Knights look to keep playoff hopes alive in regular season finale
Saturday, April 6th- Revolution Ice Centre @3:30pm
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights (25-29-5, 55pts.)
Maryland Black Bears (16-37-6, 38pts.)
Last Friday Night
Jake Fuss scored a hat trick, Gabe Temple had two goals, and the Knight smashed Maryland in an 8-1 win. Several career highs were posted. Not only did Fuss have a hat trick, but the forward also recorded five points in the game. Beck Moore delivered his first three point game with a trio of assists, while Markus Cook scored a goal in his NAHL debut. Defensemen Shay Donovan and Blake Kryska each finished the game with a +4, establishing a new career best for Kryska and a season high for the captain.
It’s The Final Countdown
Entering Saturday, the NAHL has seen 15 of its 16 openings filled for the Robertson Cup Playoffs. The Corpus Christi Ice Rays locked up the final seed in the South Division, meaning there now exists just one opening yet to be claimed. This battle is between the Knights and Northeast Generals.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will need at least one point in the game against Maryland to have a shot at making the playoffs for a fourth consecutive season. A standings point would tie them with Northeast, but because the Knights own the tiebreaker in wins, they would advance into the postseason. A win of any kind for the grey and blue would force Northeast to get a win this weekend or have to lose in overtime both games against New Jersey. The Knights have yet to miss the playoffs since arriving in the NAHL in 2015.
Black and Yellow
Though the outcome is uncertain for Wilkes-Barre, the Black Bears know this will be the final time they wave their flag in the 2018-19 campaign. With the team being mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, Head Coach Clint Mylymok is looking to help his club finish out strong in their inaugural season in the league. The team has lost three straight and has given up 15 goals in the last two games. After being on the wrong side of an 8-1 score Friday, it can be expected that there will be some emotional response from the team in search of their 17th win of the year.
This will also be the final junior hockey game for ’98 forward and Captain, Connor Pooley, along with defensemen Bradley Jenion and Karim Del Ponte. Expect big efforts from those three.
For What It’s Worth
15 of Wilkes-Bare’s 25 wins this season have come against Maryland (7) and Northeast (8). The Knights have yet to lose against Maryland, and a win today would mark the first time in franchise history that the Knights would sweep a season series against an East Division opponent.
With playoffs up in the air, this will at least be the final regular season junior game for Jake Fuss, Joey Verkerke, and Shay Donovan, who are all 98’s. Additionally, forward Adrian Danchenko and goaltender Zach Stejskal have signed their letters of intent, meaning this will also be the curtain call for them.
This will be the 240th regular season game for the NAHL Knights. Including playoffs, it is the 256th in team history.
Danchenko, the team’s all-time leader in games played, will play in his 158th regular season game for the Knights.