Kalamazoo (34-28-2-2) at Indy (32-30-2-2)
Listen: 1660 the Fan (Tape Delayed)
Due to Michigan State and the Detroit Tigers playing at the same time as the K-Wings this evening tonight’s game will only be available live on ECHL.tv. The radio broadcast of tonight’s game will be aired in its entirety following the Michigan State game on 1660 am. Fans wanting to watch the game can head to Old Burdick’s at Wings West to join a watch party. The watch party will begin at 7:00pm with puck dropping at 7:35pm.
Five of the six goals scored on Wednesday night came in the opening period as the K-Wings fell to the Komets 5-1 at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne. The Komets jumped out to a 3-0 lead before the midway mark of the opening period getting goals from Josh Elmes, Jake Kamrass, and Shawn Szydlowski before Kalamazoo found their way onto the scoresheet. Luke Sandler notched his tenth goal of the season from the right circle to put Kalamazoo back within a pair of goals 12:54 into the first. Fort Wayne answered back before the period ended though, netting a goal from Ryan Lowney in the final five minutes of the period to push the lead back to three goals once again. After a scoreless middle period it was the Komets who capped off the scoring with a third period goal from Justin Hodgman. The forward's tally capped off the scoring sending the Komets home with the 5-1 victory. Jake Hildebrand made the start for Kalamazoo, stopping five of eight shots before being pulled in favor of Ivan Kulbakov who stopped 15 of 17 shots. Neither team scored on the man-advantage, finishing a combined 0-for-9.
Central Division Update:
Wednesday night's result in Fort Wayne put the Komets four points clear of the K-Wings who remained in fourth place in the division. Fort Wayne, Kalamazoo, Indy, and Wheeling are all even in games played at 66 heading into Friday's matchups. The K-Wings sit four points clear of Indy, who maintains the fifth spot in the Central Division, while sitting six points ahead of the Nailers, who hold sixth. Friday night will see the four teams battling for the final two spots in the Central squaring off with each other, as Kalamazoo is in Indy, while the Komets travel to Wheeling.
First Professional Point:
Forward Jade McMullen recorded the first point of his professional point on Wednesday night when he picked up the primary assist on Luke Sandler's goal against the Komets. McMullen, who joined the K-Wings after the end of his NCAA career with Western Michigan, is the 32nd player to record a point in a K-Wings jersey this season, and the 43rd player to suit up for Kalamazoo.
Head to Head:
Indy holds onto a lead in the season series with the K-Wings as the teams head into the final matchup of the season on Friday night. The Fuel have won seven of the first 11 meetings between the teams, and each of the last two. Three of the K-Wings four victories over the Fuel this season have come at home, giving Kalamazoo a record of 1-5-0-0 at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Tanner Sorenson leads the way for the K-Wings in the season series having recorded 12 points (4g, 8a) in nine games against the divisional foe. Chris Collins, who has nine points, leads the K-Wings along with Reid Gardiner, currently in Utica, having scored five goals in the season series. Jake Hildebrand has faced his former team on seven different occasions this season, posting a record of 3-4-0-0. Indy's Ryan Rupert leads all skaters in the season series with 17 points (7g, 10a). Teammate Josh Shalla is second in the season series with 14 points (8g, 6a) but leads either team with eight goals. Goaltender Matt Tomkins has been the workhorse in the series for the Fuel posting a record of 6-2-0-0, with a 3.13 goals against average, and a .894 save percentage.
Scouting the Fuel:
Heading into Friday's contest the Fuel sit four points back from Kalamazoo for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Central Division. Forward Ryan Rupert, who has set new franchise records this season, leads Indy with 61 points (23g, 38a) overall this season. Altogether the Fuel have four players who have surpassed 40 points heading into the final weeks of the season (Rupert, Josh Shalla, Matthew Thompson, Matt Rupert). The Fuel cap off the season by playing five of their last six games in the division. The lone non-Central Division matchup is on Sunday as they host the Kansas City Mavericks to wrap up a three-in-three.