WHEELING, WV – The Kalamazoo Wings (7-10-0-1) ended their six-game losing skid last Tuesday night with a victory over the Wheeling Nailers.
Now, the K-Wings find themselves on a three-game winning streak after winning both of their games this past weekend.
On Friday night, the K-Wings traveled to Reading, PA, to take on the Royals in their one and only meeting this season.
Storming out to a 3-0 lead at the end of the first period, the K-Wings held on to take a 6-4 victory over the Royals at Santander Arena.
Wade Murphy (5th) and Zach Saar (3rd) scored goals just over a minutes apart to give the K-Wings a 2-0 in the first six minutes of the period. Both of the goals were scored on the power play.
Reid Gardiner, who recently returned to the K-Wings from the Utica Comets, netted his third of the season later in the period.
The second period belonged to the Royals as they scored three goals of their own. Michael Huntebrinker, Josh McDonald and Frank DiChiara scored for the Royals. The goal by McDonald was scored on the power play.
The K-Wings escaped the period clinging to a one-goal lead thanks to a Tyler Ganly goal midway into the period. The goal by Ganly was his first of the year.
The score remained 4-3 until the Royals tied the score on a Steven Swavely goals midway into the third period. Regaining the lead just under five minutes later, Colin Jacobs scored his first of the season to put the K-Wings up by a score of 5-4.
Justin Taylor sealed the win for the K-Wings with an empty-net goal with just under a minute to go in the game. The short-handed goal by Taylor was assisted by goaltender Ivan Kulbakov.
Reading outshot the K-Wings 40-19.
Goaltending and special teams played a key role in the K-Wings 2-0 victory over the Nailers on Saturday night.
Jake Hildebrand turned away all 30 shots he faced and the special teams unit scored two power play goals in the win.
After a scoreless first period, Taylor scored his 14th of the season in the second and Gardiner added his fourth of the year in the third period. Taylor has scored goals in the past four games while Gardiner has three points, two goals and an assist, in his past two games.
The shutout by Hildebrand was his first since January 27, 2017 when he was with the Indy Fuel.
The K-Wings will return home for three games this weekend. On Friday night they host the Indy Fuel. Then on Saturday, the Tulsa Oilers come to town. Both games begin at 7:30 pm. On Sunday, the K-Wings will host the Cincinnati Cyclones at 3:00 pm.
K-Wings News and Notes
Movin’ on up: With his goals on Tuesday night, Justin Taylor’s moved up to third place all-time for goals scored by a K-Wing. Taylor moved ahead of Kory Karlander, who previously held third place with 281 goals. Mike Wanchuk and Kevin Schamehorn are tied for first with 239 goals scored during their time in Kalamazoo.Taylor has played 476 games as a K-Wing, racking up 354 points (186g, 168a). Taylor is inching closer to breaking into the top five all-time for K-Wings scoring.
Welcome Back: Brandon Anselmini returned to the K-Wings lineup on Saturday night. Anselmini was called up to the Utica Comets earlier last week. On another note, defenseman Ben Betker was placed on suspension by the K-Wings.
Short-handed? No problem: Taylor’s short-handed goal on Friday night gave the K-Wings seven short-handed goals on the season, which ties them for first place in the ECHL. Cincinnati and Jacksonville have also scored seven .
By: Mark C. McGlothlen