Kalamazoo, MI- Brandon DeFazio scored the game-tying and game-winning goals for the Wheeling Nailers, as they took game one of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Kalamazoo Wings with a 3-2 overtime victory on the road Friday night at Wings Stadium.
Kalamazoo got the scoring started early in the first, using the extra-attacker from a delayed penalty. Trent Daavettila slid the puck across to Dean Strong, who let a slap shot go from the top of the right circle, which beat Wheeling goaltender Peter Delmas. The goal was the fifth of the post-season for Strong, and the assist extended Daavettila’s point streak to eight consecutive games.
It took half of the period of scoreless hockey in the second before Kalamazoo opened their lead to 2-0. Patrick Asselin continued his season-long assault of Wheeling with his second goal of the Kelly Cup Playoffs. Aaron Clarke added a helper on the tally, increasing his active point streak to five games. In the regular season, Asselin recorded nine points (3 goals, 6 assists).
Wheeling couldn’t be held off the board, as David Urquhart screened and deflected a Mickael Bedard slap shot past Kalamazoo goalie Ryan Nie. The goal was the first of the post-season for Urquhart, and brought the Nailers within one.
The Nailers proved to be pesky, as they knotted the score up at two apiece at the 14:33 mark of the third period. DeFazio scored the game tying goal, which was his third of the playoffs.
The tie score after sixty minutes of play forced the first overtime of the post-season for the K-Wings.
The overtime period didn’t last long, as DeFazio scored his second of the evening, and fourth of the playoffs just 2:17 in. The goal gave the Nailers the game one victory and the early series lead.
DeFazio’s tally was his team-leading second game-winner of the playoffs.
The extra session was the fifth of this year’s Kelly Cup playoffs for Wheeling, who are now a league-best 4-1 in OT in the postseason.
For Game Stats: http://echl.com/stats/official-game-report.php?game_id=8777.
The K-Wings will return home tomorrow, Saturday, April 30th with a 7:30 p.m. face-off in game two of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals versus the Nailers. Fans can enjoy $2 hot dogs and all in attendance will receive a FREE pompom courtesy of Storm Insurance Services (www.shopmichiganinsurance.com).
Catch all the K-Wings games, home and away, on the K-Wings Radio Network (95.9 FM WLKM & on kwings.com). Join the “Voice of the K-Wings” Mike Modugno for all 72 regular season games plus the playoffs. Pre-game coverage begins with the Kalsee Credit Union Pre-Game Show 15 minutes prior to face-off. For the most complete coverage of the K-Wings from the opening face-off to the final buzzer and the Discover Kalamazoo Post-Game Show, keep your radio tuned this season to the K-Wings Radio Network.
Single game tickets for the third round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs and 2011-12 Season Tickets are on are on sale at the Wings Stadium Ticket Office, Ticketmaster Outlets, including www.ticketmaster.com, Ticket Office hours are Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m.-2 p.m. For more information, please call Wings Stadium Ticket Office during regular business hours at (269) 345-5101.
Tickets for all K-Wings third round playoff home games are on sale now and range in price from $12.90-$17.90 for adults and only $9.90 for kids ages 12 and under.
Fans can save money by purchasing K-Wings single game tickets advance because on the day of a game, K-Wings tickets are $1 more.
For more information about tonight’s game, please contact Mike Modugno, director of public relations and broadcaster at (269) 349-9772, extension 220.