Wins come in all shapes and sizes. In their second meeting of the weekend the Knights and Generals were both in search of more consistent offensive production. Games one and two of the Knights weekend resulted in six combined goals scored. Game three, would see 10.
Things got off to a slow start. David Tomeo, the first pick of the NAHL’s most recent entry draft, replaced Northeast’s injured netminder David Fessenden for the Generals. The affiliate goalie kept the Knights at bay for a good portion of the first period, stopping 17 shots. The first to make it through came off the stick of Dorian Dawson when the defenseman banked a puck off traffic in front of the net (Maust, Antonitsch).
After being shutout the prior afternoon, the Generals wasted little time finding an equalizer. Captain Colin Bilek parked himself in front of the net and deflected a Kohei Sato point shot, set up by Joe Vingi, past Grant Valentine. Despite a trade of shots to end the first period, the score remained tied one to one.
The Generals would build momentum in the first two minutes of the second period. With a puck buried on the end boards behind Valentine, the Generals were able to play take away and center the puck to a waiting Hunter Canestra. Canestra beat Valentine to the post to give the Generals their first lead (Anosau, Parker).
The lead would hold until the nine minute mark of the second period. Mike Gelatt would reverse a General’s outlet pass to Markuss Komuls who found a streaking Mike Morrissey to put the puck bar down to tie the game at 2. From there, the floodgates would open for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s offense. At the 12:00 mark, Markus Komuls would notch his sixth tally of the season from Sam Antonitsch and Joe Schuler.
52 seconds later Komuls and Jim Elser would set up a streaking Curtis Carlson who blew right by the Generals back check to flip a puck off the back of Tomeo and over the goal line.
Despite the 4-2 lead, the game was far from settled. Kohei Sato (from Mike Egan) kicked off the third period by sniping a puck over the shoulder of Valentine just 18 seconds in. The Generals would go to the power play just 10 seconds later but fail to find an equalizer in the two minutes that followed. The rally for Northeast would take a hit at 6:41 when they were assessed a too many men penalty and then again when Brian Glover was given a double minor for roughing.
The Generals would survive both penalties thanks in large part to a strong flurry of saves by David Tomeo. The Knights did not relent offensively and finally at 13:06 Reed Robinson redirected a Paul Maust shot received from Markuss Komuls to build the Knights lead back to two.
Following a Northeast slashing penalty, Dorian Dawson tallied his second goal of the game on feeds from Morrissey and Mike Gelatt at 17:14. With Tomeo pulled, the Knights would get one more 43 seconds later off a long shot from Komuls (Danchenko, Marino).
When the dust had settled, the Knights emerged with two more points and their third-straight win. Special teams continue to pace Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of late. The penalty kill went a perfect 12-for-12 over the weekend’s three contests, while the power play has now scored in three straight games.
Markus Komuls’ five-point performance on Sunday included two goals, bringing the rookie’s total to 7 on the season, tying him for 11th place among all the league’s defensmen. Dorian Dawson’s two goals Sunday place him in a tie for 7th on that same list.
Grant Valentine’s third-straight win gives him 18 on the season, good tying him for 6th in the NAHL. His weekend performances are highlighted by a shootout victory, a shut out, a 1.64 GAA and a .943 save percentage.
The Knights will be back in action Friday, March 17th against Fairbanks following the team’s road trip to Alaska. Both games Friday and Saturday will be played at 7:30 pm Alaska Time/11:30 pm Eastern Standard Time.