Five Different Scorers Lead K-Wings to Victory over Nailers
KALAMAZOO, MI - If you blinked, you missed it. A third period breakaway goal from Kalamazoo Wings forward Matheson Iacopelli 27 seconds into the frame started as an insurance goal. It ended up counting as the game-winner, as the K-Wings (13-19-4-0) edged the Wheeling Nailers (17-17-4-0), 5-4 Friday at Wings Event Center.
The teams matched punch for punch in the opening frame, as Luke Sandler put Kalamazoo in front first with a backhander into the top of the net 3:27 into the game. Wheeling answered when Justin Almeida tipped a slap pass from the slot 1:17 later. The K-Wings went back in front when Ben Wilson set up Ian Edmondson from the corner, as Edmondson tapped in his second goal of the season.
Cam Brown evened things up at 2-2 when he jammed home a loose puck out of a goal-mouth scramble midway through a first period that saw 25 combined shots.
Jake Hildebrand made two of the game's best saves halfway through the second period, when he robbed Nailers forward Graham Knott on a breakaway and followed that up with a denial of Almeida's point-blank rebound attempt. Seconds later, the K-Wings claimed their third lead at the other end. Kyle Blaney won a battle behind the net and set up Justin Kovacs in front of the net to make it 3-2.
The Nailers again had an answer when Renars Krastenbergs tipped a point shot for a power play goal with 1:23 left in the middle stanza to tie the game at 3-3. But Kalamazoo veteran defenseman Eric Kattelus scored the go-ahead goal with 6.6 seconds left in the period on a shot from the point that went off of a Wheeling player's stick and skidded across the goal line.
Iacopelli then started the third period with the bang. A neutral zone takeaway sprung the speedy winger in stride, as Iacopelli blazed past the Nailers defense and ripped a shot past the glove of Alex D'Orio on a breakaway to make it 5-3 just 27 seconds into the frame.
Late in regulation, Wheeling pulled D'Orio and scored to pull within one with just 1:25 left on the clock, as Nick Minerva knocked in a bouncing puck from the slot. But the K-Wings held on for their first win of 2020, snapping a six game skid.
The K-Wings face Florida again Saturday at Wings Event Center for a 7:00 p.m. rematch of Wednesday's game. Kalamazoo will wear special Spongebob Squarepants jerseys for Nickelodeon Night, and those player-worn jerseys will be auctioned off following the game.
Kalamazoo Wings 3-Packs are now available online! Reserve your tickets for the three biggest games in the best seats with the best eats. Visit kwings.com for more information about all the perks that come with a K-Wings 3-Pack!
The Kalamazoo Wings are a professional hockey team located in southwest Michigan that has been a staple in the Kalamazoo, MI professional sports landscape since 1974. The K-Wings compete in the ECHL and are the AA affiliate of the National Hockey League's Vancouver Canucks. Kalamazoo plays their 36 regular season home games at Wings Event Center from October through April.
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