Knights Fall in Alaska Road Trip Opener

Cayden Cahill’s Hat Trick Paves Way for Ice Dogs

Following a week of inclement weather and dynamic travel plans, the Knights were eager to get their Alaska road trip started on a high note. That high note will have to come in their second game against the Fairbanks Ice Dogs tonight at the Big Dipper Ice Arena.

Things started ugly and stayed ugly. In a portent of things to come, Cayden Cahill buried the game’s first goal just 2:12 into the contest on helpers from Hunter Wendt and Robert Blueger. Ryan Kero followed that up just under two and a half minutes later with the Ice Dogs second goal (Samuel Ruffin, Benton Maas).

The Knights only immediate response was a march to the penalty box. Nine seconds after their second such offense, the Ice Dogs entered their third goal of the period off the blade of Grayson Gavin from Eriksson and Aaron McPheters. The Ice Dogs would hold their advantage for the remaining 7:15 of the first, taking a 3-0 lead into the dressing room.

The defending Robertson Cup champions weren’t done adding to their lead and Cayden Cahill wasn’t done adding to his stat sheet. After a scoreless 10:52 to open the second, the 96 birth year would break the silence with a power play tally off assists from Ruffin and Blueger. Cahill would finish off the hat trick at 15:05 (Blueger, Wendt). Ice Dogs netminder Erik Gordon would hold the Knights at bay through their first two power plays sending Fairbanks to the second intermission with a 5-0 lead.

If any glimmer of hope for a comeback existed, the Ice Dogs extinguished it in the third period’s first minute. Set up by Daniel Haider and Grayson Gavin, Hampus Eriksson scored Fairbanks’ 6th goal just 49 seconds into the frame. Discounting a fight between that ended the Knights of both the Ice Dogs Luke Orysiuk and the Knights Jim Elser, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton would only outpace the Ice Dogs on the penalty scoreboard in the third. On their second infraction of the period and Fairbanks’ 6th power play of the game, Benton Maass made them pay (Eriksson, Gavin), notching the game’s final goal of the game at 13:58.

Making his sixth-straight start, Grant Valentine would stick around until 15:57 of the third period before new emergency goaltender Austin Ryman was called on in relief to close out the final 4:03 of the game. Ice Dogs netminder Erik Gordon would cruise to his 2nd shutout and 19th victory of the year (now 19-3-0-3), stopping all 21 shots he faced.

The loss snaps a Knights three game losing streak they carried with them after a clean sweep of last weekend. In pursuit of a bounce back tonight, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will have to do a better job of competing in the special team’s department. Fairbanks scored on three of their seven tries on the man advantage while the Knights were held scoreless in their three attempts.

Limiting the likes of Cayden Cahill (three goals), Grayson Gavin (one goal, two assists) and Hampus Eriksson (one goal and two assists) would be a good first step in splitting the weekend with Fairbanks. The two opponents will square off again at 7:30 PM Alaska Standard Time/11:30 pm Eastern Standard