On Friday, the Knights hosted the Philadelphia Revolution for the pair’s final meeting of the 2017-18 regular season. Both teams entered play looking to leap a spot upward in the South Conference playoff standings. It would be Philadelphia that would hit the ground running in their third-to-last game of the season.
Just 3:30 into the opening frame, Jake Faulkner fired a point shot through traffic to beat Thomas Walker for the game’s first goal (Martin Kapoian). A second Philly tally would appear to be scored several minutes later, only to be disallowed when the play was blown dead for a Revolution penalty as the puck was shot on net.
The Knights would take advantage of the call to push back against Philadelphia, but despite speed through all zones, they struggled to solve Peter Ciccarelli. The 6’5″ goaltender stood down the Knights early offerings to keep Wilkes-Barre/Scranton off the board in the opening 20 minutes.
Just after the expiration of a penalty late in the first, Philadelphia found their second goal of the afternoon off Hayden Ford’s feed to Justin Meers, who fired a winding puck past Walker for the 2-0 lead.
30 seconds later Ford initiated a successful breakout which Jake Faulkner and Kyle Bradley turned into a fast break to the net. Faulkner slid the puck past the last line of the Knights backcheck to an open Bradley in the low slot, who promptly slammed the puck home for the Revolution’s third goal.
After their even play gave way late in the first, the Knights entered the second with jump in their effort to mount a comeback. Penalties would slow progress as calls piled on top of one another to create multiple power play, 4-on-4, and even 4-on-3 opportunities for each side.
After he was tripped on a breakaway during one stretch of 4-on-4 play, Philadelphia’s Bryce Witman floated a knuckling puck over the shoulder of Walker on the ensuing power play (Brian Lange) to put the Revolution up 4-0.
The Knights would finally crack the scoreboard on a power play of their own just minutes later, when Emerson Emery’s point shot was re-directed to the twine by Nate Chuckran. William Case would record the secondary assist on the score.
The momentum swing would be brief. On the ensuing shift, Tommy Donnelly fired his first goal of his Revolution career through a blocked shot and a screen for the 5-1 lead.
A quick Austin Morgan tally in the opening six minutes of third, combined with Ciccarelli’s stellar play in the crease gave Philadelphia a comfortable cushion through the remainder of the contest. The Knights pushed hard in the final frame, mounting 21 shots and several strong looks on net, but were undone by the Revolution’s steady defense.
Entering play four points behind a possible home-ice advantage through round one of the playoffs, the Knights loss with just one game to play locks them into the fifth seed of the South Conference. They will host the Philadelphia Junior Flyers today at 2:30 pm EST, before preparing for the playoffs and their round one meeting with the New York Applecore.
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