Kalamazoo (24-20-0-2) at Kansas City (23-18-2-1)
Listen: 1660 the Fan
Last Time Out:
Kyle Thomas scored in the third period to put the K-Wings ahead as Kalamazoo claimed their fifth straight victory, topping the Fuel 4-2. Michael Neal opened up the scoring for the K-Wings just 0:31 in, netting his second goal since joining the K-Wings. Tanner Sorenson and Reid Gardiner added assists on the goal, extending their point streaks. Josh Shalla tied the game up for Indy on the power play just four minutes later. Kalamazoo got the only goal of the middle frame from Brendan Bradley to take a 2-1 lead into the third. Indy stormed back to tie the game with a power play goal once again midway through the third period. Five minutes later Kyle Thomas broke the deadlock, pushing the K-Wings ahead 3-2. Thomas netted his 12th goal of the season, and ninth in the last eight games. Reid Gardiner tacked on the empty net goal in the final minute of play to cap off the scoring at 4-2. Jake Hildebrand finished the night stopping 27 of 29 shots en route to his seventh straight victory. Bradley, and Gardiner each finished the night with multi-point games.
Keep On Scoring:
Kyle Thomas' goal in the third period of Friday's game extended his scoring streak to an ECHL-long eight games. Thomas scored the game-winning goal on Friday as he picked up his 12th goal of the season. During the eight-game streak Thomas has netted nine goals. The eight-game streak passed teammate Chris Collins for the longest streak in the ECHL. Last season the longest streak in the entire ECHL was seven games.
Hildebrand Racking Up the Wins:
Friday's victory was the seventh straight victory for Jake Hildebrand setting a new career high. Prior to the current run Hildebrand had won six straight victories on one occasion but had never surpassed six straight victories in his career. In addition to the seven straight starts, Hildebrand has won each of his last eight decisions.
Kansas City is the fifth team from the Mountain Division that the K-Wings have played this season. Kalamazoo has squared off with Tulsa, Idaho, Wichita, and Rapid City so far this season. Kalamazoo will face the Mavericks once again at the end of February, wrapping up a two-game set. Kalamazoo will play Kansas City, Adirondack, and Brampton in February, before ending the season with 15 of the last 18 games against Central Division opponents.
Scouting the Mavs:
Rocco Carzo leads the Mavericks this season with 35 points (13g, 22a) through 44 games this season. Forward Darian Dziuryznski leads the Mavs in scoring with 17 goals, while blueliner Willie Raskob tops the team with 26 assists. Mason McDonald has led a slew of goaltenders between the pipes for the Mavericks, appearing in 17 games, posting a record of 13-3-0-1 to go along with a .917 save percentage, and a 2.32 goals against average.
After blanking Allen 2-0 on Friday night the Mavericks hold the fourth spot in the Mountain Division, nine points back from third place Tulsa.
Head To Head:
Saturday is the first of two meetings this season between the teams. Last season Kansas City and Kalamazoo faced off for the first time ever as the teams played five times. The Mavericks held the advantage, winning three of the five meetings between the teams. Kalamazoo was 1-2-0-0 in three contests in Kansas City last season.
In addition to Kyle Thomas' scoring streak the K-Wings head into Saturday with a handful of active point streaks. Tanner Sorenson is currently riding a six-game point streak. Brendan Bradley is on a five-game streak, and a four-game scoring streak. Reid Gardiner is also on a six-game point streak for Kalamazoo, while Michael Neal has a goal in back to back games.