KALAMAZOO, MIch – Held to one goal for their first two games of the season, the Kalamazoo Wings offense had their breakthrough performance registering six goals in a 6-4 victory Saturday night versus the Toledo Walleye at Wings Stadium.
Smothering the Walleye in the first period, the K-Wings struck for two goals and outshot Toledo 11-3. Striking early on the power-play, David Pacan (1st) snuck in the high slot and beat Mac Carruth with a wrist shot 13:33 into the period.
Nearly three minutes later, special teams led to the K-Wings second goal of the contest. Finishing an odd-man rush, Yanni Gourde slid a high slot cross-rink pass to Adam Polasek, who beat the Carruth five-hole, (1st) to increase Kalamazoo’s lead to two goals. The assist for Gourde was his first of three on the evening and part of a four-point night for the K-Wings forward.
The Walleye answered the K-Wings rush from the first period by scoring the game’s next two goals in a matter of ten minutes to start the second period. Travis Novak (2nd) netted a power play goal 5:34 into the middle stanza to cut the K-Wings lead to a single goal.
Minutes after, Trevor Parkes (3rd) continued to stay red-hot as he scored 9:45 into the period, scoring just in front to crease to even the game at 2-2.
Reclaiming the lead two and half minutes later, Ray Kaunisto skated past the Walleye defense for a loose puck and found a wide open Cody Beach (1st) in the slot.
Before the second period came to an end the K-Wings work ethic helped them extend their lead to two goals, when Gourde dug the puck loose from behind the net and found a streaking Eric Kattelus (1st) in front the net with 49 seconds remaining in the period.
Continuing a power-play into the third period, the Walleye wasted no time to climb back into the contest. Needing just eight seconds after the opening face-off in the stanza, Scott Arnold notched his fourth goal of the season. Three of Arnold’s four goals this year have come with a man-advantage.
Keeping with the trend of the game, the K-Wings responded immediately with a power-play goal of their own from Gourde (1st).
Not going down with a fight, the Walleye once again pushed the deficit back to a single goal 14:41 into the period with Parkes (4th) second goal of the game.
Kalamazoo put the game away with under two minutes remaining with an empty-net tally from Kattelus (2nd) that was assisted from Gourde and Jeremie Blain.
The K-Wings outshot the Walleye 41-20. Playing in his 400th career game, Joel Martin (1-1-0-0) stopped 16 shots for the victory, while Carruth (2-1-0-0) made 35 saves in the loss.
Besides Martin celebrating his milestone, Kalamazoo’s Sam Ftorek reached a landmark of his own playing in his 700th career ECHL game. Ftorek becomes the third player (Cam Brown and Louis Dumont) in league history to reach the milestone.