Black Friday action awaits the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights
(6-14-1, 13pts.) in New Jersey, where they meet the Titans (13-9, 26pts.) on the other side of Thanksgiving break.
Wrong Side of Sweeps
Both clubs enter play Friday with losing streaks. The Knights have dropped three straight, while New Jersey fell twice the weekend prior. As Wilkes-Barre took a pair of losses to the Jamestown Rebels, the Titans also were victims of a sweep. They became just the latest casualty to the North American Hockey League powerhouse that is the Johnstown Tomahawks.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton lost 4-2 and 3-1 in their tilts with the Rebels. The Titans kept it close in a 4-3 loss to Johnstown, before being humbled in a 7-2 defeat the next night. Though the Titans sit second in the NAHL East Division, they, along with the other four teams behind them are all but a distant memory in the minds of the Tomahawks, who have amassed 40 points on the young season.
Let’s Try This Again
Sometimes the best way to get better at hockey is to get away from hockey. It’s been a tough go for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, but Head Coach Tom Kowal gave his club a few days off to enjoy the holiday week with friends and family, and perhaps give the players a chance to breathe.
Let’s not forget there are seven rookies listed on the Knights’ active roster. The first full season of what is a 60 game grind is no easy adjustment. In reality, the focus has to come as do the results with the team nearing the mid-way point of the season, but time away can help. An opportunity to forget about the game and maybe come back and get to basics once the team goes to work Friday night could be the remedy for a club with more talent than what’s been shown.
New Kids on the Block
Two new additions come to the New Jersey Titans since their last run-in with the Knights a couple weekends back. The club picked up forward Trevor Peca, son of former NHL player Michael Peca. Trevor played last season in the Ontario Junior Hockey League. He was teammates with Titans’ forward Zach Nazzarett, so the two reunite in New Jersey.
The team later announced its’ first tender of the season, signing defenseman Clay Allen from the Alaska Oilers 16U program. As one of the youngest players in the NAHL, Allen was brought in according to Titans’ personnel for his size and shot. The blue liner notched 12 points in 13 games with Alaska this season before being tendered.
For What It’s Worth
Titans’ tender Allen is from Anchorage, Alaska; the same place Knights’ Head Coach Tom Kowal calls home. Kowal played NCAA hockey in Alaska from 1995-97.
Through four games against each other, the season series between Wilkes-Barre and New Jersey is tied at 2-2. So far, 21 goals have been scored across those four games, but 17 of them were registered in the two games played at Middletown Ice World Arena, including 14 in the last game the teams met. The Titans took an 8-6 win that game, while Gabe Temple scored two goals, along with Sacha Guillemain and Jacob Badal both having three point games for the Knights.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton defender Shay Donovan will skate in his 115th NAHL regular season game. Donovan played in 50 games with Coulee Region Chill, plus four with the MN Wilderness and his next being game 61 with the Knights.