The Knights opened a three-game series with the East-leading Northeast Generals on Friday. The Knights were 1-1-1 entering play against Northeast, and have recorded a point or better since the teams’ second meeting of the year.
In round four of twelve of the regular season, the opening period was dominated by defense. Goaltenders Christian Stoever and David Fessenden matched each other with 8 saves, while neither forecheck was allowed much sustained zone time.
The middle 20 saw both sides kick their attacks into high gear. The Knights struck first, just 0:36 into the period, when Reed Robinson tipped a Mike Morrissey feed past Fessenden. A few minutes later, nearing the end of a penalty, Curtis Carlson swept a puck up the right wing while the Generals were stuck in a change. Carlson fed Mike Gelatt on a shorthanded 2-on-1, where the latter was able to finish off the chance with the Knights second goal.
The Generals kicked off their response when Mike Egan shot through a pair of Knights on the backcheck, appearing to begin a breakaway. The Knights were able to catch Egan, but in the process of doing so, the puck was dropped back for an open Matt Wiesner. Wiesner buried it to cut the Knights lead to one. Fresh off the IR, Matt Rutigliano buried his first goal of the season to tie the game at two, set up through the slot by Joseph Mancuso off the half-wall.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton responded. Mike Morrissey sent the puck up the right wing to the streaking Adrian Danchenko. Danchenko gained the Northeast line and then put on a dangle clinic, going outside, inside, and outside his man, before finding the crashing Reed Robinson at the net for his second goal of the game. Not finished, Danchenko, set up by a Mike Morrissey tip pass at center, ripped a snipe past Fessenden to put the Knights up 4-2.
Late in frame, Joseph Nagle fired a perfect home run pass from deep in his own zone to Mike Egan, streaking over the Knights line. Egan shoveled it to the front of Stoever’s net. Crashing hard in perfect step with the lofted puck was Matthew Rutigliano, who re-directed it past Stoever for his second goal of the evening. The tally narrowed the score to 4-3.
The third period saw a return to the first’s pace of play. Both teams traded zones and mounted a few decent chances, but both Stoever and Fessenden maintained their discipline in net. Down one with under three minutes left, the Generals pulled their goalie for the extra attacker. The Knights were able to withstand a fair amount of zone time before Mike Morrissey turned the puck up ice to Jack Olmstead. Olmstead skated it down to the mouth of the vacant crease before tipping home the game-sealing score.
With the win, the Knights improved to 10-3-3 on the season and have recorded a point or better in seven-straight games. They maintain their third place standing in the East division and now trail the second-place Philadelphia Rebels by just one point. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will take on Northeast again at the New England Sports Village Saturday afternoon at 5:30 pm EDT. The game will be broadcast on www.hockeytv.com, follow Knights social media for live updates.