NAHL: Late Rally Comes Up Short Against Tomahawks

In their return to home ice, the Knights played host to the Johnstown Tomahawks and the Boy Scouts of  Northeastern PA on the organization’s annual Scout Night. In front of a packed house, the Knights and Tomahawks put forth another gritty edition of East Division, NAHL hockey.

The Knights opened the first period by dictating the early pace. Near the 5:00 mark, Mike Morrissey fired a puck at the net of Tomahawks starter Kade Phipps. The puck found its way through for what appeared to be the game’s first goal. After an officials’ conference, the net was ruled to have come off prior to the puck crossing the goal line.

Undeterred, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton continued to supply a steady dose of chances through the first 15 minutes of play. Phipps remained up to the task as the ’98 netminder turned away all 15 shots he faced in the opening frame.

At 13:01, the Knights drew the game’s first power play. They began the advantage with good zone time in the attacking end, but fortunes turned quickly, after a blocked point shot turned into an odd-man rush for Johnstown.

Joe Kile slid a cross-ice feed, past the crease of Knights starter David Tomeo and onto Pavel Kharin, who put home a shorthanded goal at 14:24. Not content with a 1-0 lead, just over a minute later, Andy Nedeljkovic and Roman Kraemer buzzed around the Knights net, before Kraemer pushed a loose puck home to build a the Tomahawks a two-goal lead.

The middle 20:00 saw no let up in Phipp’s play in net. Along with his reflexes that robbed both Matt Kidney and Curtis Carlson of grade-A looks, Phipps was bolstered by a Tomahawks defense that blocked shots and kept the netfront clear throughout the night. Tomeo and the Knights responded in kind, limiting high quality chances, while stopping all 15 of the Tomahawks shots to keep the score locked in at 2-0.

The gridlock carried into the third, where the Knights quickly picked up two power play opportunities in the first 5:13 of the frame. Both chances were turned away with limited opportunities generated on net. The Tomahawks received a power play of their own just shy of the 13:00 mark only to be stymied by Tomeo standing on his head on three separate occasions.

Down two entering the final two minutes, the Knights relieved their goalie in favor of an extra attacker. With the added pressure supplied, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was finally able to put bodies in front of Kade Phipps. With 29 seconds to go, Matt Kidney swatted a puck out of the slot to Jack Olmstead, who rotated to the top of the zone before firing a puck off the stick of Kidney and past Phipps to pull the Knights within one.

After taking their timeout, the Knights came on the ice again with six skaters and an empty net. Though they mounted one last push in the offensive zone, blocked shots would cause the rally to fall just short as the final horn sounded.

With the win, the Tomahawks now hold a 4-3-2 record against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (5-4-0), giving both teams 10 points in the season tilt. The pair will meet again tonight at 7:30 pm EST inside the Revolution Ice Centre.

The Knights would like to thank the Boy Scouts of Northeastern PA for their outstanding attendance and passionate fanfare throughout the night, making this season’s Scout Night a resounding success. Despite the outcome on the ice not being what the team wanted, the Knights are proud to play for their local community and will look forward to continuing to support the Boy Scouts of America and the many other worthy organizations in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton region!

For all Knights news and updates, follow the Knights on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube, and visit www.wbsknights.com!