Kalamazoo (29-23-1-2) at Indy (26-26-2-1)
Listen: 1660 the Fan
Last Time Out:
Kalamazoo and Fort Wayne combined for eight goals in the second period Friday as the teams played to a hig flying 7-5 finish, with the Komets taking home the victory. Kalamazoo held leads of 2-1, 3-2, and 4-3, but a mid-period rally from the Komets in the second helped Fort Wayne push out to take their first lead since the opening goal at 5-4 and hold on. Kalamazoo's offense got a large boost from Chris Collins who netted his first professional hat trick in the defeat. Collins scored in every way possible, scoring at even strength, short-handed, and on the power play. The game marked the third time in the last four games between the K-Wings and Komets that each team surpassed the five-goal mark. Kalamazoo has netted five goals in all four of those games against Fort Wayne. The K-Wings finished the night perfect on the power play, scoring on both chances they had, getting power play goals from Collins and Kyle Bushee. Jake Hildebrand saw his 11-game winning streak snapped on Friday night, suffering his first defeat since January 11.
Chris Collins became the third different K-Wing to notch a hat trick this season on Friday night, joining Reid Gardiner and Tanner Sorenson in the three-goal club. Collins first professional hat trick was only the second of the four that has come on home ice, but also the second that has come against the Komets. During his collegiate career at the University of Calgary Collins netted a pair of hat tricks. The forward ranks second among all ECHL rookies with 25 goals, one behind league leading Nic Pierog of Manchester, who has played 11 more games than Collins.
A short-handed goal by Collins on Friday kept the K-Wings near the top of the leader board in short-handed goals with their 16th goal while on the penalty kill this season. Wheeling is the only team to sit ahead of the K-Wings, having netted 17 short-handed goals. Fort Wayne, Florida, and Jacksonville all sit behind the K-Wings and Nailers tied with 12 short-handed goals. In addition Chris Collins reestablished himself atop the individual short-handed boards with his sixth goal down a skater this season. Collins leads the league in short-handed goals (6) as well as short-handed points (10).
Friday night Jake Hildebrand saw his 11-game win-streak snapped as the K-Wings fell to the Komets at Wings Event Center. Hildebrand, who set a career-high with the win streak, had not suffered a loss since January 11 prior to Friday night. The streak ended two-games shy of the longest win-streak in the ECHL this season, and five games shy of tying the second longest streak in ECHL history. The netminder has already set a career high in wins (19) for the K-Wings this season.
Saturday night is the middle of the seventh three-in-three set of the season for the K-Wings. Kalamazoo, also in the midst of five games in seven days, will play three more three-in-threes this season, all of which come in the month of March. Kalamazoo wraps up the season with 15 games in March, the totality of which are played inside the Central Division. The K-Wings then conclude the season with three games against Mountain Division foes Wichita and Tulsa.
The K-Wings wrap up the weekend back at home on Sunday afternoon as they take on the Cincinnati Cyclones for the 11th meeting between the teams this season. After Sunday's game the K-Wings will only have five home games remaining in the regular season, with three of those coming as a three-in-three all at home next weekend.