Wings Punch Ticket to Postseason in Finale Shutout
KALAMAZOO, MI- The Kalamazoo Wings were backed a raucous crowd at Wings Event Center, as they dominated the Toledo Walleye and punched a ticket to the post season in a 4-0 victory on Saturday night.
Despite extensive pressure from the Walleye throughout the first frame, the Wings connected on a Tanner Sorenson strike to give them a 1-0 lead. A battle along the boards led to the puck squeaking out to Sacha Guimond at the blue line. Guimond lifted a pass to Sorenson at the top of the right circle, and his rifle of shot blew past the glove of Jeff Lerg.
Carrying the momentum from their first strike into the second frame, the Wings pushed their lead to 2-0, courtesy of David Gilbert. Alex Mallet carried down the right wing boards, pushed the puck behind the net of Lerg, where Gilbert was able to carry into the slot. Once in the scoring position, Gilbert patiently waited for a gap to fire the puck into the goal and deposited his 16th of the season.
Trading back-and-forth chances throughout the middle stanza, the Wings extended their lead to 3-0 at the 16:56 mark of the frame. While on the man-advantage, Justin Taylor camped out in front of Lerg, taking away his vision, and deflected an Evan McEneny shot from the blue line. The tally was the 26th of the campaign for Taylor, setting a new career high.
Putting the game out of reach, Eric Kattelus sealed the game with his fifth maker of the year at the 18:52 mark of the third. Ludwig Blomstrand lifted a pass from the right circle to the tape of a streaking Kattelus, who backhanded the opportunity over Lerg. With the win, the Wings punched their ticket to the Kelly Cup Playoffs, and will face off against the South Carolina Stingrays in round one.
At the conclusion of the contest, the Wings announced their end of season award winners at the conclusion of tonight's game, and the winners were: Community Service Award- Eric Kattelus, +/- Award- Anton Cederholm, Most Improved Player- Anton Cederholm, Sportsmanship Award- Brett Ponich, Unsung Hero Award- Lane Scheidl, Defenseman of the Year- Ben Wilson, Rookie of the Year- Cory Pritz, Most Popular Player (as voted by the fans)- Justin Taylor, Most Valuable Player- Joel Martin.
Next: Kalamazoo vs. South Carolina (round one, game one)- Friday, April 15, 7:00 p.m., Wings Event Center.
Notes: Joel Martin stopped all 33 shots he faced, and earned his third shutout of the season. Kalamazoo finished the regular season series with a record of 5-2-1-1 against the Walleye. Kalamazoo have scored the first goal in seven straight games. The first round of the playoffs will be the first meeting of the year between Kalamazoo and South Carolina.
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.
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