(PR) Trenton, NJ, March 13, 2010 – Rookie defenseman Tim Kunes collected points on Trenton’s final three goals of the game, scoring the final two – including his first career game-winning goal – en route to a hard-fought 5-4 victory. The Wings loss was their first regulation loss in 12 games, the last coming on February 17th against the Florida Everblades. Dave Caruso made 27 saves and Kalamazoo’s Ryan Nie made 23 in the loss. The Devils power play went two-for-five on the night while the Wings went three-for-six.
A fast paced first ended 2-1 in the Devils favor starting with Chris Poli’s 10th of the season at 9:17, shaking his defender and wiring a wrist shot to the top left corner from the right wing circle on passes from Dan Charleston and Andy Thomas.
Jeff Prough made it 2-0 with a change-up rebound goal on the power play for his 25th of the season, after David Leaderer intercepted a Nie clearing effort up the slot and put the puck toward the net mouth. Trent Daavettila scored a power play goal of his own on a Ryan McGinnis rebound that kicked off the boards at 16:10 to cut the Devils lead to 2-1.
The Devils went up 3-1 early in the second as Dan Eves, who had two goals against K-Zoo when the teams last met in November, dug the puck out of the right corner and went straight to the post, jamming the puck past Nie on his third attempt for his 16th goal of the season at 3:20. Kalamazoo answered back to make it 3-3 on two very clean passing plays; an even-strength goal by Rick Cleaver, his 28th, at 7:28 and a power play deflection by Dean Strong at 8:58, his 10th this season.
Kunes regained the Devils lead with his sixth of the season at 15:44 of the second on assists by Tony Zancanaro and Trevor Kell. After Luke Lucyk shot the puck into the left-wing corner, Kyle Kucharski helped Kell get the puck at the edge of the trapezoid. With difficulty, Zancanaro put a backhander toward the net that was blocked to the right wing for Kunes. The Huntington, NY native patiently skated around the perimeter of the circle close to the boards before ripping a wrist shot over Nie’s shoulder, ending the second period with the Devils ahead, 4-3.
After a scoreless first half of the third, Dean Strong tipped Tom Morrow’s point shot onto Caruso who made a pad save and the rebound trickled in the crease. As a Devils defenseman tried to find the puck, he inadvertently kicked it into the net for the power play goal at 12:43, tying the game 4-4 and setting the stage for the former Boston College Eagle moments later.
Just over one minute into the Devils fifth and final power play opportunity of the game, Poli received a pass from Charleston down low to the left of Nie. Poli somehow squeezed the pass between Nie and the Kalamazoo defense to Kunes at the opposite point. Less patiently than on his first goal, Kunes blew another wrist shot over the shoulder of Nie, just under the crossbar and inside the long post for the eventual game-winner at 16:33.
Trenton (28-26-4-5, 65pts), winners of three straight remains one point behind the Reading Royals, who defeated the Toledo Walleye 5-4 Saturday in a shootout. The Devils travel to Charlotte, North Carolina next Friday, March 19th for a game against the Checkers before heading to Gwinnett, Georgia for a two games against the Gladiators to close the weekend.