Cyclones end regular season with a loss

Two days after receiving a beating on their own home ice, the Kalamazoo Wings (39-24-2-6) returned the favor by defeating the Cincinnati Cyclones (33-29-2-6) by a 5-0 score in front of 9,317 at U.S. Bank Arena on Friday night.  It was the fifth-largest regular-season crowd in franchise history.

The Wings jumped ahead on a very bizarre goal when Cyclones netminder Chet Pickard (L, 21 saves, 9-14-2-1) misplayed the puck directly to Kory Karlander; the dangerous Kalamazoo forward back-handed a soft shot along the ice that slid into the vacated net for a 1-0 lead.  Despite a late power play chance for Cincinnati, the visiting Wings took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.

Kalamazoo extended its cushion in the middle frame as they tallied three unanswered goals.  At the 3:30 mark, Aaron Clarke buried a rebound during a Wings power play making it 2-0.  They struck again a few minutes later, at 6:48, when Trent Daavettila wristed home his 31st of the season to extend their cushion to 3-0.  In the final ten seconds of the period, a loose puck trickled out into the right circle of the Cincinnati zone where Clarke was looming again; he slammed in his second goal of the night with just eight seconds remaining to push the Wings ahead by a 4-0 score after 40 minutes.

In the third, Cincinnati continued its attempt to spoil a shutout bid by Wings goalie Riley Gill (W, 24 saves, 13-7-0-3) by tossing 11 more shots on net in the final stanza.  However, they couldn't light the lamp as Gill preserved his third blanking of the season.  Kalamazoo then added to its lead at the 10:42 mark when Daavettila deposited his second goal of the night on a tic-tac-toe feed from Andrew Fournier out of the right corner.  That tally made it 5-0 Wings, who went on to win by the same score.  It was the fourth time this season that Cincinnati has been shutout.