EHL: Knights Can’t Fend Off Junior Warriors Rally

Photo: Eastern Hockey League

In a rematch of the Knights best performance from the EHL showcase, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton went searching for their fourth-straight victory. Things started slowly for both sides, as Riley Sims and Jared Stahel went save-for-save through a scoreless first period.

The second opened with the Knights on the attack, with 3:47 of carryover on a Jr. Warriors double-minor. Though the Knights generated solid chances, they could not solve a steady Sims. Valley responded with an offensive surge at the mid-way point of the frame, ending the scoring drought at 10:40 when Jimmy Pelton let go a perfect shot on a 2-on-1. Steve Tettoni picked up the lone assist on the game’s first goal.

The Knights battled back, answering at 16:09 when Tyler Nielsen tipped a puck in front, off assists from Cody Rumsey and Austin Weber. Capitalizing on the momentum swing and a Jr. Warriors penalty, Jake Fuss threaded a stretch pass across neutral ice to an open Anthony Starzi. Starzi burned through Valley’s last line of defense and flipped a puck past Sims for the 2-1 lead at 17:56.

On a Knights carryover penalty, the Jr. Warriors came back with an equalizer just 35 seconds into the third. Chris Lemay tipped an offering from Jimmy Pelton, set up by Dominic Norris, past Stahel to even the contest at two.

The Knights came back at 1:12 when off a face off, Jake Fuss flipped the win off the draw to the back door for a waiting Denys Arkhypenko for the score. The 3-2 lead did not last, as at 8:53, Cooper Fowler tipped home a loose puck through a scrum in the crease to tie the game at 3 (Haytham Oeid, Tim Kalinowski).

Valley kept up the attack adding two more goals at 10:19 and 17:03 to take a two-goal lead. The first of the pair saw Charlie Davis deke his way into a 2-on-1 rush before sliding a puck perfectly to Brandon Crowther for the tap-in tally. The second score came off the efforts of Dominic Norris, who planted himself in front of the net before tipping home a Steve Tettoni shot. The secondary assist went to Davis.

Facing a 5-3 deficit, Jake Fuss responded, dragging a puck through the slot off the helpers from Starzi and Rhett Padgett to pull the Knights within one at 18:40. With the puck floating at the top of the Jr. Warriors zone toward neutral ice, a miscommunication resulted in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton taking a too-many-men penalty while they tried to swap Stahel for an extra attacker. The infraction led to a penalty kill with under a minute to go and nullified what could have been a man-advantage with an empty net.

Time ran out on the Knights comeback efforts, despite a few close misses even after the penalty. The loss snaps a three-game winning streak, but the Knights will have a chance to bounce back when they play host to the New Hampshire Avalanche tomorrow at 2:45 PM EST. The game will be broadcast on hockeytv.com. Follow @WBSKnightsEHL and visit easternhockeyleague.org for in-game updates!