Kalamazoo (34-28-2-3) at Toledo (37-20-6-3)
Last Time Out:
A goaltenders duel went into the third period scoreless before heading into the shootout, where the K-Wings fell 2-1 on Friday in Indy. Indy got on the board first when Matthew Thompson scored at the 7:12 mark of the third period. Thompson's shot from the high slot trickled past Ivan Kulbakov, breaking the deadlock and giving Indy the 1-0 lead. The Fuel lead stayed in place until late in the third period. With their fifth power play opportunity of the night the K-Wings capitalized, evening the score with less than two minutes to play in regulation. The game would stay tied through the end of regulation and into the overtime period sending the teams into the shootout at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. After two scoreless rounds Ryan Rupert scored in the top of the third round, giving the Fuel the lead. Matt Tomkins made one final save stopping Tanner Sorenson to give the Fuel the 2-1 victory. Ivan Kulbakov stopped 25 of 26 shots in the defeat, while Matt Tomkins stopped 31 of 32 shots, claiming the shootout victory. Indy moved within three points of Kalamazoo in the Central Division standings with the victory.
Central Division Update:
Friday night's results tightened up the race for the final two spots in the Central Division. With a victory over Kalamazoo, Indy moved within three points of the fourth place K-Wings, while Wheeling picked up a pair of points as well, moving from six points back to five points back. Fort Wayne, who lost to Wheeling, holds the third place spot sitting three points ahead of Kalamazoo, and six up on Indy. Toledo and Cincinnati sit firmly in first and second place in the Central Division.
Head to Head:
Saturday wraps up the season series between the K-Wings and Walleye with the 12th meeting of the year. Heading into the contest the Walleye have controlled the season series, claiming victories in seven of the first 11 meetings, and a point in ten of 11. In the last five seasons Toledo has been very good at the Huntington Center against the K-Wings winning 17 of 24 meetings on home ice. This season Shane Berschbach and Greg Wolfe have paced the Walleye notching 11 points. Berschbach (4g, 7a) is one of three Walleye joining Matt Register and Dylan Sadowy to have scored four times against the K-Wings this season. Wolfe (2g, 9a) leads all skaters from either team with his nine helpers. Kalamazoo's Chris Collins leads all skaters so far with six goals. Collins has added four assists to bring his total to a team high 10. Collins is one of four K-Wings to have scored more than once against the Walleye this season. Jake Hildebrand has appeared in seven games for the K-Wings against the Walleye, while Ivan Kulbakov has appeared in a pair. Pat Nagle has seen time in six games against Kalamazoo, posting a record of 5-0-1-0, paired with a 3.17 goals against average, and a .894 save percentage. Kaden Fulcher has played five games posting a record of 2-1-1-1, tied to a 2.30 goals against average, and a .929 save percentage.
Power Play Back on the Board:
Friday night the K-Wing power play got back on the board snapping a two-game drought. Kalamazoo finished Friday's game one-for-five on the man-advantage, keeping the power play above 20% on the season. Since February 1 the K-Wings power play has scored in 18 of 23 games, pushing itself to the third ranked unit in the ECHL. Currently Kalamazoo is converting on 21.3% of opportunities. Kalamazoo is one of six teams to keep a power play over 20% so far this season.
Continuing the Road Trip:
Saturday night is game three of a season ending seven-game road swing for the K-Wings. After playing the final home game of the season on March 23 the K-Wings began the road trip on Wednesday night in Fort Wayne. The team concludes the trip with the trip to Toledo and Wheeling, before heading west to face Tulsa and Wichita.