K-Wings Erupt in Third to Down Mavericks
KALAMAZOO, MI—The Kalamazoo Wings used a four-goal eruption in the third period to silence the visiting Kansas City Mavericks—who were winners of six straight entering tonight—by a 5-2 score on Friday night at Wings Event Center.
Though both teams generated buzz in their offensive zones, it was the goaltenders who dominated the opening period. The Wings outshot the Mavericks, 9-8, and out-chanced the visitors, but Mason McDonald answered each effort. On the other end of the ice, Joel Martin stole the show with eight stops, including two breakaway tries from the Mavericks.
It appeared as if the second period would be more of the same, but the Wings finally broke the scoreless stalemate 17:31 in. After Martin made a remarkable save on one end of the ice, the Wings rushed forward and turned the defense into offense. Tyler Biggs dumped the puck into the attacking zone, resulting in the puck rattling off a stanchion and onto the tape of Tyler Heinonen in the middle of the zone. The hometown bounce allowed Heinonen to rip a heat-seeking shot into the top corner of the goal for the lone strike of the second period.
The defensive chess match quickly transitioned into a Wild West shootout in the third period, as the Wings earned their second goal of the night just 1:05 into the final frame. Biggs was handed off a pass by Kyle Blaney, allowing him to carry towards the goal to uncork a low wrist shot that doubled the Wings’ lead.
Padding their advantage four minutes later, Jimmy Mullin scored his first career goal after a beautiful display of patience. Danny Moynihan slid the puck to Mullin who circled the Mavericks’ goal and wrapped the puck inside the post, beating a scrambling McDonald.
Just over a minute later, Justin Breton got Kansas City on the board with a top-corner-finding wrist shot that zipped over the glove of Martin, marking his third goal of the year.
While shorthanded in the ensuing minutes, the Wings pressured and converted while a man down. Josh Pitt withstood a double team from Kansas City and worked the puck to Kyle Bushee, who joined the rush, and reached back for a powerful slap shot that snuck into a microscopic window over the blocker of the Mavericks’ goaltender.
18 seconds later, the Wings capped off their five-goal performance and four-goal third period after Brendan Bradley centered the puck from the right-wing corner, sending it caroming off the stick of Moynihan, off a skate of a Kansas City defender, and over the line.
Kansas City threw all they could at Martin and earned a late marker resulting from a back door dish by Cody Wydo, who found a streaking Nate Widman for a tap in on the backdoor.
The late Mavericks’ tally cut the Wings lead to 5-2, which was maintained through the final buzzer for a Kalamazoo victory on home ice.