EHL: Knights Top Junior Flyers in Shootout

Photo Credit: Eastern Hockey League

Game three of the Knights busy week pitted the team against the Philadelphia Junior Flyers, the last Mid-Atlantic opponent left unchallenged on their schedule. The Knights took the ice Saturday looking to continue their winning ways following their 5-4 triumph over the Little Flyers the afternoon prior.

The game began with a goal of firsts: Chris Petrone worked his behind the defense on a stretch pass from Sam Morris, set up by David Tremblay. Petrone bested Junior Flyers netminder Dakota Delbridge to score his first goal, and record the first EHL assists for Morris and Tremblay.

After carrying play for a good portion of the first,  the Knights stalled in their effort to overcome their first penalty of the game. Gianni Dini put a shot past Knights netminder Thomas Walker on the man-advantage, set up by Dennis Ruppe and Brian Seybold at 12:48.

The Knights would redeem the miscue at 17:19 when Anthony Starzi potted the Knights first power play goal of the evening and the team’s fourth such tally in the prior two games (Rhett Padgett, Nick Peck). Nick Peck’s secondary assist grew his assist streak to three games.

In a middle period anchored by steady play from Delbridge and Walker, Anthony Starzi struck again, this time shorthanded, coming off the helper of Tyler Nielsen to build a seemingly, sizeable 3-1 advantage. At any level of hockey, two-goal leads are far from final.

The Junior Flyers awoke in the third period, cutting their deficit to one at the 6:52 mark when Nicholas Harris fired Philadelphia’s second power play goal of the contest by Walker on apples from Drew Platt and Nate Chuckran.

Chuckran would strike again-a third time for the Junior Flyers power play-in the game’s final 66 seconds (Platt, Dini). The goal came while the Knights were shorthanded and following the Philadelphia’s exchange of their goalie for an extra attacker.

The fireworks were far from finished as a penalty taken by the Junior Flyers with 40 seconds left Delbridge with several quality Wilkes-Barre/Scranton chances to fend off. In the limited time left in regulation, Delbridge efforts forced the Knights to overtime for the second time this season.

Entering extra play, each team had won one prior game that went beyond 60 minutes. The Junior Flyers had won their second game of the EHL Showcase in a shootout over the New Hampshire Avalanche. The Knights bested the New York Bobcats Royals in overtime at the end of September.

In this latest instance, goaltending stole the OT show. The period began with the Knights sending several strong shots at Delbridge, but the ’97 goaltender stood tall and answered each one. Following the expiration of the Knights power play, the Junior Flyers flipped the ice. Following a sprawling save made in one end by Delbridge, Thomas Walker, facing Philadelphia with numbers on the rush, responded with one of his own. Following five minutes of pitched overtime play, each team readied for a shootout.

Each goaltender saw and stopped the top three of the other’s shootout lineup. It was in the fourth round that Tyler Nielsen ripped a shot through Delbridge to give his team the lead. Needing one save to seal a win, Walker stared down and closed the pads on the Junior Flyers final offering, ending the contest. His steady play throughout the evening anchored the Knights to their and his second-straight win.

The teams will meet again today at 2:00 pm to close out the weekend. The game will be broadcast on hockeytv.com. Follow @WBSKnightsEHL and easternhockeyleague.com for live updates!