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Category Archives: Kalamazoo Wings

I’m going to be posting over the next couple of weeks, my top 15 sports moments that I’ve been involved in, or have been to in person.

There are no rules here, it’s just some of the best sports moments I’ve been blessed to be a part of. I’m sure I missed some, and certainly nothing is official. If you want to comment on any of these, or something I may have missed, please do so in a positive and preferably respectful manner.

Some of these will be extremely obscure and others will be things most of you know.

#15…Rockford Icehogs @ Kalamazoo Wings
May 6, 2006, UHL Semi Finals, Game 2.

My team at the time was the Fort Wayne Komets who had already been eliminated by the Rockford Icehogs in round 1 of the United Hockey League playoffs. It was a Saturday night and we decided to take the very short drive up to Kalamazoo, Michigan to check out the Wings take on Rockford.

The previous night, Kalamazoo easily handled Rockford 3-1, but game 2 was a much different story. In fact, it was one of the most entertaining games I’ve seen at any level. Numerous fights, high scoring, an awesome storyline, and a full house.

Let’s start with Rockford who was led in this game by former NHL prospect Billy Tibbetts. Tibbetts could have been a star, but he had a huge temper that always got the best of him. He was also convicted of raping a 15 year old girl when he was 17. Things spiraled out of control for Tibbetts and he found himself in the UHL. On the ice, he had no problem getting in the faces of others and doing whatever it took to find the net.

The Wings were led by Lucas Drake who picked a great night to do what he did. Now neither player was the star of their team, but on this night, they would go down in history.

There was a lot of special teams involved in this game as it was especially chippy early on. The Wings’ Kory Karlander started the scoring with a short handed goal in the first, while Rockford responded with 2 powerplay goals. They battled strong for 20 minutes and were tied at 3.

The second period was extremely tough on the Icehogs as Lucas Drake took over for the WIngs. He notched a couple goals, including the first of two short handed goals to give himself a hat trick. After a Nick Bootland shorthanded goal, Drake put up two more goals to give him a total of 5 goals, a UHL playoff record. Needless to say, Wings Stadium was in a frenzy.

8-3 Wings after 2.

Rockford got an early 5 on 3 powerplay in the 3rd period and capitalized when Tibbetts put in his 3rd of the game for a hat trick of his own. Two minutes and two goals later, another Tibbetts sighting gave him his 4th goal. He got pretty cocky as there was a small brawl. Tibbetts could be seen yelling at Wings fans at counting to 4, the number of goals he had scored. The fans let him know how to count to 5, the number of goals Drake had scored, and how to read a scoreboard, something the Wings were also winning.

The Icehogs were stellar the rest of the game, putting on an absolute flurry of shots, but Wings goalie Joel Martin stopped what he needed to and Kalamazoo survived 8-7 to take a 2-0 series lead.

The Wings would go on to win the UHL’s Colonial Cup that year but not before playing an absolutely epic playoff game against the Rockford Icehogs, which is #15 on my top 15 Sports Moments.

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