KALAMAZOO, Mich. Kalamazoo broke open a tight game in the third period and handed the Gwinnett Gladiators just their second regulation road loss of the season, 4-2 on Friday night.
Kalamazoo had the only goal of the first 40 minutes, but scored 31 seconds into the third and then again five minutes later. It was not only just the second regulation road loss for Gwinnett, but its second in a row.
The Gladiators (13-9-2-1) lost to Wheeling last Sunday and play Kalamazoo (16-7-2-0) again tonight before taking a break for the holiday next week.
Continuing a five-game trend on the road, the first period was scoreless.
The Gladiators had an opportunity on the power play early on, but it was the Wings with the best chance.
Ryan McGinnis found a seam through the neutral zone and sailed in on a clean breakaway. Goalie David Brown made a blocker save to prevent the short-handed marker.
McGinnis, though, helped create the chance that Kalamazoo converted on in the second period. A shot from the left wing by McGinnis was stopped by Brown, but the rebound was chopped out of mid-air by Darryl Bootland and into the back of the net at 7:37.
The Wings doubled that margin by taking advantage of a 5-on-3 power play very early in the third and then made it 3-0 at 5:25.
Kalamazoo took a shot from the near side point that ricocheted off traffic in front of the net. Mathieu Curadeau had an empty net inside the left post and didn't miss.
The Gladiators finally broke the shutout bid of Tyson Sexsmith at 13:11.
Matt Siddall worked the puck in along the left wing side and found some room over the right shoulder of Sexsmith.
Forty-four seconds later, Brian McGuirk restored the three-goal lead for Kalamazoo.
Adam Berti cut the margin back to two goals. But with just under two minute remaining, it wasn't enough for Gwinnett.
A mad scramble in front of the net eventually found the puck bouncing back to Berti, who tucked it under the crossbar. Jason Lawrence and Patrick Galivan received assists on the goal at 18:10 of the third.