Tag Archives: Anthony Firriolo

Knights Enter Final Four Looking to Extend Torrid Run

Written By: Nicholas Marotta

Photo: Steve Yakimowicz

The Knights touched down in Minnesota Wednesday to enter the final stages of their pursuit of a Robertson Cup. Today they will face the Shreveport Mudbugs in a best-of-three series to determine which of the pair will play for the Robertson Cup on Monday.

After a gritty 3-2 series win over the New Jersey Titans, the Knights swept their way through the Philadelphia Rebels to win the right to represent the East Division in the Final Four. Less than two weeks have passed since the team punched their tickets to Blaine, but how did they earn the trip?  

Not only was the journey carried by a complete team effort, but this postseason run has come off of the back of many strong individual performances.

One key player that immediately stands out is goalie Christian Stoever.  Number 31 has been a wall in the playoffs. In his seven playoff starts, he has allowed less than three goals in five games, including a shutout in a 1-0 victory against the Titans in game four of the first round.  

In the team’s more recent series against Philadelphia, Stoever had a save percentage of 94%.  Even more impressive is that Stoever has had a knack for stepping up in big spots during both series. In round one, facing consecutive elimination games, he produced a shutout in game four, followed by a 49-save effort to win the series.

Rookie forward Jack Olmstead has also been a major contributor during the Knights’ playoff run.  Olmstead has had a point in every Knights playoff game this season, and scored two goals in the team’s second game of their series against Philadelphia. The line of Olmstead, Michael Morrissey, and Matt Kidney are three of the top four scorers in the 2018 playoffs for the Knights.  Olmstead, however, leads the team in points with ten.

Other new faces on the Knights NAHL roster for this season include Gabe Temple, who has three goals in the playoffs, and Tyrone Bronte, who’s notched three goals and three assists so far.  

Even in a season highlighted by great rookie performances, veterans like Reed Robinson and Curtis Carlson have been a strong base for the newer members of the team to rise to the forefront.  

Robinson scored the fourth and final goal in the first game of the team’s series against Philadelphia, while Carlson was able to put the team up 2-1 in their eventual 5-4 victory against the Rebels in game two.  Carlson has scored three other goals in the playoffs, and Robinson another goal and assist.

The Knights defensive end has been equally impressive throughout the postseason. Led by veteran Joey Verkerke and All-East blue-liner Thomas Farrell, the group of rookies has helped the team keep their average goals against at 2.25 throughout the playoffs.  Verkerke, who’s had a keen eye for passing and a knack for blocking shots, has an active four game point streak via four assists.

Tonight’s puck drop against Shreveport will be the team’s first appearance in the Final Four and their second meeting on the season with Shreveport. With a staunch defense and a potent offense, the team is poised for to make a run toward Robertson Cup.

Tune into tonight’s game on www.hockeytv.com and follow along through Knights social media and at www.nahl.com.

 

NAHL: Time Runs Out on Knights Comeback

Looking to snap a four-game losing streak, the Knights took the ice on Saturday for their second-straight meeting with the Johnstown Tomahawks.

Riding off victory in Friday’s game, the Tomahawks came out swinging in the first. Just as they did in game one, Ben Scmidling and Roman Kraemer scored the contest’s first two goals, only in the inverse order. Schmidling struck first at 8:56, beating Knights starter David Tomeo unassisted for the 1-0 lead. Kraemer’s 16th goal of the season created a 2-0 advantage for the Tomahawks, set up by Andy Nedeljkovic at the 13:16 marker. Tomeo and Johnstown’s starter Jack Leavy allowed no further scores in a period controlled by the Tomahawks.

In the second, the Knights awoke. After being out-shot 11-3 in the first period, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was boosted by an early tally from Reed Robinson. The Niagara commitment picked up his 15th goal of the season off of Adrian Danchenko’s 15th helper. Trailing by only one, the Knights offense rallied to wrack up 17 shots in the middle frame-including the first 11 of the period.

