KALAMAZOO, Mich – The Kalamazoo Wings earned a critical North Division victory Wednesday night, as Yann Sauve delivered the game-winner 47 seconds into overtime leading the K-Wings past the Evansville IceMen at Wings Stadium.
A slow start by the K-Wings put them in a hole early, as the IceMen struck for two goals midway in the opening 20 minutes. Battling in front of the Kalamazoo net, Dylan Clarke (13th) scored after a failed attempt by Joel Martin to clear the puck found itself on the tape of the forward, who lit the lamp with a backhander.
Just 2:55 later, the IceMen extended their lead after the league-leader in assists, Todd Robinson (40), found Kevin Baker (15th) for redirected backdoor tally.
The K-Wings got on the board with 4:56 left in the period after Robinson took a hooking penalty. Alexandre Mallet connected for his seventh-goal of the season by burying a power-play slap shot past goaltender Paul Dainton. Kalamazoo, who scored on their first power-play of the game, finished the contest 1-for-7 with a man-advantage.
With no scoring in the middle stanza, the IceMen kept their one goal cushion heading into the third period, but that’s where the defensive contest became an offensive shootout.
Pulling even 8:23 into the period, Brett Lysak found a rebound to the side of the net for his 13th goal of the season to tie the game at 3-3; however, Kalamazoo’s celebration was cut short 31 seconds later by Josh Beaulieu.
Beaulieu, who is the IceMen’s leading goal scorer, notched his 21st marker of the season with a high-slot wrist shot to reclaim the lead for the IceMen
Sparking a stretch of three goals in 2:10, Alexandre Grenier (2nd) found a space between the circles after puck-handling around three IceMen to record the equalizer 12:01 into the period.
Grabbing the K-Wings first lead of the night 52 seconds later, Elgin Reid (7th) utilized a screen in front of Dainton to beat the netminder over the shoulder to put Kalamazoo ahead 4-3.
Clarke (14th) netted his second of the game for the IceMen this time with a slap shot from the left circle to tie the game at 4-4 to force overtime.
Before the crowd could settle down in the extra session, Sauve sent them home happy earning his third-goal of the season with a blue-line wrister. Two of Sauve’s three goals this season have come in overtime.
Kalamazoo will commence a three-game road swing this Friday, February 8th with a 7:05 p.m. encounter against the Elmira Jackals at the First Arena.
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