The Kalamazoo Wings (16-18-0-2) earned their first victory of 2019 on Sunday evening as they defeated the Fort Wayne Komets by a score of 5-3.
Taking the lead at the halfway point of the first period, the Komets Shawn Szydlowski scored for the 1-0 advantage. Late in the period, the K-Wings Zach Diamantoni scored his first professional goal to the game 1-1.
Adding a pair of goals just over two minutes apart in the second, the K-Wings took a 3-1 lead over the Komets. Jagger Dirk, who rejoined the K-Wings this past weekend after he was sent down from the Utica Comets of the AHL, scored his third of the season and red-hot Reid Gardiner added a power play goal. The goal by Gardiner extends his point streak to 16 games. During that time, Gardiner has scored 13 goals and added 14 assists, which has put him the top 20 in the ECHL and second place on the team.
Ryan Siiro added a goal later in the period to cut the K-Wings lead to 3-2.
The K-Wings added a pair of goals just under two minutes apart late in the third period to take a 5-2 advantage. Chad McDonald scored his fourth of the season on the power play while Chris Collins added an empty net goal. Collins goal extended his point streak to nine games. Collins has moved into second place in the ECHL in scoring with 44 points, just three points behind the leader, TJ Hensick, of the Walleye. Collins also leads all rookies in points and is tied for the lead in goals with 17. Collins also leads the ECHL in all shorthanded goals categories.
Marco Roy scored for the Komets late in the third for the final of 5-3.
Jake Hildebrand stopped 39 of the 42 shots he faced while Fort Wayne’s Lukas Hafner stopped 37 of 41. Kalamazoo finished the night two-for-four on the power play, while holding the Komets scoreless on seven power play chances.
On Friday, the K-Wings fell to the Brampton Beast 4-3 in the shootout. Sunday’s game marked the halfway point of the season for the K-Wings.
The K-Wings are in last place in the Central Division, six points behind the Wheeling Nailers and Indy Fuel, who both have 40 points. The Komets are in third with 43 points while the Cincinnati Cyclones lead the division with 54 points followed by the Toledo Walleye with 50.
Hosting two games on home ice this weekend, the K-Wings will battle the Cyclones on Friday night and take on the Walleye on Saturday night. Both games start at 7:30 pm.
The 45th season of K-Wings hockey will be celebrated on Saturday night as the K-Wings bring back several familiar faces from the past for an alumni game before the 7:30 pm face-off. The K-Wings will also retire Georges Gagnon jersey. Gagnon, who played for the K-Wings from 1979-87, will have his number one jersey retired in a pregame ceremony. The netminder was the winningest goaltender in K-Wing history until he was passed by current assistant coach Joel Martin a few seasons ago. Gagnon joins Kevin Schamehorn and Michael Wanchuck as the only players to have their numbers retired by the K-Wings.
By: Mark C. McGlothlen