Unfortunately for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the Tomahawks first shot of the second proved to be their eventual game-winner. At 6:53, Pavel Kharin notched his fourth goal of the season, assisted by Andrew Andary and Karim DelPonte to re-establish the two-goal lead. A cascade of penalties in the second half of the period sapped both teams of momentum as each side’s penalty kill and goal tending held firm.

Looking down a 3-1 deficit to start the third, the Knights did not relent in their effort to grind their way back. Neither did Jack Leavy in his crease. Though the Knights again dominated shots and chances, they were time-and-again turned away by the ’97 goaltender despite a shot tilt that favored them 17-4 in the third.

With just over a minute remaining, Adrian Danchenko broke through the Leavy dam with his 10th goal of the year (Anthony Firriolo) to trim the Johnstown lead to one. Despite the advantage of the extra attacker on in place of Tomeo, the Knights could not find the equalizer in the game’s final minute of play. The 3-2 loss drops them to 22-17-6 on the season and keeps them in third, one point behind the New Jersey Titans in the East Division.

Before the Knights next game on Friday, March 2nd, seven players and head coach Tom Kowal will be heading out to the NAHL’s Top Prospects Tournament on Tuesday, February 27th. Tune into hockeytv.com to watch the Tournament and stay tuned to www.nahl.com, www.wbsknights.com, and Knights social media for all news and updates regarding the Knights performance!

NAHL: Knights Close Alaska Trip with Loss to Fairbanks

On Saturday night, the Knights met the Fairbanks Ice Dogs for the fourth and final time in the 2017-18 regular season, looking for their first victory against a team riding a 20-game winning streak.

The Ice Dogs struck quickly in a relatively quiet first period that saw just 12 combined shots on net. At 6:51 Tanner Schachle continued his successful season by putting his 22nd goal past Knights starter David Tomeo, coming off assists from Grant Ledford and Connor Chilton. Fairbanks backcheck allowed little to develop for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for the remainder of period with Logan Neaton keeping the Knights three shots at bay.

Early in the second, it appeared the Knights would finally get their offense going when Jack Olmstead danced his way into the Ice Dogs zone before setting up Tom Farrell for a backhanded goal. After deliberation, the officials proceeded to disallow the score, stating that the net had come off its moorings.

Fairbanks didn’t blink. Samuel Ruffin came right back down the ice to bury a goal past Tomeo on the ensuing shift (Daniel Haider, Jack Johnston) for a 3-0 lead at 3:12. John Stampohar added to the advantage with another tally just over three minutes later off assists from Robert Blueger and the aforementioned Schachle.

The Knights would finally catch a break when Mike Morrissey would set up Adrian Danchenko who in turn  threaded a perfect, home-run pass to Reed Robinson for a breakaway just under a minute later. Robinson would drive all the way in on Neaton and then put home his own rebound to cut the score to 3-1.

Fairbanks did not allow any further momentum, as their offense came  back on a power play dart from Robert Blueger at 13:09 (Kyle Mayhew, Schachle). Before the Knights could leave the period to regroup, Jack Johnston, set up by Ruffin and Jax Murray, poked a wraparound by Tomeo for the 5-1 advantage.

In the third Connor Chilton would strike early to put a damper on any hopes of a Knights rally. Chilton bested the Knights defense as he shook off heavy traffic in front to flip a puck home at 5:15 (Vanska, Schachle).

Anthony Firriolo wouldn’t go down quietly as he buried a power play goal set up by Jack Olmstead and Curtis Carlson at 6:05, his second of the season. If there was one silver lining on the weekend for the Knights, it was that they were able to turn in a 3/8 (37.5%) performance against the NAHL’s best penalty kill.

Jack Johnston picked up his second goal of the contest just over a minute later with helpers coming from Murray and Ruffin.

At the final horn the Knights left the rink on the wrong end of a 7-2 loss. They’ll look to bounce back with a road series in Johnstown next weekend to close out February before seven of their players and head coach Tom Kowal head to the NAHL’s Top Prospect Tournament to close out the month.

