ECHL: Kalamazoo Wings win one, lose two in the final weekend of the season

Entering the final weekend of the 2022-23 regular season out of the playoff picture, the Kalamazoo Wings managed to win against one of the top teams in their division before dropping their final two games.

Friday, April 14, 2023 – Kalamazoo Wings, 6, Toledo Walleye 2

On Fan Appreciation Night in front of a capacity crowd, the K-Wings dispatched the Walleye with an impressive offensive performance that included four goals in the second period. Toledo opened the scoring with a power play goal at 8:52 of the first period, but Kalamazoo responded four minutes later with a goal by Coale Norris to tie the game. The Walleye scored a shorthanded goal at 2:33 of the second to retake the lead, but it was all K-Wings after that, as they scored five unanswered goals to win in dominant fashion.

Anthony Collins tied the game for Kalamazoo at 3:17 of the second with assists from Kurt Gosselin and Collin Saccoman. Gosselin followed up with what turned out to be the game-winner at 5:01, with Ben Copeland and Brad Morrison earning the assists K-Wings veteran Justin Taylor scored a power-play goal at 10:55 with Copeland getting his second assist of the night, along with Luke Morgan. The final goal of the period was scored by Brendan Bushy, which was also his first professional goal. Assists went to Taylor and Connor Fedorek.

The third period’s only goal was the K-Wings’ second power-play goal of the night, scored by Ayden MacDonald at 2:58, assisted by David Keefer and Robert Calisti. Hunter Vorva turned in a solid performance between the pipes, stopping 30 of 32 shots.

Saturday, April 15, 2023 – Kalamazoo Wings 3, Toledo Walleye 4

Heading to Toledo for the second game of a home-and-home series, Kalamazoo was riding the momentum of Friday’s win, jumping out to a 3-0 lead over the Walleye. After a scoreless first period, Ben Copeland opened the scoring at 3:51 of the second with assists from Connor Fedorek and Brendan Bushy. The K-Wings struck again at 5:59, as Coale Norris scored off a deflection of an Ayden MacDonald pass from the goal line. Kalamazoo’s third and final goal of the period (and the game) came from David Keefer on a pass from Collin Saccoman, with a secondary assist from MacDonald.

The Walleye began their comeback after that, scoring two goals late in the period (including one on the power play) to draw within one. Toledo would tie the game at the 32-second mark of the third and score the game-winner at 6:28. Drew DeRidder made his first professional start in net for the K-Wings, stopping 33 of 37 shots in a solid outing.

April 16, 2023 – Kalamazoo Wings 2, Indy Fuel 3 (shootout)

Playing in front of their home crowd for the final time this season, Kalamazoo was hoping to give their fans a victory to end the season but ultimately fell to Indy 3-2 in a shootout. The K-Wings scored first, at 3:09 of the first period, on a goal from Collin Saccoman, with assists going to Raymond Brice and Robert Calisti. Aiden Spellacy followed up with a goal at 11:44 to extend Kalamazoo’s lead to 2-0. Brendan Bushy and Justin Taylor earned the assists.

The K-Wings would be held scoreless for the remainder of regulation, while Indy would score one in each of the last two periods to send the game to overtime. With the score still deadlocked after the extra time, a shootout would decide the game. Two of the first three shooters for both teams scored, and the Fuel ended the game on the fourth round of the shootout.

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