It didn’t take long for Aston to set the tone of game two of the weekend. Three Rebels stuffed a puck at the Knight’s blue line, where Evgeny Yakovlev plucked up the loose rubber and moved straight to the net. With a flick of the wrist, the 6-3 210 Yakovlev pushed a puck through the five-hole of Grant Valentine to give Aston a 1-0 lead. All of this occurred in the first 32 seconds of the contest.
Things didn’t get any better for the Knights, who entered the contest having been shut out the night before and having lost their previous five matchups with the Rebels. Most of those meetings were highly-contested and evenly-played for the majority of 60 minutes. This would not be the case on this evening.
Aston followed up Yakovlev’s goal with two more in the first. A hustle play by Adam Peck saw the puck flipped out from behind the net of Grant Valentine to the waiting Drew Blackmun who poked it home for the goal. The third score came on a Aaron Maguyon’s putback of a rebound to close out an Aston-controlled first period.
The second began with Colt Hanks placed in net in relief of Valentine. The Rebels would respond with an even quicker score than the one that began the first. Gianluca Esteves would finish the “line hat trick” on assists from Evgeny Yakovlev and Aaron Maguyon just 28 seconds into the period.
Peter Zhong followed that up with his third goal of the season less than five minutes later on a feed from Adam Peck. Brennan Kapcheck would provide another insurance goal on the power play after he swerved his way free into the middle of the slot to fire the goal home.
After a stagnant 40 minutes of play, the Knights would found some ground on which to stand. Their offensive attack sustained zone time and the team was able to mount of few scoring chances on a flurry of Aston Penalties. Still, despite the uptick in energy and opportunities, the away team could not solve Aston netminder Mareks Mitens.
At 12:20 into the third, Drew Blackmun would score his second goal and the game’s final tally on assists from Cherwalk and Solomon to put a cap on the both the game and the Knights progress in the period. The 7-0 Aston win was the second straight game in which the Knights have been shut out.
Issues that reared their head Friday reoccurred Saturday, as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton continued to shorten power plays by committing penalties twice more while on the odd-man advantage.
Sustained offense continued to elude the Knights against the Rebels, which is a credit to Aston’s continued strong defense (despite missing leader Gvido Jansons for both games this weekend) but also an indication of a need for the Knights to drive possession deeper into the offensive zone. They saw glimpses of that in the third, but will need to see more of it more often moving forward.
Looking ahead, the Knights will have the week off, with their next games coming on November 18th and 19th against the Johnstown Tomahawks.