Kidney, Maust, Marino pace Knights to close out regular season on a high note
After much deliberation the rescheduled match up between the Knights and Titans took place Monday afternoon at the Toyota SportsPlex in Wilkes-Barre/PA.
In their final regular season game of the year, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goal scorer’s didn’t take long to get started. Just 1:38 into the first period Matt Kidney ripped a puck past Ryan Ferland for the game’s opening tally, Kidney’s 18th of the season. The Titans answered just past the eight minute mark when Gordie Helmuth hammered a Tiernan Seningen-generated rebound beyond the reach of Liam Murray to even the score.
The second period kicked off with a Knights swarming in the offensive zone. At 1:48 Matt Kidney tallied his second goal of the game on the power play. Paul Maust followed that up 14 seconds later with goal number 15 on a missile of a wrist shot. Reed Robinson came back on Maust’s set up less than a minute later to build a 4-1 lead.
After sustaining a blistering pace for the first 15 minutes, the Knights appeared to hit a wall with just over five minutes to play in the second. Tiernan Seningen scored at 14:55 to cut the Knights lead back to two. The end of the period continued to see the Titans test goalie Liam Murray and force Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to chase in their own end. A Wilkes-Barre penalty in the final minute of the stanza gave the Titans a carry over opportunity on the man advantage into the third.
Renewed coming out of the second intermission, the Knights killed the remainder of the penalty and returned to the attack. At 2:37, Jim Elser found Adrian Danchenko behind the defense, where Danchenko bested Ferland on a breakaway to build a 5-2 lead.
Matthew Headland would give the Titans life at 6:23 when Tyler Antonucci and Kyle Jeffers found him in front of Murray to bring New Jersey within striking distance of a comeback.
Vince Marino put any chance of a rally to bed. His first goal of the day came at 9:02 on assists from Paul Maust feeding Markuss Komuls at the top of the zone who then put a shot on goal that allowed Marino to pounce on the juicy rebound.
He’d strike again at 11:04 when Paul Maust sent him a perfect cross-slot feed on the power play. Matt Kidney capped the regular season with his twentieth goal of the year and his second hat trick of the season at 17:50 to put the icing on an 8-3 cake.
The victory gave Liam Murray his second win in as many starts in the NAHL, stopping 21 of 24 shots, just as he did in his debut to start the Knights win-streak last Tuesday.
Standouts included Kidney’s hat trick, Maust’s four point day (1 goal and three assists), Vince Marino’s two goals and an assist, Reed Robinson’s one goal and two assists and Mike Gelatt’s trio of helpers. Kidney’s efforts since April 4th against Northeast-five goals and two assists in three games-earned the distinction of NAHL East Division star of the week. Reed Robinson’s one goal and four assists in that same span earned him honorable mention.
With their third-straight win, the Knights finished the 2016-17 season with a 30-25-1-4 record, an upswing from last year’s 22-8-10 record finish. Like last year, they’ve made the Robertson Cup Playoffs as the East Division’s 4th seed and will again fast top-seeded Aston in round one. Last year the Rebels won the series in a three-game sweep. The Knights will get their chance at revenge starting Friday night in Aston with puck drop for game one set at 7:00 pm at the Aston Ice Works Skating Complex.