Two games down and three to go for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights (9-15-1, 19pts.) on their five game road trip. They finish it off over the weekend with a trio of meetings against the Northeast Generals (7-13-3, 17pts.) beginning Friday night.
Northeast has struggled for the bulk of the season. The club limps back home after losing five straight. To be fair, four of those losses came against the Johnstown Tomahawks; a team who has won 17 straight. Even prior to that though, Northeast had not won more than two consecutive games all year. The Generals won’t be expecting much help from the home crowd either this weekend. The team has gone 4-6-1 at New England Sports Village.
Like this weekend, the Knights and Generals met for a three game set back at Revolution Ice Centre in October. Adrian Danchenko earned NAHL East Division Star of the Week honors by posting seven points against the Generals during that weekend, including a short handed tally. Danchenko scored a goal in each of the three games. After Wilkes-Barre took the first two, Northeast struck back in a wild 6-4 weekend finale that went their way. Wilkes-Barre began to struggle some after that loss, but has responded well of late, winning three straight games.
The Name’s Badal…Jacob Badal
The rookie forward has a lot to do with the Knights’ recent turnaround. In the past 12 games, 17-year-old Jacob Badal has put up 13 points. Last weekend in Maryland, Badal scored in each game and had a three point contest Friday, giving him the NAHL East Division Star of the Week honor much like Danchenko had earlier in the season, as did Knights’ goalie Zach Stejskal.
Already committed to Western Michigan University, Badal ranks second on the team in scoring with nine goals and 18 points. The forward has also scored in four straight games.
For What It’s Worth
After Sunday when the final game of the weekend wraps up, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton won’t see Northeast again until January 31st.
Generals’ forward Louis Boudon is fifth in league scoring with 30 points. Boudon has 10 goals on the season and netted a pair to help Northeast beat the Knights in their last meeting two months ago. The ’98 birth year is in his final year of junior eligibility, and will join Lake Superior State University to play Division I hockey next fall.
Special teams have been disastrous for the Generals. Their power play is second to last in the league at just over 10%. The penalty kill; even worse, as they are last by a significant margin with a 67.9% efficiency.
The Knights on the other hand hold the NAHL’s 14th best penalty kill, while boasting the sixth best power play and second in the East, operating at over 22%.