Entering Wednesday, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights were looking for their second straight win to kick off the start of five games in nine days.
Their opponent, the New Jersey Titans, were themselves fresh off a a win over the division-leading Aston Rebels and in search of the equalizing win in a season series that had favored the Knights 3-2.
Things got started in a positive fashion for the Knights as Khristian Acosta continued his torrid season and tremendous success in his hometown with a one-timer at the 12:21 mark of the first, following a great set up from Dorian Dawson. The goal was Acosta’s seventh of the season and fourth against the Titans in as many meetings with his hometown team.
The Titans did not wait long to respond as just four minutes later Kyle Perkowski took a feed from Nick Boyagian and tipped it by Knights goaltender Colt Hanks. The tally was Perkowski’s fifth goal against the Knights this year in the six games he’s faced them.
New Jersey wasn’t finished. With just seven seconds to go in the first, Titans defenseman and captain William Riedell hopped on an odd-man rush and put slick cross-ice feed from Gordie Helmuth by Hanks to give his team the lead.
The Knights would find revival just under six minutes into the second when Markuss Komuls’ point shot was redirected by Reed Robinson past Brandon Perrone to even the score at two.
The next 10 minutes of play would see the survive two penalties, but following the expiration of the second, Victor Ostling knifed his way between two back-checking Knights, and slid a puck by the right pad of Colt Hanks to give the Titans the 3-2 lead. Shortly following the ensuing faceoff, the Knights would take a penalty and head to the kill. Former Titan Joe Schuler would generate two quality, shorthanded scoring chances-one breakaway, followed up immediately by a takeaway deep in the offensive zone-but be turned away twice by Perrone’s steady play. The Knights would kill the penalty and get one powerplay of their own that would set the table for the third.
Despite the man advantage, the Knights were unable to find an equalizer to begin the final stanza. Play would continue to shift into both ends, before Todd Goehring broke the dam at 9:43 with an even strength goal set up by Riedell and Boyagian, each picking up their second point of the afternoon. 44 seconds later, Victor Ostling notched his second score of the game to extend the Titans lead to 5-2.
Mike Gelatt and Khristian Acosta would attempt to revitalize the Knights with a highlight-reel combination of hands and vision to set up Paul Maust on a goal at 14:52. The score pulled the game back within two, but Todd Goehring would throw cold water on a comeback effort scoring his second goal of the period at 15:08. At the final horn, the Knights found themselves on the wrong end of a 6-3 final.
Brandon Perrone finished with 35 saves on 38 Knights shots to earn the win. His heady play in net, stymied what could have been a much bigger day for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton offensively. This was perhaps most evident in instances the Knights found themselves on the man-advantage. Though the team was unsuccessful in its three power play chances, there was better puck movement and zone time, and certainly no lack of chances on goal.
The Knights will have a quick turnaround as they travel to Aston on Friday, before hosting Johnstown on Saturday at 7:30 pm (Star Wars Night at the Revolution Ice Centre) and Sunday at 12:30 pm (Teddy Bear Toss at the Revolution Ice Centre).