Knights Within a Point of Playoffs With Nine Games Left
Jake Fuss scored an unassisted goal 3:06 into overtime to help the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights beat the New Jersey Titans, 2-1 Tuesday night. The win ends the 12 game season series with New Jersey at an even 6-6 mark.
Wilkes-Barre earned their 21st win of the season. With nine games left in the regular season, they trail the fourth place Northeast Generals by one point. Both clubs have nine to play, including three against one another later in the month.
Despite taking three penalties in the first period, including two at the same time to give a five-on-three to New Jersey, it would be the Knights who would capitalize off special teams in the opening frame. With Anthony Mastromonica sent to the box for slashing, the Knights went on the kill. Defenseman Evan Orr cashed in with a shorthanded goal for the rookie’s fifth tally this season.
After a blocked shot in the defensive zone, Jake Fuss sprinted ahead on a breakaway. With Orr trailing, the eventual overtime hero would drop it off for Orr to wrist one through Titans goalie Brandon Perrone to get the 1-0 lead.
New Jersey was later awarded the two man advantage in the first, but failed to capitalize. They were also outshot in the opening period, 11-10. Overall, the Titans did outshoot the Knights, 38-31, but Zach Stejskal remained a force in goal by making 37 stops for his 20th win of the year. Stejskal is now tied with Grant Valentine for most wins in NAHL Knights history. Valentine won 20 for the club in the 2016-17 campaign.
The Titans would find their resolve in the second period when they too would benefit from a defenseman scoring. Danny Dimon notched his first NAHL goal from atop the blue line with a slap shot that got through Stejskal at the 7:37 mark of the middle frame. The second period featured the most potential for New Jersey, as they fired 18 shots on the Wilkes-Barre goal. The Titans would receive a late period power play to carry over to the third period, but failed to generate.
With no additional scoring in the third, this contest headed to overtime. In the three-on-three, a simple faceoff would make the difference. With less than two minutes until a shootout would be needed, Jake Fuss stepped into the dot for an offensive zone draw. Originally slotted to go against Ryan Naumovski, the officials deemed a faceoff violation would be charged to New Jersey, forcing Jake LaRusso to take the draw. Fuss won it ahead of LaRusso and quickly parked in front of the net where he stuffed home the game winner on the right side of the cage. Fuss was credited for his 10th goal of the season and first overtime winner.
The Knights return home for practice, but then head north for the conclusion of their season-long eight game road trip Friday when they begin a pair of games with the Jamestown Rebels.