KALAMAZOO, MICH – After being on the receiving end of four middle period goals on Friday, the Evansville IceMen fell victim to four consecutive special teams goals by the Kalamazoo Wings on Saturday. The abundance of second period penalties ultimately denied the IceMen the opportunity to break even with the Wings in the North Division standings.
Kalamazoo Forward Eric Kattelus had another strong performance against the IceMen on Saturday night as he was a part of five of the Wings’ seven goals. Kattelus scored two goals and dished out three assists on his way to the game’s first star honor. The Kalamazoo forward now has 13 goals on the season with seven of those triumphs coming against the IceMen.
Kattelus’ efforts overshadowed another presumptuous effort by IceMen Left Winger Wade MacLeod, who accounted for two of Evansville’s three tallies against the Wings. MacLeod struck for the game’s initial goal 8:20 into the first period, giving the IceMen their first lead in the opening interval. IceMen Right Winger Kevin Baker and Center Todd Robinson assisted on MacLeod’s first of two goals.
MacLeod’s second goal of the game came 11:09 into the first period and was assisted by IceMen Left Winger Anthony Nigro and Defenseman Aaron Gens. MacLeod’s sixth goal in four games with the IceMen came after Kalamazoo’s Kattelus had evened the scored at the 9:04 mark of the first period, just 44 seconds after the IceMen forward’s opener. Kattelus’ first of two goals was assisted by Kalamazoo Defenesman Elgin Reid and Left Winger Alexander Mallet.
The Wings equalized the IceMen a second time in the first period, this happening with 58 seconds left. Kalamazoo Left Winger Aaron Clarke, the game’s third star, scored an easy tap in goal after receiving an ideal pass from Kattelus, who notched his second point of the game with the assist. Also assisting on the goal was Mallet, who gained his second of four points (1G, 3A) against the IceMen on Saturday. Mallet was voted the game’s second star.
The Wings created enough distance in the second period to put the IceMen away, scoring four special teams goals within the first ten minutes of the frame. Kalamazoo Defenseman Mitch Versteeg gave the Wings their first lead of the game on the power play 1:46 into the second period. Kalamazoo Center Kory Karlander and Forward Stephen Anthony assisted on the tie-breaking occurrence.
Kalamazoo’s Kattelus received assists on the next two Wings markers, moving his point count for the game to four. The Wings’ Mallet scored the game-winner and his fourth goal of the season, this one on the power play, 4:31 into the middle period, giving the Wings a two-goal advantage. A third straight power play goal presumed as former IceMen and current Kalamazoo Right Winger Tyler Shelast scored his second goal of the season, marking the second consecutive night in which a former IceMen player has scored a goal against Evansville.
Once the IceMen were able to avoid the penalty box in the second period, Kalamazoo’s Versteeg was penalized for holding 8:13 in, giving the IceMen an opportunity to close the flood gates on a power play that had already successfully capitalized earlier in the contest. The Wings were able to squander the opportunity, however, and scored a shorthanded goal in the process.
Kalamazoo Forward Nick Sirota capped off a shorthanded breakaway by beating IceMen Goaltender Paul Dainton for his eighth goal of the season. The ninth shorthanded goal allowed by the IceMen this season gave the Wings a 6-2 lead that stood the remainder of the period. Kalamazoo’s Reid collected his third assist of the game on the goal.
The Wings began the third period by extending their four-goal lead to five when Kattelus scored his second goal and fifth point of the game 22 seconds into the final frame. Kalamazoo’s Clarke and Mallet were credited with the helpers on the last Wings’ goal on the night.
IceMen Right Winger Sebastian Wannstrom produced his second goal in as many games for Evansville at the 10:16 mark of the third period, making the score its eventual final, 7-3. Wannstrom’s third goal of the season was assisted by Evansville’s Robinson, who gained his second assist late in the game. Dainton was credited with an assist on the final goal of the game as well.
Kalamazoo Goaltender Joel Martin was the victor on Saturday, saving 27-of-30 shots on his way to a .900 save percentage. Martin has started the majority of games for the Wings and improves his record to (12-13-3) on the season. The loss was pinned on Evansville’s Dainton, who was in-net for the third straight game for the IceMen. Dainton allowed seven goals on 23 shots faced. Dainton’s season record declines to (1-5-1).
The IceMen outshot the Wings 30-23 and are now (7-6-0) when exceeding their opponent for the game in that department. Evansville’s power play prevailed a success in it’s first opportunity, but was unable to produce in the next five chances as they finished the game 1-for-6. The IceMen penalty killing unit hit a rare bump in the road on foreign ice, allowing four goals on seven attempts.
After embarking on a six-game winning streak on Saturday night affairs, the IceMen have lost three of its last four Saturday games.
Evansville’s overall record exactly halfway through the season falls to 36(12-21-3) as the team remains in fifth place in the North Division with 27 points. Kalamazoo advances its record to 33(14-16-3) for 31 points on the season.
The IceMen return home on Sunday, Jan. 6 to host another North Division rival, the first place Cincinnati Cyclones. The game has a scheduled start time of 5:00 p.m and will be broadcast on ‘Magic 98.5’ FM and 1400 AM WEOA, as well as the rest of the IceMen Radio Network.