EHL Knights Sweep Apple Core To Advance in Playoffs
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton fought back from a 2-0 deficit to win 5-3 over the New York Apple Core, completing a 2-0 series sweep and advancing to the second round of the EHL playoffs.
The series win can serve as revenge for the Knights, who were bested in the opening round last year against New York.
After a 4-1 win Friday, Wilkes-Barre had the chance to start strong and bury any remaining confidence the Apple Core had coming into game two. Instead, a slow start gave the visitors every which opportunity to capitalize, as the Apple Core jumped out to a 2-0 lead.
After Race Bennett tipped a point shot past Knights goalie Thomas Walker for his first goal, the winger then found a sharp angle drive go in for his second of the night, making it 2-0 less than six minutes in. Two minute later, Johnny Jackson found some luck and was able to knock a bouncing puck over New York’s Arthur Leibowitz to cut the lead in half.
Head Coach Josh Fusco found his group get their skating legs in the latter half of the opening period. This sprung the Knights to pounce in the middle frame. After several quality chances, Chatham University commit, Matt Mood was able to laser a left circle wrist shot past Leibowitz on the power play to tie things up. At the 13:08 mark of period two, the Knights got a lead they would never look back on. Hunter Bersani crashed the net and slammed home Evan Green’s rebound shot to finish the rally from down 2-0.
With the game still just a one goal difference, New York’s Thomas O’Brien ran Bersani into the boards from behind just a minute into the third. The officials came together and concluded that O’Brien’s night was over, giving the forward a major penalty and game misconduct. For the second time, the grey and blue capitalized on a power play with Bersani remaining in the game and notching his second goal of the night. Cody Rumsey would later make it 5-2 before the Apple Core were given their first power play of the game late in the contest and in an empty net situation, cashed in with Race Bennett completing the hat trick, making it 5-3.
The Apple Core would pull Leibowitz again at even strength to go six-on-five for the last two minutes of the game, but Thomas Walker and the stout defense of the Knights helped shut the door and close out the series to earn their spot in the second round.
The second round opponent will be the New Jersey 87’s, who won the division and earned a bye through the opening round. Schedules with dates and locations will be announced in the coming days. All games are available to watch live on HockeyTV.