Listen: 1660 the Fan
Last Time Out:
After surrendering a goal just over a minute into regulation the K-Wings scored four unanswered goals, silencing the Thunder 4-1 on Saturday night at Wings Event Center. The victory gave Kalamazoo at least a point for the eighth straight game. The K-Wings saw Adirondack open the scoring early as Mike Szmatula sent his 22nd second goal of the season past Jake Hildebrand to put the visitors up 1-0. After surrendering a goal on the first shot of the night Hildebrand stopped all 25 shots that were sent his way. It didn't take the K-Wings long to get on the board as Kyle Bushee netted a power play goal just 3:04 after the Szmatula goal to tie the game at 1-1.The tied score stuck around until the exact midway point of regulation as Brendan Bradley netted his fifth goal of the season, picking up a loose rebound in front of the net. Bradley's tally was the only one of the middle frame, and would end up serving as the game-winner. In the third period Kalamazoo would add goals from Luke Sandler and another from Bradley en route to the 4-1 victory. The K-Wings finished the night one-for-six on the man-advantage, while holding the Thunder scoreless on six chances. Hildebrand finished the night making 25 saves on 26 shots.
Making His Presence Felt:
A pair of goals on Saturday night extended forward Brendan Bradley's career long point-streak to eight games, and gave the forward 14 points in that eight game span. Since returning to the K-Wing lineup from injured reserve on January 27, Bradley has added at least a point in every single game, and picked up four multi-point games in that span. Last season the Richboro, PA native had two six-game point streaks, but never surpassed that six game mark.
Hildy Holding It Down:
Jake Hildebrand stopped 25 shots from the Thunder as he claimed his ninth straight victory, and his tenth straight decision. Hildebrand improved his personal record to 18-13-0-2, and sits tied for the second most victories among goaltenders in the ECHL. The 18 victories for Hildebrand ties a personal high set during the 2016-17 season while with the Indy Fuel. The Michigan State product is currently third in the ECHL in minutes played behind Indy's Matt Tomkins and Norfolk's Ty Reichenbach.
Head to Head:
Kalamazoo heads into Sunday’s game having won each of the last two games against the Walleye. Both victories needed more than just regulation however as Kalamazoo used a shootout on January 19, before relying on an overtime goal from Kyle Blaney on January 31. The victories were the first two of the season for the K-Wings over the Walleye. Toledo leads the season series between the teams 5-0-1-1. The two victories over the Walleye already tops last season’s total for the K-Wings. After Sunday the teams will meet four more times, for a total of 12 meetings. Chris Collins leads the K-Wings with seven points (4g, 3a) against the Walleye. Kyle Thomas ranks second on the team in points (6) and goals (3) against the Walleye this season, right behind Collins. Greg Wolfe paces the Walleye offense with ten points, despite only scoring a pair of goals against Kalamazoo. Shane Berschbach leads all Walleye skaters with four goals in the season series. In net Kaden Fulcher and Pat Nagle have split time for Toledo, while Jake Hildebrand has seen the bulk of the games for Kalamazoo appearing in six games.
Hitting the Road:
After a pair of home games the K-Wings will play each of the next four games on the road traveling a combined 2,118 miles during the current trip. Kalamazoo will wrap continue a three-in-three against Toledo and Brampton on Sunday and Monday, before hitting the road to Cincinnati for a game on Wednesday, then finishing up the road trip with a single game in Kansas City on Saturday night. After the conclusion of the current four-game stretch the K-Wings will only play consecutive road games on two more occasions. Kalamazoo will play back-to-back games against Cincinnati and Toledo in the middle of March, then conclude the season with a seven game road trip.