Photo: Jessica Kovalcin
On Sunday, the Knights traveled to Haverhill Valley Forum for the second EHL Showcase Series of the season. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton went in search of a win to snap a two-game losing streak. Their two-game showcase began with a showdown with the Total Athletics Seahawks out of the EHL’s Boston Division.
In the two-half, showcase format, the first started out with each team trading chances and zones without much sustained offensive zone time. Knights goalie Thomas Walker and Seahawks starter Brandon Collett didn’t make it easy on shooters, as each stayed steady between the pipes. On the Seahawks first penalty of the day, the Knights set up a great shift in which Denys Arkhypenko cycled to Jake Fuss who turned the puck to an open Rhett Padgett. Padgett buried the puck past Collett to give his team a 1-0 lead off his third tally of the season.
Seattle would answer with steady pressure, most evident at the 22:35 mark of the period when they forced an odd-man rush that turned into a breakaway. In their efforts to get back, the Knights tripped up the puck carrier, resulting in a penalty shot. Ariel Kapulkin took the opportunity and capitalized with a nice goal through the pads of Walker to even the score. A late penalty against the Knights slowed their efforts to regain the lead before the teams went to the dressing rooms.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton finished off the penalty to start the second half, but the Seahawks were aggressive on the attack. They continued to put pressure on Walker, and keep the Knights opportunities limited primarily to coming off the rush.
At 7:40 into the frame, the Knights took a double minor for high-sticking. They killed off 3:54 of the penalty but with six seconds remaining, Austin Roy ripped a shot through to take a 2-1 lead. The assists went to John Banovetz and Korey Muzzy.
The Knights would continue to pressure off the rush, but the Seahawks would still slightly carry play. Both netminders fended off a good number of quality chances to keep the score 2-1 to the game’s final 64 seconds.
With 1:04 left and an offensive zone draw upcoming, the Knights pulled Walker and called a timeout. Though they kept the puck mostly in the attacking zone, survived one chance on the empty net, and generated quality shots from the middle of the ice, the Knights could not solve Collett. Time ran out on the comeback effort, dropping the Knights to 7-12-0 on the year.
Thomas Walker stopped 35 of 37 shots in the loss and the Knights power play was 1-1. They’ll look to build on those positive developments as they take on Walpole Express tomorrow morning at 11:05 am EST. The game will be broadcast on hockeytv.com. Follow the Knights on twitter at @WBSKnightsEHL and visit www.easternhockeyleague.org for updates!