Game recap: Riopel wins fifth straight, Wings topple Komets

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KALAMAZOO, MI — Nick Riopel made 38 stops and Dajon Mingo snapped a four-month goal drought with a first-period game winner, and the Kalamazoo Wings defeated the Fort Wayne Komets, 3-1, on Tuesday night at Wings Event Center.

In their second matchup in three nights, it was the Wings who flipped the script on the Komets and had the ferocious first period. While on their first power play of the game, Eric Kattelus fired a tape-to-tape pass to Josh Pitt, who punched in his eighth of the season.

Seven minutes later, Kalamazoo added to their lead with more terrific passing in the Komets’ zone. Justin Breton freed the puck along to Tyler Biggs, who delivered a dart to the backdoor, where Dajon Mingo banged it into the goal for his first tally since October 14.

Though the second period was scoreless, the intensity remained the same and both teams generated a multitude of chances. Riopel made 14 saves on all 14 shots faced in the frame, and Garrett Bartus did the same on each of the seven shots steered his way.

Fort Wayne clawed back into contention early in the third period, when Jason Binkley cut the Wings’ lead to a goal. After a scramble in front of the net, Binkley closed in on a loose puck and picked the top corner with a well-placed wrist shot that beat Riopel’s glove.

With time winding down and Bartus on the bench for an extra attacker, Peter Schneider shoveled a long-distance backhander down the ice and into the net to cap off the Wings 3-1 victory.

Next: Kalamazoo @ Ft. Wayne Komets- Friday, February 17, 8:00 p.m., Wings Event Center.

Broadcast information: Friday’s game will air on AM 1660 The Fan in Kalamazoo or online at www.1660thefan.com/listen-live.

Notes: Mingo’s goal snapped a four-month goal drought… Riopel has won five-straight decisions… Mason Baptista was assessed a match penalty during the third period for kicking…Kalamazoo’s power play went 1/6 and the penalty kill went 5/5…Kalamazoo were outshot. 39-27.

Stats: http://www.echl.com/game-summary?game_id=14458

Single-game tickets are on sale! Tickets start as low as $10 and can be purchased at www.kwings.com/tickets/schedule or at the Wings Event Center box office.

Wings Event Center, owned and operated by Greenleaf Hospitality Group, is home to the minor league hockey team Kalamazoo Wings and a full entertainment venue offering concerts, sporting events, family shows and trade shows. Built in 1974, Wings Event Center values partnerships with the community to bring events and attractions that enrich the lives of residents in the Kalamazoo area.

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