K-Wings fall to Komets in close game

K-Wing goaltender Jake Hildebrand blocks the puck during Tuesday nights game against the Fort Wayne Komets at Wings Event Center.

As the 2019-20 season inches into the final full month of play, the Kalamazoo Wings ( 20-26-7-1) have their work cut out for them if they hope to make it into the playoffs.

Currently in sixth place in the Central Division standings, the K-Wings trail the fourth place Indy Fuel by nine points.  The top four teams in each division earn a berth in the playoffs.

The K-Wings played host to the Fort Wayne Komets on Tuesday evening at Wings Event Center.  Taking a 1-0 lead in the first period, Justin Taylor was able to score on a pass from Tanner Sorenson midway into the opening period.   The goal by Taylor was his 16th of the year.

Anthony Petruzzelli tied the game just over a minute into the second period as he was positioned in front of the goal for his 16th of the season.   The Komets would pull ahead later in the period on a goal by Kyle Haas to make it a 2-1 game.

Cory Dunn brought the K-Wings back quickly as he scored his second of the season just 56 seconds after the goal by Haas.  Brett McKenzie put the Komets ahead late in the period for a 3-2 lead.

The lead held as neither team scored in the third period. The K-Wings had a prime scoring opportunity with a minute remaining in the game, however,  as Haas was called for interference, giving the K-Wings a power play. Pulling their goaltender, the K-WIngs had a 6-to-4 man advantage on the ice, but were unable to score the equalizer.

Justin Taylor attempts to score on the Fort Wayne goaltender during Tuesday nights game at Wings Event Center.

Playing their next three games on the road, the K-Wings will not return to Wings Event Center until Friday, March 6th, when they host the Wheeling Nailers at 7:00 pm on “The Office Night”.  Leslie David Baker, who played Stanley Hudson on the series, will be in attendance.

The K-Wings play the Indy Fuel on Friday night before traveling to Missouri to take on the Kansas City Mavericks on Saturday night.   On Wednesday, March 4th, the K-Wings will travel to Cincinnati, Ohio to battle the Cyclones.

K-Wings News and Notes

The K-Wings announced several roster moves on Tuesday afternoon.   Forward Boston Leier was loaned to the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League.  Leier was signed to a professional tryout agreement with the Checkers. Leier, 26, had 10 goals and 19 points in 29 games for Kalamazoo.

With goaltender Jake Kielly recalled to the Utica Comets of the AHL, the K-Wings signed Dave DeSander to take his place.

The K-Wings also acquired the rights to forward Matt Berry from the Utah Grizzlies in exchange for future considerations. Berry, 27, joins the K-Wings after splitting the 2018-19 season with the Grizzlies and the AHL’s San Diego Gulls. The Michigan State University alumn from Canton, Michigan posted 13 goals and 22 points in 20 games for Utah, as well as four goals and 18 points in 42 games for San Diego last season. In 170 career ECHL games, Berry has average nearly a point per game, compiling 67 goals and 165 points in parts of five seasons with Norfolk, Utah and Florida.

The K-Wings also signed forward Reid Sturos. Sturos, 27, last played professionally when he appeared in nine games at the end of the 2016-17 season for the AHL’s Texas Stars, picking up two assists. The South Lyon, Michigan native spent four college seasons at Michigan Tech from 2013-17, where he totaled 29 goals and 76 points in 149 games for the Huskies.

Photos courtesy of Kimberly Moss Photography

By: Mark C. McGlothlen

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