To stay up to date with all Knights news and happenings, stay tuned to www.wbsknights.com, www.nahl.com, and follow Knights social media on Facebook, (WBS Knights Hockey) Twitter, and Instagram (@wbsknights)!

 

Weekend Recap: Knights Split Series with Kenai River

As the Knights began their two week trip to Alaska, the team went searching for the success that had eluded them for the majority of January and early February. Their third head-to-head with the Brown Bears marked their first trip to the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex this season. It began well: Knights captain Curtis Carlson buried his 14th goal of the season off assists from Matt Kidney and Anthony Firriolo seven and a half minutes into the contest.

The first period carried on without further scoring despite two power plays for the Brown Bears. Knights starter David Tomeo brought his a-game to the crease as he stopped all shots sent his way in an evenly played first.

It would be Kenai River to come out swinging in the second. Filip Karlsson tied the game at 6:59 with assists from Gil Garcia and Lukas Millen. Gavin Enright hunkered down in net for the Brown Bears, as the ’99 birth year kept the Knights off the board for the better part of the period.

Sutton McDonald would score next for Kenai River, supplying their first lead at 16:43, with Michael Spethmann and Luke Posner credited with the helpers on the score. The Knights would get the goal back less than two minutes later when Tomas Koblizek found Gabe Temple for his fourth marker of the year.

In the third, Mike Gelatt would find the back of the net to retake the lead for the Knights just 2:27 in. Kenai River would redouble their efforts to try to find the equalizer, mounting 16 shots on goal in the period, but David Tomeo didn’t blink.

Through two penalty kills and a chippy finish to game one, the Knights held on to kick off their road trip with a win. Elemental to the victory were the Knights strong penalty kill and Tomeo’s steadiness in net, recording 32 saves on 34 shots.

In Saturday’s rematch, the Knights would again jump out to a quick start. Luke Robinson and Curtis Carlson would find Matt Kidney, who bested former Knights goalie Kevin Lake at 1:01. The Brown Bears wouldn’t rest easy with the deficit, scoring just one minute later when David Kaplan fired a heavy wrist shot by Knights starter David Tomeo to even the score (Markuss Komuls, Cameron McDonald). The Carlson line struck back at 4:02, when Carlson drove in and fired a puck past Lake for the 2-1 lead (Engelkes, Kidney).

An eventful first half of the opening period would be capped off by Joe Rosa’s power play goal at 8:02. After killing off all six power plays in game one, the Knights penalty kill struggled to get back on track Saturday. Former Knight defenseman Markuss Komuls made a nice play to keep the zone before firing the puck to the net. Michael Spethmann pushed a puck off Tomeo’s pads before Joe Rosa put the bouncing puck home to tie the game at two. The goal brought Christian Stoever on in relief of Tomeo.

Early in the second, the Knights forecheck would begin dictating tempo and forcing odd-man rushes. Two and a half minutes into the period, Jack Olmstead handed the puck to Tyrone Bronte who fed a perfect stretch pass to Mike Gelatt to create an odd-man break. Gelatt finished the rush by burying the puck by Lake for the 3-2 lead.

Again the Brown Bears would answer quickly, and again on the power play. Cameron McDonald and Filip Karlsson created a rebound in front of Stoever that Gil Garcia eventually shoveled home to once again even the score.

For the remainder of regulation, the Knights would continually force the issue in the offensive zone and off the rush. Again and again they would be turned away by Lake, who made 24 saves on 25 shots over the final two periods of play, staring down multiple odd-man rushes in the process.

Stoever, for his part, turned away 29 of 30 through the remainder of the contest. As regulation proved inconclusive, 3-on-3 overtime brought with it an abundance of chances on the Soldotna’s Olympic-sized sheet. Both Stoever and Lake traded grade-a saves to force the shootout.

Lake stopped Justin Engelkes and Curtis Carlson in rounds one and two, while Stoever denied his first challenger in Emils Ezitis. Sacha Guillemain squeezed a puck through in round two, forcing the onus on Matt Kidney to try and force a bottom of the third. Lake stopped him to secure the shootout win and the second point.

