In their first meeting of the regular season, the Knights and Rebels battled to the familiar tune of a low-scoring affair. In their first action since returning from the NAHL Showcase, the Knights forecheck jumped out to a fast start in the game’s first five minutes. Getting pucks deep and winning battles along the wall propelled the team to a few solid scoring chances.
Rebels goaltender Ryan Keane did his part for Philadelphia’s efforts, stopping the first four shots that came his way. With solid zone defense, Keane and company were able to take away the prime real estate in the middle of the ice and weather the Knights initial surge.
Things took a decided Philadelphia turn after a Knights penalty jumpstarted the Rebels attack 5:40 into play. Knights netminder Christian Stoever started a strong night in net by fending off several tough shots through traffic, spurring his team to a successful penalty kill. He would stop 34 of 36 shots sent his way by the evening’s end.
The Rebels did not relent in their pressure upon the Knights return to full strength. For the better part of the period, they kept the puck hemmed in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton zone, while several icings and another shorthanded stretch kept the Knights on for long shifts.
Stoever didn’t falter and the Knights defense took away the middle of the ice well enough to keep the game scoreless. Offensive momentum built from following a Philadelphia penalty, after which Keane was forced to make a number of quality saves.
A minute after the Rebels were successful in repelling the Knights man-advantage, they took a second penalty in the final two minutes of the first after Mike Gelatt was hooked on a breakaway. Keane and the Rebels kill unit would hold for the remainder of a period that would end without a goal.
To start the second, the abbreviated carryover of Knights power play would be denied and transition into the Rebels flipping the ice. For the first half of the period, Philadelphia held the edge in controlling play, finally notching the game’s first goal on Adam Peck’s power play tally at 8:37 ( Carson Moniz, Auggie Moore).
The score would go straight to the Knights legs as they mounted a furious counter attack back into Philadelphia territory, but again Keane would stand tall. The remaining minutes of the second period would even out as both teams pushed play to both ends of the ice.
With the third period came more of the same. Both sides searched for a tide-turning goal, but continued steady play from both goalies kept the score locked at 1-0 for the first 10:22 of the frame. During 4-on-4 play, Diarmad Dimurro found space above the circles and ripped a snipe, top-shelf past Stoever. Julian Makary would be credited with the assist.
Down 2-0, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton fought back with intensity but the Rebels defense refused to buckle. With just under three minutes remaining, the Knights sent Stoever to the bench for the extra attacker. In the bruising shift that ensued, the Knights bullied their way around the net, before Matt Kidney set Kiryll Ulanov up for a point shot. Ulanov’s shot found the net front, and with Keane stuck at the top of the crease, Curtis Carlson buried the rebound to cut the lead to one at 17:56.
In the final two minutes of play, the Knights pulled their goalie again but were unable to find the twine before the clock hit zero. With the loss the Knights are now 5-2 on the year. They’ll play the Rebels again tomorrow evening in Philadelphia at 7:35 pm. The game will be broadcast on HockeyTV.com and live updates can be found by searching WBS Knights on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, or by visiting NAHL.com’s Game Center.