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.