Note: all EHL Showcase games are played with two, 25 minute periods, followed by a five minute overtime if tied, then a shootout.
A 3-2 overtime loss to the New England Wolves helped the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights secure a point in the Eastern Hockey League standings over the weekend at the second EHL Showcase Series of the 2018-19 season.
Additionally, the Knights took a 3-1 loss Monday afternoon at the hands of the Vermont Lumberjacks, making it an 0-1-1 trip to the Showcase in Haverhill, MA.
Sunday afternoon was when things kicked off for the Knights. Their contest against New England featured a 1-0 and 2-1 lead for the gray and blue. Forward Matthew Bielinski got things started, setting himself up for a goal. The winger converted on a pass from the left corner in the zone to Hunter Bersani, who shot on Wolves’ goalie Kristofer Muhr. The net minder made the save, but the high shot forced a rebound to fall on the ice, leaving it for Beilinski to roll his way in front of the cage for his fourth goal of the season.
New England tied the game at one before the second half started. Just 4:35 into the next frame, Osmundas Balciunaitis Got right in front of the net, taking two shots on the goalie. The second effort went in after Balciunaitis caught his own rebound to slam it home.
After tying the game again, New England took the contest on a game winner from Dominiks Marcinkevics in overtime, with the forward beating Knights’ goalie Thomas Walker low in-between the circles.
Play resumed Monday morning where this time the Vermont Lumberjacks served as opposition for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Once again, the Knights would score first, but fall by a 3-1 final.
Liam Oatman tallied the only Knights goal Monday barely over a minute in. Standing at 6’4″, Oatman used size to his advantage by breaking free a puck behind the Vermont net, then wheeling his way back in front of the goal while holding off two defenders to get just enough of a backhand shot past keeper Peter Siolas. Oatman’s fellow big-bodied line mate Bersani chipped in with an assist. Bersani had two points on the weekend, making him the only player to do so for the club.
Vermont’s Glynn Robitaille scored on the power play in the first period to tie the game, before another power play goal in the second by Geordan Buffoline stood as the game winning goal.
The Knights out-shot the Lumberjacks 15-7 in the second half of Monday’s game. Wilkes-Barre starter Anthony Cusano made 16 saves in the loss.
“A lot of guys are on the radar of several schools and that’s the biggest takeaway,” said EHL Head Coach Josh Fusco following Monday’s loss. “Systematically, we had some break downs that shot us in the foot, but when we play consistent and with a high compete level, we’re the best team on the ice and it’s showed in our games.”
At 7-7-2, the Knights hold second place in the North Division of the EHL’s Mid-Atlantic Conference. While they are behind first place New Jersey by double digits, Wilkes-Barre still holds a playoff spot with an eight point lead over teams outside playoff positioning.
The league’s third Showcase Series comes in December, where all 19 organizations will make their way to Newington Arena in Connecticut on the 13th and 14th.
Wilkes-Barre returns home to continue a busy slate of action this week. Up next comes the Philadelphia Revolution in what is a re-scheduled game from last month. The game is at Revolution Ice Centre on Wednesday, November 14th, beginning at 1pm.