Game Day: Wings and Fuel Square off in Indy
Kalamazoo, MI- The Kalamazoo Wings and Indy Fuel wrap up a back-to-back set on Friday night as the K-Wings look to extend their win-streak to five games.
Kalamazoo (23-20-0-2) at Indy (23-20-2-1)
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Last Time Out:
Four unanswered goals in the third period helped the K-Wings push past the Fuel, 8-4 on Wednesday night in Kalamazoo. The victory pushed the K-Wings into a tie for fourth place in the Central Division, and moved a mere one point back from the Fuel for third place. After building a 4-2 lead in the middle period the K-Wings saw the Fuel work back to tie the game at 4-4 early in the third period. Following the fourth Indy goal the K-Wings offense went to work notching each of the next four goals. Brendan Bradley's third tally of the season served as the go-ahead goal, and the difference maker as he put Kalamazoo up 5-4 just about 1:30 after the Fuel knotted it up. After Bradley put the K-Wings up Zach Saar added some padding to the goal at 6:29 of the period with his ninth goal of the season. Up by two the K-Wings tacked on two more tallies as Eric Kattelus notched back-to-back goals for the K-Wings, running the final score to 8-4. When all was said and done Kalamazoo had a total of seven different goal scorers, and eight players with multi-point games.
Getting Reacquainted with Old Friends:
Newest K-Wing Michael Neal got reacquainted with his former squad on Wednesday night in big fashion, notching a goal and assist against the Fuel. Neal, who signed with Kalamazoo on Jan. 31, spent the last two seasons with the Fuel. The forward was the team captain during the 2017-18 campaign and played his way to an all-star game nod, putting up career numbers. In 66 games with Indy Neal totaled 52 points (20g, 32a).
Kyle Thomas picked up a second period goal on Wednesday once again extending his goal, and point streak to seven and nine games respectively. Thomas' seven game scoring streak is tied for the longest in the ECHL this season. It is also the longest active streak, tied with Chris Collins. Thomas has notched eight goals over the span, pushing his season total to 11. Wichita's Ralph Cuddemi and Fort Wayne's JC Campagna each had scoring streaks hit seven games before being halted.
Wednesday's win set a career high six consecutive victories for netminder Jake Hildebrand. The goaltender had previously won five straight on a pair of occasions, but had never won more than that. In addition the goaltender has won each of his last seven decisions, despite suffering a no-decision in the K-Wings 10-8 victory over Fort Wayne. Hildebrand also ranks fourth in the ECHL in minutes played this season, just six minutes behind Norfolk's Ty Reichenbach. The Michigan State product has appeared in 129 career ECHL games, posting a record of 54-53-3-11.
Eight different players netted multipoint nights for the K-Wings on Wednesday night, and seven different players found the back of the net in the victory. Tanner Sorenson (3a) and Eric Kattelus (2g, 1a) led the pace for the K-Wings with three points each. In addition to the seven scorers, five other players found the scoresheet by virtue of adding an assist. At the end of the night all but three Kalamazoo skaters made it onto the scoresheet.
Push for Five:
Kalamazoo will look to win the fifth straight game on Friday night, tying the seasons' longest win-streak. The K-Wings won five straight games from Nov. 27 thru Dec. 8 en route to a December that saw Kalamazoo post a record of 9-6-0-0. The K-Wings have now won four straight games twice since the five-game streak, but have never surpassed four.
Heading into the weekend defenseman Ben Wilson is nine games shy of playing in his 400th professional game. Kyle Thomas is ten points shy of reaching 200 ECHL points.
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