Despite valiant effort in net, Knights can’t overcome Mudbugs
Day two of the NAHL Showcase saw the Knights square off with the Shreveport Mudbugs, one of two team’s younger than the Knights in the North American Hockey League.
Fresh off a 3-1 victory over the Minot Minotauros, the Mudbugs carried an up-tempo energy into the first period of their second day in Blaine.
Early pressure from Shreveport tested the resolve of Knights goalie David Tomeo, who fended off 13 shots in the first period. In his second start, the West Caldwell, New Jersey native stood on his head early and often.
The Knights were denied on an early power play opportunity in the first, but returned the favor late in the period. Neither team was able to generate a goal in the first 20 minutes, as Mudbugs goalie Gustavs Grigals matched Tomeo in a duel of sharp saves.
The second period saw the Knights establish more of an offensive zone presence as the team drew an early penalty, but they were unsuccessful on the ensuing advantage. The Knights appeared to score at 7:51 through a pile of bodies in front of Grigals, but the officials deemed that the net had come off its moorings. They also ruled that this had been done purposely by Shreveport, resulting in a penalty shot.
Jack Olmstead took the puck down the ice and beat Grigals for the game’s first goal and the 1-0 Knights lead. With the tally, Olmstead extends his scoring streak to three games.
Spurred on by the score, the Knights continued to pressure Shreveport in their own zone, but were continually turned away by Grigals. Off the back of their goaltending and steady defense, the Mudbugs forced a two-on-one break in which Jack Jaunich slid Jordan Fader a perfect pass to beat Tomeo to draw the score even at one at 14:57.
On a power play opportunity four minutes later, Cameron Cook and Brendan Gysbers’ found Cole Quisenberry, who willed a sharp-angle shot past Tomeo for the 2-1 Shreveport lead.
The third period saw both teams gridlocked in a back-and-forth transition game, but the Mudbugs were able to generate better chances off Knights mistakes. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton successfully killed an early checking from behind infraction and a mid-period five-on-three, but struggled to sustain possessions in the offensive zone. Their best chances came off the rush, but Grigals was able to answer every challenge sent his way.
Unable to find the tying-goal on a power play in the game’s final five minutes, the Knights pulled Tomeo for the extra attacker with less than two minutes to play. The team generated several solid chances and forced multiple Shreveport icings, but the Mudbugs held on to grind out their third victory of the season.
The Knights will return to the ice tomorrow against the Minnesota Wilderness at 2:15 pm EST. The game will be broadcast on hockeytv.com. Follow @WBSKnights on Twitter for live in-game updates!