The Kalamazoo Wings (29-20-2-4) jumped out to an early 3-0 lead and never looked back as they cruised past the Cincinnati Cyclones (24-22-6-3) by a 5-1 final score at Wings Stadium on Saturday night.
For just the third time this season, the Cyclones fell into a 3-0 hole in the span of about six minutes; the first tally came at the 3:00 mark when Kory Karlander picked up a turnover in the Cincinnati zone and wristed one past Chet Pickard (L, 8 saves, 9-12-2-1) for a 1-0 lead. Justin Taylor and Andrew Fournier then followed with goals at 8:14 and 8:49 respectively to extend the early Kalamazoo cushion. Luckily, Cincinnati temporarily stopped the bleeding at 13:52 when Paul McIlveen poked a bouncing puck past Wings netminder Ryan Nie (W, 40 saves, 23-13-2-3), making it 3-1. However, with just under a minute to play in the period, A.J. Thelen sent a slap shot past Pickard on the power play to give the Wings a 4-1 advantage heading into the first intermission.
During a penalty filled second period, the Wings added to their lead at the 10:06 mark on a power play goal from Justin Taylor – making it 5-1 Kalamazoo. Brian Foster (ND, 22 saves, 2-1-0) came on in relief of Pickard and turned aside nine of 22 of 23 shots in the final two period.
In the third, Cincinnati peppered Nie with 19 more shots but could not find the twine as the Wings held on to a 5-1 win. With the victory, Kalamazoo is now 8-0-0-1 in their last nine games and extend their lead in the North Division standings to seven points over the Cyclones. Cincinnati is still winless this season at Wings Stadium, going 0-2-1-1.