The Kalamazoo Wings (12-14-3-0) have put together an impressive 5-game winning streak as they prepare for the final game of 2019 on Tuesday night at Wings Event Center.
This past weekend, the K-Wings defeated the Indy Fuel on Friday night on home ice by a score of 7-3.
After trailing the Fuel 1-0 after one period, the K-Wings caught fire, scoring four goals in the second period and adding three in the third. Ben Wilson, Aaron Thow, Luke Sandler, Justin Taylor and Justin Kovacs all scored for the K-Wings. Tanner Sorenson, who netted a pair of goals in the win, was then recalled by the Utica Comets of the AHL following the game.
Jake Hildebrand was in net for the K-Wings, stopping 35 of the 38 shots he faced in the win. The K-Wings were 2-for-3 on the power play, while the Fuel were 2-for-7.
On Saturday night, the Fort Wayne Komets came to town to battle the K-Wings in the first of a home and home series.
After a scoreless first period, the Komets took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Anthony Petruzzelli.
The K-Wings tied the score early in the third period on an unassisted power play goal by Matheson Iacopelli. The goal was Iacopellis seventh of the season. Taking the lead just 53 seconds later, Iacopelli assisted on a goal by Justin Taylor to give the K-Wings a 2-1 lead.
A power play led to the Komets tying the score late in the third period to make it a 2-2 game with just under four minutes remaining in the game. Neither team was able to win the game in regulation.
Justin Taylor scored the game winner for the K-Wings just 21 seconds into overtime to give the home team the 3-2 victory. Jake Kielly was in net for the K-Wings, stopping 42 of the 44 shots he faced.
On Sunday, the K-Wings traveled to Fort Wayne to take on the Komets. Jumping out to a fast 1-0 lead on a goal by Adam Dauda just 1:24 into the opening frame.
“The first goal I just tried to play hard and finish my check on their defensemen which forced him to turn the puck over. Once Justin Kovacs picked up the puck I knew to get open because he’s a great play-maker and sure enough he found me in the slot and I managed to get a quick shot off.”
The Komets tied the score minutes later, but the K-Wings Zach Diamontoni and Justin Taylor scored to give the K-Wings a 3-1 lead.
Scoring the only goal of the second period, the Komets cut the K-Wings lead in half thanks to a Brett McKenzie.
Just 13 seconds into the third period, Kyle Blaney scored to restore the K-Wings two-goal lead, 4-2.
Later in the period, the Komets A.J. Jenks scored to bring the Komets to within a goal again, but Dauda struck again minutes later to give the K-WIngs a 5-3 lead.
“The second (goal) I was getting cross checked pretty hard in front of the net and the puck just eventually found its way to me and luckily the goalie had no idea where it was,” Dauda said.
The Komets would score another goal, but the K-Wings held on for the 5-4 win.
Dauda, who had his first multi-goal game of his young career, said that a few factors are playing into the K-Wings recent five-game winning streak.
“I think we’re finally getting some good bounces our way,” Dauda said. “We’re staying a lot more positive with each other and we’re trusting the system our coaches have put in place for us which is starting to pay off.”
With this being Dauda’s first full season as a professional hockey player, he says there have been some ups and downs for him personally, but he is enjoying every minute of it..
“It’s definitely nice to just have only hockey to worry about now that it’s my job,” Dauda said. “The thing that has surprised me is the actual amount of games that we have to play. I knew it would be a lot but now that I’m going through it, it’s really taking its toll on me. I’ve been trying to take good care of myself and I bet in the long run that’ll pay off.”
As for the K-Wings, Dauda feels that the team can continue their good fortune if everyone is working toward the same goal.
“I think just staying positive and sticking to the system is key,” Dauda said. “Everyone has to pull their weight and do their job. If those things happen, I’m sure plenty of success will follow.”
Fresh off his two-goal performance on Sunday, Dauda was informed Monday morning that he was being traded to the Jacksonville Icemen to complete a trade that brought forward Garrett Ross to the K-Wings last week.
The K-Wings bid 2019 adieu as they take on the Indy Fuel at 6:00 PM on Tuesday evening.
Submitted by Mark McGlothlen