the series lead netting six points through the first six meetings. Justin Taylor and Reid Gardiner are tied with Aquin for the series lead in goals with three goals each. Taylor and Gardiner are joined by Chris Collins and Kyle Blaney as the only K-Wings with multiple goals against Cincy this season. Seven different Cyclones have scored at least twice against Kalamazoo this season.
Scouting the Cyclones:
After falling to the Komets on Friday night the Cyclones dropped from first place in the Central Division and Western Conference, sitting one point back from the Walleye. Jesse Schultz leads the Cyclones offense with 34 points (9g, 25a) through the first 33 games this season. Pascal Aquin leads the team in scoring with 13 goals, followed right behind by Myles Powell, Brady Vail, and Justin Vaive, who have each tallied 12 goals through the first 33 games this season. Between the pipes Michael Houser and Jonas Johansson have split time, each recording at least ten wins. Johansson, who's appeared in 18 game, has posted a goals against average of 2.64 to go along with a .906 save percentage for the Cyclones. Houser, who's won 12 of his 15 starts leads the league in goals against average (1.74) and save percentage (.937) creeping up on the midway mark of the season.
First Time on the Board:
Defenseman Brandon Lubin netted his first ECHL goal on Friday night, becoming the 24th player to score for Kalamazoo this season. The defenseman who began the season in the SPHL had scored 12 goals over the course of the last two SPHL seasons, but had not scored in his first seven ECHL games. Last night was also his first ECHL point.
Consistent Producers Part II:
For the second straight night the line of Gardiner-Collins-Sorenson generated all the scoring that the K-Wings got as they fell to the Toledo Walleye. In addition in Friday's game all three players extended their career long point-streaks. Collins, who leads the K-Wings with 34 points, enters Saturday's game riding a six-game point streak. Sorenson is currently on a seven-game point streak for Kalamazoo. Reid Gardiner enters the evening on a league-high 13-game point streak, which also ties the ECHL-high for the 2018-19 season. During the current run Gardiner has notched 22 points (10g, 12a) moving him into second on the team in scoring behind Collins.
The K-Wings return home next weekend to take on the Brampton Beast on Friday, Jan. 11. The meeting with the Beast is the first of five home games during January. After hosting Brampton the K-Wings play back-to-back games in Fort Wayne on Sunday and Wednesday, before beginning a three-game homestand.