NAHL: Knights Fight Back in Round Two Bout with Generals

The Knights took the ice Saturday with a mission to snap a three-game skid and earn two points against the division-leading Northeast Generals. Following a game in which the pair combined for 10 goals, the Knights and Generals both started slowly on Saturday. Northeast shook off early rust to generate momentum on the power play as their fast forecheck drew two first period penalties.

Following a successful kill of the first, Mike Gelatt quite literally stole that momentum back for the Knights on the second. The forward plucked a puck from the point in his own zone before racing it back the other way. As he made his way around the last of the Generals back check, Gelatt pushed the shorthanded goal through Generals goalie David Fessenden for the 1-0 lead at 10:51.

The rest of the period would conclude without another score, as the battle of David Fessenden and David Tomeo would see both Davids trade a high volume of saves. Despite the lack of another goal, the Knights concluded the frame’s final five minutes on the offensive, after spending a good portion of the first on the penalty kill and chasing even strength.

The middle period opened with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton continuing to pressure in Generals territory. Just 4:44 in, following a strong shift, Justin Engelkes wrapped a puck along the end boards before teeing it up from deep in the corner to a waiting Curtis Carlson in the slot. The latter ripped the puck home to create a 2-0 lead.

The Generals refused to let the game get away. At 6:43, off a slick set up from Colin McCabe, Mike Egan beat Tomeo for Northeast’s first goal. The scoreĀ  went to the Generals legs, as they took control of the game’s pace for the majority of the next 13 and a half minutes. Matt Demelis came back at 12:12 with his second tally of the season, set up by Justin Jallen and Joseph Mancuso to tie the game. Louis Boudon kept his impressive season and weekend going at 17:57, when he walked a puck into the top of the slot, picked a spot, and fired a dart past Tomeo (Ryan Rowland). The Generals first lead of the game held through the end of the period.

With the Knights behind to start the third, things began slowly as they committed repeated icings through the first few shifts following strong Northeast pressure. Looking for a turning point, the Knights were boosted by a familiar name. Curtis Carlson has game-changing speed, and on this night his skills were on full display, as off a face off win in his own zone, he shot up ice alongside Matt Kidney. The latter found the streaking Carlson open on the back post, where he buried the puck at 3:34 for his second goal of the game.

Like flipping on the light switch, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton offense clicked on. Following the equalizer, Josh Fricks and Jack Olmstead found themselves on an odd-man rush. As they broke through the back check, Fricks carried the puck and as Fessenden faced down the two Knights forwards, Fricks flipped a puck over the 6-6 goaltender’s shoulder to give his team the lead on his first NAHL goal (Danchenko, Olmstead).

Fighting on, the Generals began to mount pressure late, but quickly found themselves running out of time. With the Knights successfully negating rushes at even strength, Northeast pulled Fesseden with under a minute and a half to play. After narrowly missing the open net once, Reed Robinson pushed a puck down the sheet again, finding the vacant twine at 19:13. Matt Kidney was credited with the secondary helper.

Despite taking a penalty with just under 10 seconds left, the Knights lead held firm, as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton skated to a 5-3 victory. After a rough night on Friday, the Knights penalty kill bounced back in a big way, as the team killed all five penalties it faced and added a shorthanded goal, their second in as many games. With the win, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton maintains a solid grip on third place in the East Division with a record of 6-3-1.

The Knights and Generals will wrap up their weekend series, Sunday at 2:00 pm. The game will be broadcast on hockeytv.com. Follow the Knights social media and www.nahl.com for updates.