K-Wings Erase Two-Goal Deficit in Heartbreaking Loss
CINCINNATI, OH - Shortly after fighting back from a two-goal deficit to tie the game late in the third period, the Kalamazoo Wings (5-9-2-0) suffered a heartbreaking 4-2 loss to the Cincinnati Cyclones (13-5-1-0), who scored the tie-breaking goal with just 1:34 left in regulation Wednesday at Heritage Bank Arena.
Cyclones captain Justin Vaive led his team to a 2-0 first period lead by picking up a Gordie Howe Hat Trick. Vaive scooped up a rebound and tapped it into an open net to make it 1-0 just 5:35 into the game. Then after dropping the gloves against K-Wings captain Ben Wilson, Vaive returned and assisted on a Jesse Schultz power play goal.
The K-Wings managed just five second period shots on goal, but Jake Hildebrand kept the game close with several big saves. He had 23 stops on 25 Cyclones shots through 40 minutes, while Kalamazoo generated just 12 shots on Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen.
A strong push in the third period brought Kalamazoo back from the 2-0 deficit. David Pope returned to the lineup for the first time since Oct. 12 and spoiled Luukkonen's shutout bid when he tapped home a centering feed from Yannick Veilleux. The K-Wings then used a chaotic sequence to even the score with 4:05 left in the game.
Following a scramble in front of Hildebrand's net, where the K-Wings goaltender stopped three chances at the tail-end of a penalty kill, Matheson Iacopelli raced back the other way and snapped a hard wrist shot into the top corner of the net.
As the game approached a potential overtime, Cincinnati found a way to hand Kalamazoo its most heartbreaking loss yet, when Mason Mitchell found a loose puck out of a net-mouth scramble and shoveled the puck across the goal line with just 94 seconds remaining. Schultz added an empty net goal to complete the scoring.
Kalamazoo wraps up its current five-game road trip Saturday in Wheeling, with a 7:05 p.m. game against the Nailers at WesBanco Arena. The K-Wings then return home Sunday afternoon for a 3:00 p.m. game against the Fort Wayne Komets at Wings Event Center. Sunday's game is Kalamazoo's annual Teddy Bear Toss game, where fans can bring new teddy bears to throw on the ice when the K-Wings score their first goal. The team will then donate those teddy bears to Bronson Children's Hospital.
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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