Photo Credit: Steve Yakimowicz
Written by Nicholas Marotta
This weekend the return to NAHL eastern division play promises to be an early measuring stick, as the 5-1 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Kinghts take on the 6-0 Philadelphia Rebels. These two teams find themselves locked in a battle for divisional placing, separated by just two points, while also featuring a promising battle of a high-powered offense versus an impenetrable defense.
The Knights boast many impressive scorers. The team has three members hovering around a point per game average. Forward Jack Olmstead leads the offense with seven total points, but is followed closely by fellow forwards Curtis Carlson and Matt Kidney with six apiece.
The Knights, currently tied for the fifth-best offense in the NAHL, average just north of three goals per game, and score about 10% of the time on the power play. The forecheck has been bolstered by a strong blend of veteran leadership and a stellar rookie class. The team is looking to avenge their previous playoff losses, as the Rebels have eliminated them in each of the last two years in the Robertson Cup playoffs.
The Rebels, in contrast to the Knights offense, have allowed just over one goal a game on average. While the Rebels’ point leaders have less than that of the Knights’, their defense has been stellar in the early season. Goalie Ryan Keane has only allowed an average of one goal a game, and has a 96% save rate. His fellow goalies Eli Billing and Jack Leavy have each allowed just a goal and a half all season over the same amount of minutes.
The Philadelphia forecheck returns many familiar faces, led by Jensen Zerban, Aaron Maguyon, Andrew Bellant and Carter Woolley, a quartet that consistently gave the Knights problems in the teams’ 15 meetings a year ago. Zerban leads his team in scoring with three goals and three assists in six games played.
This EAST division match-up of the second and third place teams promises to be a high-powered fight between the high-octane offense of the Knights and the staunch defense of the Rebels. You can catch all the action on HockeyTV at 7:10 PM on Friday and 6:50 on Saturday. Follow @WBSKnights on Twitter for live updates!