In their fourth game in five days, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights were searching for the first win since December 2nd. Coming off a heart-breaker the night before, the Knights would have a chance for vengeance against the Johnstown Tomahawks with a Sunday afternoon meeting.
The Tomahawks were winners of six straight entering the contest with three of those victories coming against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The Knights picking up where they left off Saturday, began the game with a physical, energetic start. Aided by two Johnstown penalties, the Knights mounted a flurry of solid chances on goalie Drew Hotte, their nemesis from the night prior. Despite jumping out to an early 8-1 shot advantage, they were again foiled by the netminder’s steady play.
Hotte would eventually be the unlucky recipient of a collision from one of his own teammates coming off of a check from Vince Marino near one of the posts. Hotte would finish the period but not the game, as Vinne Purpura would replace him following the first intermission.
The Knights would see their own bad luck when at 14:55 into the first period, Ed Hirka’s shot would deflect off a body in front and past Grant Valentine for the game’s first goal. The play of Hotte, and a five-minute surge of Johnstown pressure to close the period would secure the Tomahawks lead after one.
Purpura taking the crease in the second would provide no drop off for the Tomahawks cause. The Knights would consistently be denied the middle of the offensive zone by a solid Johnstown defensive effort. A couple of quality chances by the Knights would roll off their sticks and Purpura would continue to play well. The Knights power play, which began things Saturday with a goal on their first chance, would falter against a renewed Johnstown penalty kill, who held the Knights 0-4 on the day. At the end of the second, the score would hold at 1-0.
The third period didn’t see much of a change. The Knights took a double-minor to hurt their comeback chances, and then could not capitalize on the man advantage late in the third. With an extra attacker on the ice for just over the final minute of play, the Knights could not find the equalizer, and dropped their fourth-straight game overall as well as their fourth-straight against the Tomahawks.
The combined shut out for Johnstown was won by starter Drew Hotte for his nine saves on as many shots in 20 minutes of play. Purpura was perfect in the scoresheet, stopping all 20 shots he faced in 40 minutes of relief.
The Knights fall to 12-16-1-1 on the season with 26 points at the halfway mark for the 2016-17 season. Before leaving for the Christmas break, they’ll play Aston on Friday, December 16th at 7:00 pm on the road and then play the Rebels again at home at 7:30 pm on Saturday the 17th.