CINCINNATI, OH – As the ECHL hockey season inches closer to the playoffs, the Kalamazoo Wings (26-21-3-2) are headed in the wrong direction as of late.
Yes, the K-Wings are still in the playoff mix. If the season ended today, the K-Wings would be the fourth seed in the Central Division with 57 points. The Cincinnati Cyclones (28-20-2-0) are in third with 58 points. The top four teams in each division make the postseason. The Fort Wayne Komets lead the division with 73 points while the Toledo Walleye are in second with 72.
On Sunday afternoon, the K-Wings and Cyclones battled at the U.S. Bank Arena. After building a 4-2 lead after two periods, the K-Wings watched their advantage slip away and fall in overtime 5-4. The K-Wings earned a point in the loss. It was the fourth game in five days for Kalamazoo.
Scoring the only goal in the opening period, Lane Scheidl took a Kyle Blaney pass and fired it past the Cyclones goaltender, Jonas Johansson for the 1-0 lead.
The Cyclones tied the score early in the second period on a goal by Winston Day Chief, but the K-Wings regained the lead five minutes later on a goal by Brendan Bradley, his 12th of the year. Alex Kile brought the Cyclones back minutes later, but the K-Wings scored two more goals to take a 4-2 lead after two periods. J.T. Stenglein and Josh Pitt scored for the K-Wings.
Owning the third period, the Cyclones scored just 36 seconds into the third on a Daniel Muzito-Bagenda goal. Completing the comeback, Eric Knodel tied the game with his 12th of the season later in the period. With neither team able to score the game winner in regulation, the game went to overtime where the Cyclones Eric Diodati scored to seal the victory for the Cyclones.
With their current five-game losing streak, the K-Wings have lost a possible nine points. However, the news is not all dire for the team. While they have hit a slump and the Walleye and Komets continue to win, the teams below the K-Wings are not making up much ground either. The Kansas City Mavericks trail the K-Wings by three points while the Indy Fuel and Quad City Mallards are back with 49 and 42 points respectively.
Another blow to the K-Wings though, is that they dropped two games to the Mallards this past week and one to the Fuel the week before. Those points are important to help build the distance between the teams that are chasing the them.
On Valentine’s Day, the K-Wings fell to the Mallards by a score of 5-3 on home ice. Josh Pitt, Kyle Bushee and J.T. Stenglein scored for the K-Wings.
The two teams met again on Friday, this time at the Taxslayer Center in Moline, IL., with the Mallards getting the 6-3 win. Eric Kattelus, Bushee and Tyler Biggs scored in the loss.
Then on Saturday, the K-Wings hosted the Walleye, dropping another 6-3 decision. Danny Moynihan, Brendan Bradley and Pitt scored.
The K-Wings will host the Wheeling Nailers on Wednesday night at Wings Event Center. Game time is 7 pm.
By: Mark C. McGlothlen