Kalamazoo (31-26-2-2) at Cincinnati (44-10-4-3)
Listen: 1660 the Fan
Last Time Out:
Luke Sandler scored twice for the K-Wings but a late third period push wasn't enough as the K-Wings fell to Toledo 4-3 on Friday night. Toledo scored just 0:50 into the opening frame to take the first lead of the night, before Sandler would knot things back up at 1-1. Before the period ended though a goal from Chris Crane would bring the teams even once again. The second period saw the Walleye take their first two-goal lead of the night off a goal from Brenden Kotyk before Luke Sandler scored once again, bringing his team within one goal once again. In the final seconds of the middle period, however, the Walleye got a goal from Hunter Smith to retake a two-goal lead. Trailing by two in the third, Zach Diamantoni scored his second goal of the season, but it was all the offense the K-Wings could muster as they fell 4-3 to the Walleye. Ivan Kulbakov stopped 32 of 36 shots in the defeat, while Pat Nagle stopped 18 of 21 for Toledo.
Keep It Rolling:
A power play goal on Friday night extended the K-Wings scoring streak to ten games, pushing the power play to 21.7%. Kalamazoo is scoring on 34.21% of chances (13/38) during the ten-game stretch. The team ranks third on the man-advantage in the ECHL, trailing only Adirondack and Wichita. In addition 16 different players have scored power play goals for Kalamazoo this season. Chris Collins and Eric Kattelus lead all current K-Wings in power play tallies with five. Reid Gardiner led the team prior to his recall, scoring 12 times with the man-advantage.
Sandy Picking Up Steam:
Friday night Luke Sandler notched his first career ECHL multi-goal game, and fourth professional multi-goal game. Sandler recorded three multi-goal games during his time in the SPHL, but hadn't scored more than a single goal in an ECHL game. With his eighth and ninth goals of the season last night Sandler is one goal away from tying his scoring output from last season. His career high is 16 goals, which came during the 2015-16 season with the SPHL's Peoria Rivermen and Louisiana Ice Gators.
Forward Brennan Sanford made his professional debut on Friday night becoming the second player in the last two weeks to do so for the K-Wings. Sanford, who wrapped up a collegiate career at Michigan State this month, became the 40th player to pull on a K-Wing sweater during the 2018-19 season. He is also the fifth player to make his professional debut with Kalamazoo.
Saturday is the 11th and final meeting of the season between the K-Wings and Cyclones. Cincinnati has controlled the season series through the first ten games, winning eight of ten. Kalamazoo was victorious in the most recent meeting, topping the Cyclones 4-2 at Wings Event Center on March 3. The K-Wings only other victory over the Cyclones this season came in the first meeting of the season between the teams on October 26. Jesse Schultz leads all skaters in the season series with 13 points (5g, 8a) but is closely followed by teammate Myles Powell, who has racked up 12 points (5g, 7a) while only skating in eight games against Kalamazoo. Chris Collins leads Kalamazoo in the series averaging a point per game with eight points in eight games against Cincinnati. Jake Hildebrand has appeared in seven games against the Cyclones posting a record of 1-5-0-0, paired with a 3.37 goals against average, and a .894 save percentage. Michael Houser has started seven of the meetings for the Cyclones, going 6-1-0-0 against Kalamazoo.
Sunday afternoon the K-Wings return home for the annual green ice game and a date with the Toledo Walleye. The K-Wings will wear special jerseys that will be auctioned off following the game in a live auction. All proceeds from the auction will be donated to Buy Local.