In a preview of what could be a first round playoff matchup, the Kalamazoo Wings(31-26-1-3) and Toledo Walleye (43-14-2-1) faced off twice this weekend at Wings Event Center.
With 11 games remaining in the regular season, the K-Wings are in fourth place in the Central Division with 66 points. The top four teams in each division make the playoffs. The Walleye lead the Central with 89 points and the Fort Wayne Komets are in second with 75 points. The K-Wings are 8 points ahead of the fifth place Tulsa Oilers and three points behind the third place Quad City Mallards. The K-Wings and Mallards play this Wednesday night in Moline, Illinois.
After being shut out by the Walleye 3-0 last week, the K-Wings were looking for a little revenge on Friday night. Special teams and great goaltending by Nick Riopel led the K-Wings to a 3-1 victory over the Walleye.
After a scoreless first period, the K-Wings took a 1-0 lead midway into the second period on a Josh Pitt power play goal. The goal by Pitt was his tenth of the season.
Early in the third period and on yet another power play, the K-Wings were able to again take advantage of the situation and take a 2-0 lead on a Peter Schneider tally. The goal by Schneider was his tenth of the season.
Special teams continued to dominate the game for the K-Wings. Pitt scored his second of the night, shorthanded, while the K-Wings were fighting off a penalty, to give the K-Wings a 3-0 lead.
The Walleye spoiled a possible shutout bid for goaltender Nick Riopel as Shane Berschbach scored with just three minutes to go in the game to cut the K-Wings lead to 3-1.
Toledo pulled their goaltender in favor of an extra attacker shortly after the goal, but the Wings fought off the late attacks to preserve their 3-1 victory on home ice.
On Saturday night , the Walleye scored a goal in the first, two in the second and three in third to skate away with a 6-1 victory. Peter Schneider scored the K-Wings lone goal late in the third period.
The K-Wings play the Quad City Mallards this Wednesday night in Moline, IL, and then return home for the 36th Annual World Famous Green Ice Game on Friday, March 17th. Game time is 7 PM.
K-Wings News and Notes
Friday vs. Toledo: Kalamazoo has won seven of their last eight games…Nick Riopel has won 11 of his last 12 starts…Kalamazoo has scored on four of their last 12 power plays… Cam Darcy has ten points in eight games with the Wings this season…Kalamazoo is 19-3-3 when scoring first.
Saturday vs. Toledo: Kalamazoo ended the regular season series against Toledo with a 4-5-0-1 record…The Wings outshot the Walleye 37-35… Peter Schneider has 11 points in his last eight games…Kalamazoo went 0/2 on the power play and 3/5 on the penalty kill…The six goals allowed tied a season high for the Wings.
By: Mark C. McGlothlen