ELMIRA, NY - The Elmira Jackals were at risk of going into a season long 6 game losing streak, but a third period rally led them past the Kalamazoo Wings Sunday afternoon in front of 1806 fans at First Arena.
The Jackals looked gassed after two hard fought games against the K-Wings, with goalie Scott Greenham having to stand on his head to keep Elmira in the contest. Kalamazoo (6-5-0-1, 13 points) unleashed 24 shots split evenly in the first two frames. Greenham stopped 23 of them en route to a 30 save night.
The lone blemish on the Ottawa prospect’s night came in the first period on an odd man rush. David Pacan led a rush down the right wing side and let go a hard slap shot from near the bottom of the right faceoff circle. Greenham made the initial stop, but the pad rebound went right to Ludwig Blomstrand on the left side doorstep. At the 12:10 mark, Blomstrand let an easy shot go into the open net, scoring his sixth ECHL goal of the year. Blomstrand and Pacan are both Vancouver Canucks prospects, with John Armstrong getting credit for the second assist.
After a relatively quiet end to the opening frame, and a penalty ridden second stanza, the score still stood at 1-0, but the margin felt wider as St. Louis Blues’ prospect Jordan Bennington stopped all 16 shots he faced.
Bennington was tested in the third as the ice tilted towards Elmira. Despite only outshooting The K-Wings 8-7 in the final period, the Jackals (4-9-0-1, 9 points) made it count, converting two of their eight opportunities.
First, Senators prospect Jakub Culek found the puck in the slot off a pass from defenseman Marvin Degon. Culek let go a very weak shot that hugged the ice, and somehow found its way through Bennington’s five hole to tie the game at 1 goal apiece 8:34 into the third. Captain Jean Bourbeau was credited with the secondary assist on Culek’s third of the year.
The Jackals continued to get quality chances later in the period, and despite the low shot total, had possession for most of the frame. Their persistance paid off one tick shy of three minutes later, as Kyle Bushee scored his second goal of the year at the 11:33 mark. Bourbeau passed it to Bushee who was a few steps in front of the left point. The puck at first appeared to go off Bourbeau’s stick, but was later determined to have hit a defenseman. Regardless, it pinballed its way into the net to give the Jackals their 2-1 lead en route to the victory.
The K-Wings return home to take on the Florida Everblades on Wednesday. Also on Thanksgiving Eve, the Jackals travel to their rival Reading Royals.