Two Third Period Goals Help K-Wings Earn a Point in OT Loss
KALAMAZOO, MI - Four lead changes and 85 combined shots highlighted a thrilling division game Friday at Wings Event Center, but after a strong push in the third period, the Kalamazoo Wings (19-25-7-1) fell 5-4 in overtime to the Indy Fuel (27-23-2-1)
A wide-open first period featured 34 combined shots and five combined goals, as Kalamazoo led early when Aaron Thow wrapped the puck around the boards, before a wacky bounce off the back wall kicked the puck out front. It ricocheted off a Fuel defenseman's skate and into the net.
Indy tied the game off of a face-off win, when Spencer Watson snapped a shot past Jake Kielly from the hash marks. Kalamazoo went back in front when Brennan Sanford fired a shot under the crossbar from the left circle to make it 2-1. Again, the Fuel had an answer when Jake Ryczek let a wrist shot go through traffic, which deflected off of a body on its way into the net.
The Fuel went in front in the final minute of the crazy opening period, when Cliff Watson scored on a short-handed 2-on-1 rush to make it 3-2 after 20 minutes.
Things tightened up a bit in the second period as the teams traded several heavy hits, in contrast to the many scoring chances of the first stanza. Kalamazoo outshot Indy 13-10 in the frame, but the Fuel carried their one-goal lead into the third.
Veteran forward Garret Ross tipped a point shot from Austin Farley on a K-Wings power play to even the score at 3-3 at 6:42 of the final frame. Kalamazoo then went in front on a second-effort put back from Eric Kattelus with 8:38 remaining.
A neutral zone pick with 4:21 left sprung Indy on a 2-on-1 rush, leading to Derian Plouffe's first of back-to-back goals. The Fuel forward finished the game with four points (2g, 2a) and that goal forced overtime, where Plouffe sealed the Indy win with a wrist shot from the high slot at the tail end of a power play.
Kalamazoo's 43 shots matched a season-high from Oct. 12 at Fort Wayne, while Kielly made 37 saves on 42 Indy attempts.
The K-Wings host the Wheeling Nailers at 7:00 p.m. Saturday at Wings Event Center for Wizards, Wands and Wings Night. The first 1,000 fans will receive an exclusive K-Wings scarf. Tickets are available at kwings.com or the Wings Event Center box office.
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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