With the weekend split, the Knights did come away with three out of four points. They’ll look to continue their recent success with a road trip to Fairbanks next weekend. Stay tuned to www.wbsknights.com and Knights social media (Facebook: WBS Knights Hockey, Twitter and Instagram @WBSKnights) for all news and updates!

NAHL: Knights Drop Home Contest Against Titans

Matinee hockey came to the Revolution Ice Centre on Thursday, as the Knights hosted an intra-division game against the  New Jersey Titans. Both teams entered play on losing streaks, looking to start February off on a better foot.

New Jersey would be the first to find their ground on the afternoon as Hunter Alden fired a puck by Knights starter Christian Stoever at 10:07. Todd Goehring and Holden Biebel recorded assists on the game’s first goal.

Less than a minute later Matthew Cameron corralled a bouncing puck in the slot and ripped it home to build a 2-0 lead (Spencer Stanley). At 15:49 Cameron Kuhl found Tyler Antonucci at the top of his own zone where the latter fired a breakaway pass to Ryan Naumovski. Naumovski broke free to bury the Titans third goal.

In the second, Naumovski continued rolling when he and Nick Boyagian came into the Knights zone on an odd-man rush. Keeping the puck, Naumovski buried his second goal of the game at 11:04. The score brought about a change in net for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton as David Tomeo came on for Stoever.

The Titans would score their fifth tally at 15:38 when Kyle Jeffers found a rebound off Tomeo’s initial sprawling save for the tap-in goal (Naumovski, Antonucci).

Anthony Firriolo finally put the Knights on the board, firing a puck from the corner off a body in front of Titans goalie Brandon Perrone. The puck deflected to the net with 2:30 remaining in the period, marking Firriolo’s first goal with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Matthew Kidney and Jack Olmstead would pick up helpers on the score,

Justin Engelkes would keep the Knights alive at the start of the third when he picked up his eighth goal of the year just 2:08 into the frame (Firriolo, Bronte). Engelkes hammered a rebound off Perrone’s pads, and before the goalie could reset, Engelkes flipped the puck to the twine.

The Titans would get the tally back at 7:07 when Todd Goehring, after quick passing from Hunter Alden and Kyler Head, raced in off the rush and fired a wrister past Tomeo.

The Knights would pull Tomeo for an extra attacker with under 5:00 to go to try and spark some momentum in the attacking end. After Perrone and the Titans defense were able to keep the Knights forecheck at bay for a pair of shifts, Holden Biebel cleared the zone to Matthew Cameron. Cameron would get down the ice to pick up his second goal of the contest to put the game to bed at 17:53.

With a 7-2 final, the Knights will look to bounce back with another contest this evening in New Jersey. Puck drop is set for 7:45 pm EST, and the game can be viewed on hockeytv.com. Visit the Knights twitter account @WBSKnights and check www.nahl.com for in-game updates!

Knights Defenseman Anthony Firriolo Commits to Army

Photo: Jessica Kovalcin

Knights defenseman Anthony Firriolo has committed to the United States Military Academy West Point to play division one hockey starting in the 2019-20 season. The ’98 defenseman has chosen not only to play for a great hockey program but also to serve his country in the army.

“Just the brotherhood, the chance to serve my country,” said Firriolo of his interest in Army. “They came to me recently and I had the opportunity to visit the campus. It really felt like a perfect fit for me.”

The United States Military Academy has been a member of NCAA Division I hockey since the program’s beginning in 1903. For the past 15 years the Black Knights have competed in the Atlantic conference with former Brown University alum Brian Riley serving as head coach for the previous 14 seasons. Alumni of the Black Knights program include former NHL forward and Stanley Cup Champion Dan Hinote.

“Anthony is headed to a program that fits his personality and who he is,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal. “It tells you about his character. He’s a talented player, but a better person who not only wants to play hockey and work hard to earn an education, but wants to serve his country in doing so. We’re very proud of him.”

