Against the 9-0 Philadelphia Revolution, the Knights knew they’d have a tough test to open their weekend on Saturday afternoon. Head coach Josh Fusco said as much during the week, emphasizing the need to outwork their Mid-Atlantic division foes.
The Knights took those words to heart after an intense week of practice, which translated into a heavy attack from their forecheck in the game’s opening minutes. After pushing pucks deep and forcing several icings, it appeared Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was in position to dictate tempo in the first period. Instead, a penalty at 3:11 slowed their offensive momentum.
Jared Stahel anchored the Knights defensive efforts from the crease and was elemental in keeping the Revolution off the board for the entirety of the game’s first power play. Following their return to full-strength, the Knights continued to press, but with their legs under them, the Revolution responded in kind. The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton penalty kill would be tested twice more before period’s end, and would pass on both occasions, again buoyed by the efforts of Stahel.
The Knights would finally break the scoreless tie at 18:10 when Jake Fuss notched goal number nine on the season, after walking down from the corner and working his way around Revolution Goalie Travis Pelke. An assist was credited to Anthony Starzi.
The Knights went to the dressing room with a 1-0 lead and came out swinging in the second period, a frame that’s been a quagmire for them so far in the young season. Josh Edwards did his part to reverse that trend as he sped up ice to create a 2-on-1 rush. His shot off the pads of Pelke rebounded perfectly to the crashing Zach Ouladelhadjahmed who went backhand, top shelf to pick up his third goal of the season and create the 2-0 lead at 3:07.
Through the next 17 minutes, the Knights began a parade to the penalty box, committing four penalties in the middle period. They stopped the first three of the resulting power plays, going 5-for-5 to open the contest on the kill. It was on the sixth try that Bryce Witman found space above the left circle and ripped a rocket past Stahel to cut the deficit to 2-1. Just a few shifts later, Witman struck again as he forced a turnover under the Knights blue line and marched a goal past Stahel with a few nifty move to draw the game even at two.
Capitalizing on the offensive outburst, the Revolution came out flying in the third period. At 2:04, Martin Kapoian took a rebound from Justin Meers and Christian Dahl and buried it past Stahel to give the Rebels their first lead. Travis Pelke continued to thwart the Knights best efforts for the next ten minutes. Frustration built and the Knights took a bench penalty at 11:54. Just seven seconds later, Christian Dahl fired a power play laser from the point to jump ahead 4-2 (Jackson Koblick, Austin Morgan). Austin Mininger sealed the deal at 15:41 when his even strength goal, off assists from Tim Cordero and Jerry Scatena, created a 5-2 score.
With the game out of reach, the Knights skated hard to the end of regulation but did not pull Stahel for the extra skater. With the loss the Knights fall to 3-6 on the year, while the Revolution move to 10-0. The two teams will meet again tomorrow afternoon at 2:00 pm EDT. The game will be broadcast on hockeytv.com and live updates will be posted on twitter at @WBSKnightsEHL.