The Kalamazoo Wings (14-11-2-1) got the New Year’s festivities started early on Sunday afternoon as they sent 2017 and the Quad City Mallards (8-19-2-1) off with a bang.
The K-Wings set an offensive tone early in the game in route to a 6-1 win over the Mallards.
With many of the 3,840 fans just getting settled into their seats, J.T. Stenglein electrified the K-Wings faithful with his second goal of the season just 59 seconds into the opening period.
Ben Wilson fired a pass to Stenglein who then sent a blast past the Mallards netminder Eric Hartzell for the 1-0 lead.
Attempting to dampen the early party atmosphere at Wings Event Center, the Mallards struck back to tie the game just over a minute later.
Sam Warning scored for the Mallards.
The score remained 1-1 for the next six minutes, but the K-Wings offensive machine could not stay quiet any longer.
Tyler Heinonen regained the lead for the K-Wings with his ninth goal of the season. Josh Pitt and Mackenze Stewart assisted on the goal.
Defenseman Sean O’Rourke added to the K-Wings lead with his first of the season. Stenglein and Brendan Bradley assisted on the goal.
Taking a 3-1 lead into the locker room after the first period, the K-Wings outshot the Mallards 16-7.
The K-Wings continued their dominance of the game in the second period by scoring a pair of goals and outshooting the Mallards 20-4.
Midway into the period, Brendan Bradley took a pass from Eric Kattelus and fired the puck to the goal for his ninth of the season.
Just over three minutes later, Stenglein connected for his second of the night to give the K-Wings a 5-1 lead.
Jimmy Mullin added a goal midway into the third period for a 6-1 K-Wing lead and eventual victory. Joel Martin, who stopped 26 of the 27 shots he faced, earned an assist on the Mullin goal.
Both teams came up empty on the powerplay. The K-Wings went 0-for-5 while the Mallards were 0-for 2. The K-Wings outshot the Mallards 44-27.
The K-Wings now head out on an eight-game road swing that will take them to Fort Wayne, IN, Kansas City, MO, Wichita, KS, Boise, ID and Moline, IL before heading back home for a January 20th game against the Mallards.
Submitted by Mark McGlothlen