Game Day: Regular Season Wraps Up, Kulbakov Recalled to Utica
Tulsa, OK.- The regular season wraps up on Saturday night in Tulsa as the K-Wings conclude the regular season and a seven game road trip taking on the Oilers.
Kalamazoo (36-30-2-3) at Tulsa (41-23-4-2)
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Last Time Out:
Tulsa scored three times in the third period as Kalamazoo fell 4-1 on Friday night in Tulsa. The visit was the first time the K-Wings have played inside the BOK Center in team history. The teams traded goals in the first period to set up a 1-1 deadlock that stuck through the first two periods. Ian McNulty got the visitors on the board midway through the opening frame, taking a backdoor feed from Mike McKee and tapping it past Kulbakov. Just a few minutes after the Oilers broke the ice Tanner Sorenson put the K-Wings on the board with a power play goal to tie things up at 1-1. Sorenson collected the puck in his own end before going coast to coast, sending a shot past Devin Williams to tie the game. Once the third period began the Oilers retook the lead less than a minute into the period. Tulsa would score once more on Ivan Kulbakov, getting a power play goal from Roman Ammirato to extend their lead to two goals last in the period. With the goaltender pulled the Oilers added one more goal to cap off the scoring at 4-1.
Central Division Update:
After topping Indy in a shootout on Friday night the Fort Wayne Komets secured the last available playoff spot in the Central Division. The victory also pushed the Komets past the K-Wings and into third place in the Central Division. While Cincinnati and Toledo have the first and second spots locked up, Kalamazoo and Fort Wayne find themselves jostling for positioning as they head into the final two days of the regular season. The K-Wings have only Saturday's game remaining while Fort Wayne plays Saturday and Sunday. Heading into Saturday the K-Wings sit a single point back of Fort Wayne in the Central Division.
Goaltender Ivan Kulbakov was recalled to Utica on Saturday morning for his third stint with the Comets this season. Kulbakov, 22, has appeared in 16 games for the K-Wings this season posting a record of 8-5-1-1 while allowing 2.89 goals per game and recording a save percentage of .918. He has also appeared in 24 games with Utica this season, posting a record of 10-8-6-2 alongside a .892 save percentage and a 3.56 goals against average.
Power Play Snaps Skid:
Friday nights power play goal snapped a three-game,ten attempt skid for the K-Wings. It was also only the second power play goal that Kalamazoo has scored in the seven games. During that stretch Kalamazoo has gone 2-for-26 (7.7%). The current seven-game skid follows a stretch that saw the K-Wings score a power play goal in 12 of 13 games, raising the power play to the third ranked unit in the ECHL. Kalamazoo, despite the recent struggles, still sits in a tie for the third ranked power play in the ECHL, converting on 20.6% of chances this season. Overall the team has scored a total of 62 power play goals this season.
Scouting the Oilers:
Tulsa heads into Saturday night looking to maintain their spot atop the Mountain Division. The Oilers currently lead Idaho by a single point for the division title, while both teams have a pair of games remaining. Tulsa wraps up their season against the Wichita Thunder on Sunday, while Idaho finishes a three-in-three against the Utah Grizzlies with games on Saturday and Sunday.
Tulsa heads into Saturday led offensively by All-ECHL First Team Member Adam Pleskach who has recorded 72 points (37g, 35a) setting career highs for the Oilers this season. Behind Pleskach is linemate Jared Thomas who ranks among ECHL rookie leaders with 62 points (19g, 43a) through 50 games this season. Defenseman Dylan Bredo, also a rookie, leads all ECHL defensemen with 40 assists this season. His 45 points ranks third among all active Oilers, with Ryan Tesink in the AHL. In net Devin Williams, who started on Friday, has shouldered the bulk of the load for the Oilers, appearing in 33 games while posting a record of 19-9-4. The second year pro has put up a 2.16 goals against average and a .915 save percentage.
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