After being acquired in a trade with the Amarillo Bulls early in the season, Firriolo has settled in nicely as a potent offensive player on the Knights talented blue line. Through 22 games with the Knights and 11 with the Bulls, Firriolo leads all Knights defensemen in assists with 13 and has logged valuable time on the team’s power play, serving as one of its primary quarterbacks. Six of his 13 helpers have come while on the man-advantage.

“I feel I bring offense to a team’s defense,” said Firriolo of his playing style. “I bring some skill to the back end, I like to move pucks up the ice and create opportunities to score. I think I’ll fit at West Point because I like to challenge myself. I like to work hard and have a never-give-up attitude, and out on the ice I’m constantly looking to make myself and my teammates better.”

Through it all, the defenseman has kept an appreciation for playing in the NAHL and his team’s competition.

“The compete level, especially in our division, is special,” he said. “Every night is like a playoff game. You have to bring your a-game because it can go either way against the first-place team or last-place team. Everybody’s highly skilled.”

Firriolo has enjoyed his time playing as a Knight thus far, and credits all those who’ve been alongside him on the journey.

“The coaching staff here has been unreal,” he said. “They took me in after I arrived, a little after the beginning of the season. This group of teammates I think is the closest group I’ve ever been a part of. They way this place operates is perfect for me.”

With his commitment to the Black Knights, Firriolo becomes the seventh Knights NAHL veteran to commit to a division one school over the past year, the third to a team in the Atlantic Hockey.

“He’s a player we’ve had a need for this year,” said Kowal. “Him being an offensive-minded defenseman is an important piece to have on any hockey team, the way the game is being played now. He’s filled that role nicely for us. At the end of the day, we’re thrilled with what he’s brought to our program. I really look forward to rooting him on as he advances forward in his hockey career.”

“I want to thank Coach Tom and Coach Whiteside for all they’ve done for me,” said Firriolo. “I also want to thank all my previous coaches, my teammates, and my family for supporting me all the way.”

The Knights organization congratulates Anthony for his commitment and thanks him for his contributions to the program’s success!

Knights Close Out 2017 With Sweep

Saturday brought with it the Knights final game of the 2017 calendar year. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton entered the tilt with the opportunity to gain sole possession of first place in the NAHL’s East Division with a win. Their opponent for the second straight day was the Kenai River Brown Bears.

After a strong offensive showing in a 5-2 win, the Knights looked to their forecheck to lead the way again on Saturday. After a quiet first seven minutes in which each side traded an unsuccessful power play, the Knights awoke.

At 7:25 Adrian Danchenko kicked off an impressive outing when he fired a shot through a screen to best Kenai River goalie Gavin Enright. Anthony Firriolo picked up his 12th assist, while Gabe Temple added his sixth to set up the game’s first score.

31 seconds later Temple would fill in the goal column as well as the Knights first-round pick willed a puck through Enright on a wraparound set up by Danchenko and Tomas Koblizek. The 2-0 lead held through the end of the period as Christian Stoever, fresh off a stint in the USHL, coupled with the Knights defense to hold the Brown Bears off the board.

A quiet opening to the second frame gave way to a penalty parade featuring 11 combined infractions. Both power plays were stymied by steady penalty kill play on each side of the ice, holding the score in place at 2-0. A fight between Michael Morrissey and Michael Spethmann kicked up the intensity in what had already proven to be a chippy weekend just past the halfway point of play.

As the second wound down, 4-on-4 play ensued at 16:49 following a Kenai River penalty. With added space on the ice, Tom Farrell and Luke Robinson set up an Adrian Danchenko deke and drive to the net where he bested Enright for his eighth goal of the year, his second of the day.

Leading 3-0 to start the the third, the Knights penalties finally came back to bite them, as former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton blue-liner Markuss Komuls cashed in a perfectly placed power play goal at 5:46 (Zach Krajnik, Filip Karlsson).

The Knights would bounce back, capitalizing on a power play of their own when Curtis Carlson fired a puck home at 11:29 from Jack Olmstead to re-gain a three-goal lead. Olmstead would combine with Matt Kidney to put the game to rest a few minutes later. Just past 17:40, