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The Journal Gazette

Friday, January 26, 2018 10:10 pm

Komets flummoxed by Wings again

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

A back-and-forth game tonight saw the Kalamazoo Wings finish strong, scoring the final three goals of a 7-4 victory over the Komets in front of 3,186 fans at Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

That snapped the Komets’ winning streak, which had been the longest in the ECHL at five games. It also dropped Fort Wayne to 0-3-0 this season against Kalamazoo and allowed the Toledo Walleye to retake sole possession of first place in the Central Division.

Kyle Blaney netted the winning goal for the Wings 14:04 into the third period, after Justin Taylor fed him a pass from behind the net. Blaney then set up Tyler Biggs for the insurance goal and netted another goal, an empty netter for the Wings (22-14-4).

Michael Houser stopped 23 of 29 shots for the Komets (26-13-2), who play 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Cincinnati. Joel Martin stopped 31 of 35 for the Wings.

Kalamazoo had myriad quality scoring chances in the early moments, accounting for four of the game’s first five shots, and the Wings opened the scoring 2:23 into the first period when Scott Henegar got to a rebound and flicked the puck past a sprawled Houser.

Fort Wayne’s Garrett Thompson tied it at 10:46 by smacking in the rebound of a shot by Cody Sol, who had rushed around the right side of the defense, but Henegar’s 20-foot shot at 12:09 regained the lead for the Wings.

All-star Artur Tyanulin tied it again 13:59 when his centering pass from the left wing caromed off the leg of Kalamazoo’s Kyle Bushee and sailed into the top of the net, but 1:10 later Taylor sped up the ice and flicked a shot from the right circle for a 3-2 lead on the game’s 18th shot.

The Wings took a 4-2 lead on Biggs’ one-timer from just outside the left post 2:42 into the second period, but Fort Wayne answered again on Jason Binkley’s shot from the right circle. Thompson tied it at 9:31 after Mason Baptista fed him from the corner for his third assist of the night.

Both of Biggs’ goals came on power plays, as Kalamazoo was 2 for 4 and Fort Wayne was 0 for 2.