Heading into the EHL’s January Showcase, the Knights were winners of six in a row, looking for number seven against the Boston Jr. Rangers.
From opening puck drop, the game established and maintained an up-tempo pace. The Knights were denied a couple of early chances by Boston netminder Nolan Egbert. Knights starter Jared Stahel matched his counterpart through the opening six minutes, before Zach Norby turned the tide.
Off a deflection off a shot from Damien Gueuger, Norby tipped the game’s first goal to twine at 6:02. Norby came back and notched another off assists from Daniil Ovchinnikov Nick Grinvalds just 27 seconds later.
Boosted by the pair of tallies, the Jr. Rangers picked up their attack through the next several minutes of play. At 15:06, Ovchinnikov entered the goal column to move his team ahead 3-0 (Mitchell Haight, Filip Steussloff).
Undeterred, the Knights battled for the remainder of the first half. Their efforts were rewarded in the final minute of play. Bryan Whelan connected with Tyler Nielsen who turned the puck to Jake Fuss for the Knights first goal.
The late-period strike carried over into the second half where a heavy Knights forecheck forced an early power play. After a solid possession in the offensive zone, a Knights turnover led to a short handed breakaway for Boston. Jared Stahel was able to thwart the chance, but was taken to the boards in a netfront pile up in the process. Stahel was able to leave under his own power but was replaced by goalie Thomas Walker.
Walker’s entrance resulted in zero let up in what was a steady second-half for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s back check. Despite this sound play in their own zone, and a second-half shot total that favored their forecheck 16-7, the Knights were continually thwarted by Egbert and having to play short handed.
Finally, with under 3:00 to play, Jake Fuss notched a power play goal when he found a rebound set up by Bryan Whelan off a secondary helper from Rhett Padgett. Within one, the Knights would mount a handful of quality chances in the final minute, only to have time run out with a 3-2 final.
The team will look to bounce back tomorrow in game two of their showcase with a 2:00 pm EST meeting with the East Coast Wizards. Tune in on HockeyTV.com and follow along on twitter at @wbsknightsehl.