Hatten Scores in Return, Knights Win Second Straight

Lincoln Hatten scored one of six Knights goals in a 6-3 win over the Maryland Black Bears on the road Friday night.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton also got contributions from Zak Currie with a pair of goals, along with Jacob Badal having a three point game, and Tyrone Bronte ending his scoring drought with a goal in the third period.

The Knights end November with back-to-back wins for the first time since October 11-12. The team skates into December with an
8-15-1 record.

Both teams felt the playoff intensity early Friday night in what was the first ever visit from Wilkes-Barre to Piney Orchard Ice Arena in Maryland. The North American Hockey League’s newest franchise sat just four points ahead of the Knights for the fourth and final playoff spot that will be available for the East Division.

Looking to distance themselves further, Maryland struck inside the two minute mark of the first with a shot by Matteo Menotti that went by Knights goalie Zach Stejskal. Just two minutes later, Zak Currie was fed in front by Tyrone Bronte for the tying goal. After scoring his first NAHL goal last week, Currie has now scored in three consecutive games.

A power play would help the Knights get their first lead of the game, as Luke Robinson’s point shot was bounced around in front of the crease. Sacha Guillemain got a piece of it just before the returning Lincoln Hatten was able to stuff it home for his first of the season.

Hatten, a second year Knight, returned to the team after a shoulder injury kept him out the previous 19 games. Guillemain’s assist on the goal gives him three straight games with a helper.

Maryland would tie the game at two before the opening period expired, but the Knights would retaliate quick in the second. After a mad scrum ensued in front of Maryland goalie Kevin Lake, the puck popped out to Blake Kryska in the deep slot. Kryska fired toward the net with the puck re-directing its’ way in off Badal’s stick, giving the rookie his eighth of the season for a 3-2 lead.

Just 10 seconds later, Luke Mountain rushed up the wing for an initial shot that went wide and up the left point in the attacking end for Maryland. Mountain got himself in front of Stejskal and was able to tip-in the point shot, evening the score yet again.

Each club exchanged chances in the middle period, with goaltenders Lake and Stejskal standing tall. The Black Bears peppered Stejskal with 16 shots, while Wilkes-Barre didn’t make it easy for Lake, putting 13 on him. It wasn’t until late in the period that the Knights could take the upper hand again.

With 1:44 left in the second, defenseman Joey Verkerke stepped above the left circle to fire a wrist shot past the glove of Lake, giving the grey and blue a lead once more. Currie then followed with another heart-sinking goal against Maryland, scoring just 32 seconds later to give him his second of the night.

In the third, Maryland controlled the pace for the first half of the period, but an ill-advised penalty by Mountain on a hit to Wilkes-Barre’s Kryska served as the final blow.

On the power play, Evan Orr’s shot hit off the pads of Lake, leaving a rebound on the left side of the net for Tyrone Bronte to pot home, ending a nine game goal drought for the Bemidji State commitment.

In net, Stejskal finished with 33 saves. The Knights went two-for-seven on the power play, while killing off all four of their penalties. Currie, Bronte, Badal, and Jeffrey Bertrand (two assists) all had multi-point nights for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

December kicks off Saturday with a rematch between the teams. A regulation win for the Knights would put them in a tie with Maryland for fourth place in their division.