by Lisa Sillaway

It might be a wholesome Family Night for Wichita Wings fans at Hartman Arena this weekend, but don't tell the Omaha Kings. They are coming in looking for a bit of retribution. 

The last time the two teams met in early January the game literally came down to the last seconds - the Wings were able to pull out a win, 7-6. 

And this time, the two 5-1 teams are battling for the top spot in the conference. 

Fans can get on the battle with the Family Night package deal from Hartman Arena. Purchase 4 tickets through the Hartman Arena Box Office for $44! (General admission tickets only.)

In the last meeting, Omaha tried to force their fast-paced play on the Wings from kickoff and the men in Orange had to work hard to force the Kings to slow the pace of the game down - so they can play their more cerebral and patient style. Sometimes it worked - as when the Wings had five unanswered goals between 11:46 of the second quarter and 9:36 of the fourth. Sometimes, as in the fourth when the Kings stormed ahead with three goals of their own, it didn't. 

"Omaha is 5-1 and always a tough match up for us," said Coach Roger Downing.  "They bring fire and intensity every time we play them.  We will need to be on our A-game this weekend."

Besides, we could use a little fire in this chilly weekend.

"Family Night will be a lot of fun, especially after being cooped up for a few days.  We are excited to see the familiar Orange Army and also some new fans," said Downing.

The game comes after a pair of games that had the Wings both victorious and defeated in spectacular fashions. The Wings narrowly lost a nail biter in Hartman Arena to the New Mexico Runners then roared back with a 19-7 victory on the road versus the Colorado Inferno. 

"We had a few veterans out with Covid against the Runners and our youth showed through," said Downing.  "It was a good learning lessons for myself, as well as the men.  We bounced back against Colorado with some different tactics that are more exciting that will be on full display on Saturday night."

The youth that narrowly lost the game versus the Runners will be showing off what they've learned this weekend against Omaha.

"Our youth was in full effect in Colorado.  The young guys are getting more and more confident, if we can continue to develop them and our experience behind them can stay healthy we have a good shot at winning the championship," said Downing, who took the Wings to their first championship game last season. 

One player had fans watching the livestream from Colorado take notice. Taylor Parrott (yes, he's Aaron Parrott's brother) took his place in the net for the second half of the blowout, wowing fans with his agility.

And, it seems, his coach.

"Taylor did great!  He is traveling with the M3 team this weekend however.  Hamersky will be back in action," said Downing.

Covid appears to have run it's course through the Wings' roster, now with only one player out with the virus. Alex Perez is out with an injury and Kieran Laking has a bit more time to sit out for his suspension. Check out the game roster for today's game: