NAHL: Phipps, Penalties, Slow Knights in Series Split

The Knights and Tomahawks met again Saturday night for the second round of a two-game bout. The Knights went looking for a series sweep, following their 2-1 victory in game one. On Saturday, there were faced once again with yet another slugfest in Johnstown.

With a rematch of both of Friday’s goalies setting the table, the Knights and Tomahawks went to work with yet another defensive first period. Each team was held to single digit shots as David Tomeo and Kade Phipps each answered every test sent their way en route to a scoreless, opening 20 minutes.

Each side also continued the trend of steady penalty kill, as the Tomahawks did away with their lone infraction in the first, wile the Knights erased two.

The second frame saw more of the same. Both sides bogged themselves down with multiple penalties, with neither cracking the scoreboard whilst on the advantage.

It wasn’t until the game’s 33rd minute in which the scoring drought ended. Set up on a quick Johnstown entry, Joe Kile pulled up on the right half wall and threaded a perfect pass to Ben Schmidling in the middle of the slot. The latter hammered home the Tomahawks first tally at 13:05, his seventh of the season.

Try as they might to respond, the Knights could not stay out of the box long enough to establish an offensive rhythm. Though their penalty kill withstood an impressive power play (13/13 on the weekend), Johnstown was able to grind down key attackers by forcing them to chase in their own end while shorthanded.

During a 4-on-4 in the final minute of the period, the Knights took a delayed penalty. Before they could touch up on the puck, Tomahawks forward Donovan Ott took advantage of the scenario when he grabbed the puck and hopped over the right side of the Knights blue line. From there he fired a shot off a Wilkes-Barre/Scranton defender before collecting his own rebound and firing it past Tomeo for the 2-0 lead.

That score would hold for the remainder of the game, as the Knights continued their march in the final stanza. Three more penalties added up to a limited forecheck in the third period, capped off by Phipps’ steady play in net. Unable to pull their goaltender until just past the 18:00 mark, the Knights saw time run out on any comeback effort.

With the loss, the Knights head into their final game before the holiday break firmly entrenched in second place in the NAHL’s East Division. They’ll have the opportunity to hop back into first when they play host to the New Jersey Titans on Wednesday, December 13th at 2:30 pm. The game will be broadcast on www.hockeytv.com. Stay tuned to Knights social media and www.wbsknights.com for all news and updates!