Greenville, SC – The Kalamazoo Wings (10-6-0-2) earned six out of six possible points this past weekend as they bounced between South Carolina and Georgia taking on two teams from the South Division.
Defeating the Greenville Road Warriors (8-12-1-1) on Thursday night by a score of 5-1, the K-Wings traveled to Gwinnett, GA to battle the Gladiators (6-14-0-2).
Jumping out to a 2-0 lead after the first period, the K-Wings received a shorthanded goal from Yanni Gourde late in the period and Justin Taylor added his third goal of the year with under a minute remaining in the stanza. The shorthanded goal by Gourde is the K-Wings fifth of the season. Last year in 72 games, the K-Wings scored a total of seven shorthanded tallies.
A pair of Gladiator goals by Mike Embach and Kurtis Bartiff in the second period sandwiched a tally from Mike Matczak for a 3-2 K-Wing lead at the end of two periods of hockey.
Embach stuck again in the third to tie the game 3-3 and send the game into overtime. Neither team scored in the OT forcing the sudden death shootout.
Taylor, Yannick Veilleux and Eric Kattelus scored for the K-Wings in the shootout while Joey Haddad and Josh Currie scored for the Gladiators to give the K-Wings a 4-3 victory.
Closing out the weekend, the K-Wings headed back to Greenville, SC to take on the Road Warriors for the second time in three nights. On Thursday, the K-Wings were called for a season-high 48 penalty minutes with 22 of them coming in the final 36 seconds of the contest. The Road Warriors were whistled for 40 minutes of penalties with 32 of them being assessed in final 36 seconds of the contest.
The bad blood between the two teams spilled over into Saturday night’s contest as well as Veilleux and Bretton Stamier squared off just five minutes into the game. Sam Ftorek and Andrew Carroll also came to blows in the second period.
While the teams battled physically, neither team was able to put the puck past either goaltender for the first two periods.
A miscue by goaltender Scott Stajcer of the Road Warriors led to the K-Wings first goal of the night. Out of the net to play the puck, Stajcer sent the puck to Matt Caria who put the puck into the empty net.
Yanni Gourde tacked on a goal with just 35 seconds left in the game to help ensure a K-Wing victory. Goaltender Jordan Binnington earned his first professional shutout as he turned away all 36 shots he faced in the K-Wings 2-0 win.
The K-Wings return to action on Wednesday as they wrap up their four-game road trip when they battle the Cincinnati Cyclones.