It wasn’t pretty, but it was two points. The Knights can hang their hats on a gritty, albeit non-traditional win following their 2-1 victory Sunday afternoon. For the third-consecutive game, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton played host to the Philadelphia Rebels following last night’s 5-3 Knights victory.
The Rebels entered play Sunday having several regulars return along the blue line that had missed several games prior. The influence was apparent, as Philadelphia got off to a suffocating start. Their forecheck was again fast and physical as they hemmed the Knights in their own zone for much of the first period. In net for his second start of the three-game series was Christian Stoever, who was nothing short of spectacular on Sunday.
Mounting 18 shots on net in the first frame, the Rebels could only push one puck by the 2000 goalie, with that tally coming at 18:10 on the power play. The sequence was started by point play from Carson Moniz and Diarmad DiMurro before Moniz ripped a shot and rebound to Adam Peck, who promptly buried the goal to give the Rebels the 1-0 lead. Beyond that point, the Rebels simply could not solve Stoever.
The second period fell in line with the first, where the Rebels again controlled play and time of possession. Neither team found the twine in the middle frame, with Stoever stopping eight shots, and Rebels goalie Ryan Keane saving six. A late period surge by the Knights forecheck made the latter netminder make a few quality stops, but did set the table for things to come in the third.
Down 1-0 with 20 minutes to play, the Knights would again find themselves under heavy pressure from the Rebels attack. Though Philadelphia had the overwhelming majority of chances, the difference in the final period was that the Knights were able to finish on their own.
Around the 9:30 mark of the third period Jack Olmstead, Curtis Carlson, and Matt Kidney set up shop in the Philadelphia zone. With Luke Robinson and Tom Farrell on the back end, the Knights cycled effectively until Kidney put a shot on goal that pulled Keane out of the net and generated a heavy rebound that Carlson buried to tie the game at one.
The Rebels were quick to mount pressure in response, but Stoever continued to stand on his head, denying Philadelphia all 20 shots they put on his plate in the third.
In the final minute of regulation, the Knights again would again stand up on the puck in the attacking zone. This time it was Reed Robinson feeding a pass to Luke Robinson, who turned a shot in front which was re-directed to twine by a camped out Michael Morrissey.
Suddenly on the wrong end of the scoreboard in a game they largely controlled, the Rebels pulled Keane for an extra attacker. In the final 51 seconds, they could not solve Stoever as the Knights stole a game on Sunday to improve to 16-6-3. Their 35 points as a team give them a three-point advantage in the East Division standings heading into a weekend off. The total also moves them into a tie with the Shreveport Mudbugs for most points in the entire NAHL.
The Knights will be back in action on December 8th and 9th, when they travel to Johnstown for a pair of road games at the 1st Summit Arena. Stay up to date with all Knights news by following team social media and checking back at www.wbsknights.com.