Knights win first game against Tomahawks this season
With 31 seconds left, Tyrone Bronte broke a 3-3 tie to help the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights edge the Johnstown Tomahawks, 4-3. In front of over 2,500 fans at 1st Summit Arena, the Knights ended a 26 home game winning streak that began for the Tomahawks on October 6th. The grey and blue are just the second team to pick up a win in Johnstown this year, and the first to do so in 175 days.
While Knights’ goaltender Zach Stejskal saw far more shots than his counterpart, the Knights focused on quality rather than quantity on Johnstown’s Cooper Lukenda, who managed 15 saves Friday, while Stejskal stuffed away 41 shots from the East Division leaders.
The Knights took advantage late in a scoreless first period by batting home two quick goals. At the 18:18 mark, Zak Currie took the puck from his end all the way down to the slot in the attacking zone where the rookie buried his 8th of the season. Over a minute later, fellow rookie Davis Pennington would take advantage of a failed clear, sending a right point shot through traffic and to the back of the net for a 2-0 lead heading to intermission. Pennington leads the Knights’ defense with nine goals this season.
Johnstown got the bulk of their shots on goal in the second period, while Wilkes-Barre managed their fewest with a 17-4 differential. This helped Ethan Webb cut the deficit in half for Johnstown headed into the third, scoring goals in back-to-back games against the Knights after not registering a tally in the previous 43 games.
Early in the third, the Knights restored a two goal lead thanks to Jake Fuss scoring on a delayed penalty. The hottest player for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the second half fired a wrist shot top shelf for his 14th. Fuss and Currie were the only multi-point players for the Knights, each earning a goal and an assist.
As the script has read so many times before this season, the Tomahawks would not let the game get away from them. Bennett Stockdale jammed a loose puck through Stejskal on the power play to get within one over six minutes into the third. Five minutes later, Max Klanow was assessed a double-minor, allowing Chris Trouba to get a one-timer through for the tying goal.
Just six shots went to the Tomahawks cage in the third. Wilkes-Barre made sure to convert on the first (Fuss early) and the last. With 31.3 seconds to go, Tyrone Bronte broke a 3-3 tie with a wrist shot through some bodies right after crossing the blue line. It appeared the shot surprised Lukenda, and the Knights would hang on from there to end the historic winning streak at home for Johnstown. Bronte’s 12th of the season was also his sixth game-winning-goal, having him tied for 5th in the NAHL in that category.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton improves to 24-28-5, while Johnstown sits 45-8-4. The Knights enter Saturday one point back of a playoff spot. Their rematch with the Tomahawks is at 7pm on HockeyTV.