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K-Wings Can't Overcome 1st Period Deficit in Loss to Indy

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KALAMAZOO, MI— Falling behind early in the first period, the Kalamazoo Wings did all they could to erase a three-goal deficit, but it proved too much to overcome in a 4-2 loss to the Indy Fuel on Sunday at Wings Event Center.

The opening minutes of the first period were back and forth, with each team earning quality chances. Eight minutes in and unable to clear their own zone, the Wings surrendered the first goal of the night. Garrett Clarke held the line on the right side and ripped a seeing-eye slap shot through traffic, which was tipped by Reed Seckel and over the leg of Michael Garteig.

Less than a minute later, the Wings transitioned quickly through center ice and tied the game at a goal. J.T. Stenglein bumped the puck back to Sean O’Rourke, who joined the rush and pinpointed a glove-side wrist shot into the top corner of the net for his third goal of the season.

Shortly after O’Rourke knotted things up, Mike Neal put Indy back ahead with his team-leading 15th. While on a power play, Josh Shalla slid a backdoor feed to the tape of Neal for an easy tap in near the post.

With time winding down in the first, the Fuel doubled their lead to two with another net-front effort. Riley Sweeney’s shot was stopped by Garteig, but the rebound was punched from Ryan Rupert to Matt Rupert, who netted his 11th of the year.

Late in the second period and while on a four-minute power play, the Wings generated a flurry of opportunities, with each being stopped by Matt Tomkins. The Fuel turned their defense to offense, as Darian Dziurzynski earned a shorthanded breakaway and lifted a glove-side snap shot into the net. The Fuel’s 11th shorthanded goal of the season sent the Wings into the locker room facing a 4-1 deficit after two.

Looking to mount a dramatic, third-period comeback for the second straight night, Kalamazoo tallied an early strike in the final period to draw to within two. Aaron Irving moved the puck into the wing and looked up to see Scott Henegar in front of the net for a quick-strike play that finished with Henegar deflecting in his 9th of the year.

Kalamazoo threw all they could at Tomkins in the closing minutes of the third period, but each opportunity came up empty as Kalamazoo had their three-game winning streak snapped.

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