Kalamazoo (22-20-0-2) vs. Indy (23-19-2-1)
Listen: 1660 the Fan
Last Time Out:
The K-Wings notched a trio of goals in the second period, as the team claimed their third straight victory, and fifth in the last six games. With the score tied 1-1 after the first period of play Kalamazoo netted the only tallies of the period, including a pair of power play goals from Reid Gardiner to take a 4-1 lead after the second intermission. In addition to Gardiner's tallies the K-Wings got a goal from Kyle Thomas, who extended his scoring streak to six consecutive games. The two-power play goals in the second helped the K-Wings set a lead that would stick as the teams traded goals in the third, but the Nailers would not get any closer than two goals. Saturday was a penalty filled affair, as the teams combined for 110 penalty minutes. Of those 110 penalty minutes, 102 of them came in the second and third period. Jake Hildebrand made the start for Kalamazoo, stopping 21 of 23 shots, en route to his fifth straight victory.
Scouting the Fuel:
Heading into the back-to-back matchups with the K-Wings, Indy currently sits in third place in the Central Division, but is only three points clear of the sixth place Wings. Indy has been significantly better at home than on the road, notching 16 of their 23 victories while in Indy. Ryan Rupert leads the Fuel this season with 39 points (13g, 26a), while Josh Shalla is right on his tail with 37 points (18g, 19a). Kevin Dufour leads the Fuel in scoring this season with 19 goals, and is one of eight Fuel skaters to surpass ten goals this season. Matt Tomkins has shouldered the load in net for the Fuel, appearing in 34 games this season, while posting a record of 19-11-2, paired with a 2.91 goals against average, and a .912 save percentage.
Wednesday is the eighth of 12 meetings between the Wings and Fuel this season, and the first of back-to-back meetings. Indy currently holds the edge in the series, having won five of the first seven meetings, but Kalamazoo won the most recent matchup on January 27. Ryan Rupert leads all skaters in the series with 11 points (5g, 6a), while Josh Shalla and Matt Rupert are close behind with nine points. Reigning ECHL player of the month Tanner Sorenson and Reid Gardiner lead the K-Wings with seven points. Zach Saar is tied with Sorenson for the most goals by a K-Wing with four.
ECHL Player of the Month:
Tanner Sorenson was recognized by the ECHL as the CCM ECHL Player of the Month for January on Tuesday afternoon. Sorenson led all scorers through the month with 20 points (9g, 11a) in 11 games for the K-Wings. The forward notched at least a point in nine of the 11 games, and added his first professional hat trick during the month, as well as a six point game. In 27 games this season Sorenson has netted 36 points paired with a plus-five rating. .The Anchorage, AK native has notched a point in 16 of his last 18 games.
Thomas Keeps Scoring:
Kyle Thomas added another goal on Saturday night in Wheeling, pushing his current scoring streak to a career high six-games. Prior to the beginning of his streak Thomas had only scored three goals, with the last one coming on Nov. 23 against Fort Wayne. During his seven game streak, Thomas has netted seven goals and 12 points. The streak is the second longest active streak, and one game shy of tying the longest in the ECHL this season.
Not Much Time at Home:
Wednesday is the first of only four home games for the K-Wings in the month of February. After a pair of home games this weekend the K-Wings will return home to play a pair of games on Thursday and Saturday next week, for the only consecutive home games this month. After Saturday's game the K-Wings will play four games in seven days in four different cities. Kalamazoo will return to Wings Event Center to end the month on Feb. 27 hosting the Toledo Walleye. March will see the K-Wings play seven times at home, while playing eight on the road.