Gardiner's Hat Trick Propels K-Wings Past Nailers
KALAMAZOO, MI - Reid Gardiner scored a power play goal with 9.1 seconds to go on Friday night to cap off a hat trick, and give the K-Wings a 6-5 victory over the Wheeling Nailers in a back and forth penalty filled game.
Reid Gardiner netted the first hat trick of the season for the K-Wings, and his second career hat trick in the victory. Gardiner pushed his point streak to ten-games, tying a career high set last season with the Nailers. Kalamazoo set season highs in shots (46) and power play goals (3) in the victory as well. Six different K-Wings recorded multi-point games in the victory. Kalamazoo and Wheeling combined for 106 penalty minutes, including 69 from the Nailers.
Special teams was the name of the game in the first period as the teams combined for three power play goals, and four goals total. Kalamazoo netted each of the first three goals, pushing the K-Wings out to a 3-0 lead in the opening period. Eric Kattelus opened the scoring just 3:28 into regulation placing a shot through traffic and past Matt O'Connor to give the K-Wings the lead. Seven minutes later Justin Taylor added to the lead, flipping a backhand over O'Connor for his 21st goal of the season. Four minutes later Kyle Bushee pushed the lead to 3-0 with a wrist shot into the top corner at the 14:27 mark. Late in the period trailing by three the Nailers got on the board. Alex Rauter collected a shot to put the Nailers within two with 1:03 to play in the opening frame.
After being outscored 3-1 in the opening period the Nailers stormed back to get three goals of their own in the middle frame and eventually tie the game. After Reid Gardiner netted his first goal of the night to put the K-Wings up 4-1. Late in the period the Nailers pulled the goalie and used a six-on-four power play to jumpstart the offense, scoring three goals in a 1:09 stretch to tie the game at 4-4 after the second period.
In the third period the Nailers struck first for their fourth consecutive goal, taking a 5-4 lead at the 7:49 mark of the period. Seven minutes later the former Nailer Reid Gardiner tied the game up. Gardiner's 12th goal of the season came at the 14:10 mark of the period and set the game back in a deadlock. After Dan Fick was called for a trip with 1:32 to play in the game the K-Wings power play got another opportunity and capitalized. Kyle Bushee set up Gardiner for a one-timer from the left circle with under ten seconds to play. Gardiner's blast snuck through the legs of O'Connor and to the back of the net, putting Kalamazoo up 6-5 with 9.1 seconds to play.
As the final horn sounded the K-Wings skated away with a come from behind 6-5 victory, snapping a two-game skid. The K-Wings outshot the Nailers 45 to 34 en route to the victory.
Kalamazoo is back in action tomorrow night as they host the Toledo Walleye for Game of Thrones Night featuring specialty jerseys, which will be worn by both teams.
Kalamazoo Wings single game and half season tickets are available now! More information can be gathered at www.kwings.com.
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