EHL: Knights Drop Game 1 Against Oilers

Photo: Jessica Kovalcin

The context of Friday’s match up between the Knights and Oilers saw two teams battling for playoff position as the EHL season winds closer to its finish. Entering play Saturday, the Knights trailed the New York Applecore for fourth in the South Conference while the Oilers had the opportunity to hop the sixth-place Junior Flyer’s after their loss earlier in the day.

The Knights struck first on the evening when Tyler Nielsen found a puck from Rhett Padgett and ripped it past Oilers goalie Olof Djurberg just three minutes into the first.

The Oilers would respond just past the halfway point of the period with numbers even on a 4-on-4. Val Sverdlov kicked off a big performance when he beat Thomas Walker to even the game at oneĀ (Zach Withington, Ian Wallgren).

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton would counter in the last minute of the period when Cody Rumsey picked up a nifty pass from Tyler Watungwa and flipped it home to give the Knights a 2-1 lead.

The early stages of the second period were dictated by a penalty per side, though neither team could capitalize. Both goalies stopped shorthanded rushes as each penalty-and power play-escaped without allowing a goal.

At 13:53 Sverdlov would even the game once more when his sharp-angle shot navigated its way by Walker off a feed from Ryan Brand. The period wound down with both Walker and Djurberg stoning the opposition and sending the contest to the third with the score gridlocked at two.

In the last stanza, the Oilers finally grabbed their first lead following Peter Capone’s goal at 7:50 (Fabian Zuccarello). The Knights would supply ample pressure in their attempt to tie the game, but Djurberg would prove a wall in net, stopping 15 shots in the third period.

The only glitch in the the Swedish goalie’s performance was disallowed after Bryan Whelan appeared to tie the game not long after Capone’s go-ahead score, only to see it waved off by the officials.

After each team traded an unsuccessful power play in the final 5:35, the Knights pulled Walker for the extra attacker with under a minute to play. Connecticut did well in clogging up neutral ice and in the final seconds, Tyler Lapshanski fired a puck into the open net to seal the 4-2 Oilers win.

The Knights will look to bounce back in a rematch with Connecticut at 12:30 PM EST today. Tune in on hockeytv.com or follow along on twitter @WBSKnightsEHL!