Overtime Buzzer Beater Puts Wings over Swamp Rabbits
GREENVILLE, SC - The Kalamazoo Wings beat the buzzer in an overtime period against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits, and rolled to their fifth consecutive win on Thursday by a 4-3 final.
The first period was spent with the two teams feeling each other out, and neither club able to break the scoreless stalemate. Kalamazoo's Joel Martin made eleven stops in the opening period, as did Greenville's starting goaltender, Mackenzie Skapski.
The Wings sprung out to a second-period lead after tallying the game's first goal while killing off their second penalty of the game. With Evan McEneny in the box for a delay of game, Brett Ponich cleared a loose puck off the wall and ahead to Lane Scheidl, who chased it down for a breakaway. Scheidl snuck a tidy wrister past the stick side of Skapski, giving Kalamazoo a 1-0 advantage.
Special teams continued to dominate the focus of the second period, as Kalamazoo expanded their lead to a pair of goals while operating on their third power play opportunity of the game. After McEneny let a long slap shot fly from the point, Schiedl was on the door step to punch the rebound into the back of the goal.
Greenville came alive in the third period and were able to cut their deficit in half in the early stages of the final period. After Jack Combs got the puck with loads of room in the high slot, he held until some room freed up along the goal and dished to Scott Fleming, who cashed in on an open net.
The Wings felt the heat of the Swamp Rabbits' comeback and were able to again stretch their lead to two. As Kalamazoo carried in on an odd-man rush, Justin Taylor received a drop-pass from Ludwig Blomstrand, and wired a wrist shot off the cross bar and over the goal line.
The seesaw battle continued in the third period, as Greenville were able to draw within a goal after Combs registered his team-leading 25th of the season by crashing the goal and poking home a loose puck.
With less than two minutes remaining, and Skapski pulled in favor of the extra attacker, the Swamp Rabbits moved the puck into the Kalamazoo end and set up on the offensive. Fleming used the traffic in front of Martin as a screen and fired a shot that was deflected in front by Combs. The late equalizer sent the game into an extra session tied at three.
In the waning seconds of the overtime, the Wings, fresh off killing a four-on-three power play, attacked ahead and created a last-second scramble in front of the goal. Evan McEneny jabbed the puck under Skapski and over the line with less than one second remaining, giving Kalamazoo the dramatic victory.
Next: Kalamazoo @. Greenville- Friday, April 1, 7:00 p.m., Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
Notes: Schiedl has scored in four straight and has nine tallies in his last eight games. Kalamazoo have won a season-high five straight games. The overtime winner was McEneny's first career goal. Taylor has six points in his last four games. Blomstrand has pushed his point streak to seven consecutive games. Kalamazoo's nine wins in the month of March set a new season high.
The Kalamazoo Wings continue their three-game set with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits on Friday and Saturday nights at Bon Secours Wellness Arena. The Wings return home on Saturday, April 9 for their final regular season home game of the 2015-16 season, as they entertain the Toledo Walleye. The tilt is the annual fan appreciation night at Wings Event Center, with dozens of giveaways, including the 2015-16 team poster. The team awards will also be handed out during a special ceremony on the ice after the game.
Listen to all 72 regular season and post season games on AM 1660 The Fan in Kalamazoo, or online at www.1660thefan.com/listen-live. Live coverage begins fifteen minutes before puck drop with the Flame Tamer Pregame Show.
Single-game tickets are now on sale! Tickets can be purchased at kwings.com or at the Wings Event Center box office. Box office hours are Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. A $2 discount is applied on all tickets purchased before the date of the game. Any student that shows a valid ID can get tickets for just $10.
Images from this story
Kalamazoo Wings Goaltender Joel Martin vs. the Greenville Swamp Rabbits
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