Quick Hits: NAHL Game 31 Preview

It’s the final game of 2018 for the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Knights (11-18-1, 23ps.) and it comes against the New Jersey Titans (16-14, 32pts.) Tuesday afternoon, officially starting the second half of play for Wilkes-Barre this season.

So Far vs NJ
Tuesday marks the seventh engagement between the Titans and Knights this season. The clubs are deadlocked at a 3-3 season series. There are 12 games between Wilkes-Barre and New Jersey across the 2018-19 campaign.

Interestingly, each team has went 3-0 against the other on home ice. Another intriguing note comes in the scores. When playing at Middletown Ice World Arena, the games between these former playoff opponents tend to feature a lot of scoring. In three games played in the Garden State, a combined 25 goals have been scored. The numbers are significantly different when the Knights act as the host team, with just eight goals having entered the nets of Revolution Ice Centre.

Stejskal Sees All
New Jersey most likely won’t look to draw #35 in goal when they look down the ice. Unfortunately for them, odds are that’s who they’ll face. 18-year-old Knights goalie Zach Stejskal has been superb against the Titans this season and is practically unsolvable in Pittston, Pa when the Titans visit.

As mentioned earlier, only eight goals have been scored between both teams in the three games that have been home tilts for the Knights. What we didn’t mention was that seven of those goals belong to Wilkes-Barre. So far in three Knights home games against the Titans, Zach Stejskal has stopped 133 of 134 New Jersey shots. He holds a 3-0 record against them at home, which spots a jaw-dropping .993 save percentage. Stejskal has stopped over 100 consecutive shots too, as his last two games against the Titans were shutouts when playing in Wilkes-Barre. he has not allowed a goal at home against New Jersey in 162:07 of game time.

Teen Titans
While both New Jersey goaltenders Brandon Perrone and Matt Ladd are in their final year of junior eligibility, only two other players have hit the big “20” in birthdays (Bryce Witman, Craig McCabe). There are several players who have birthdays in both December and January for the Titans that will change this stat. One of which is leading goal scorer Kyle Jeffers.

Though second in points to ’99 forward Ryan Namouvski (34), Jeffers has put together a 30 point season, consisting of 18 goals. His goal totals rank third in the NAHL and second in the East Division, only to Johnstown’s Carson Briere (22). Jeffers is also among the least “guilty” players in the league, totaling only 10 PIM’s through his first 30 games.

For What It’s Worth
Titans defenseman Erik Manoukian will celebrate his 20th birthday the day after this game. Knights goalie Zach Stejskal’s 19th birthday is the day after that.

The Knights played Jamestown twice before meeting with the Titans  on Tuesday. after this,  Wilkes-Barre will play Jamestown four consecutive games.

Wilkes-Barre forward Gabe Temple should be set to return for Tuesday’s game after serving a two game suspension.

The NAHL Knights will pack their bags Tuesday following the game and head to their respective homes for the holidays. Wilkes-Barre is one of just two NAHL East Division teams (Johnstown) that will not have to play this coming weekend.

Following the 2:30 game against New Jersey, the Knights won’t drop the puck for a game until January 4th. Catch the last NAHL Knights broadcast of 2018 on HockeyTV.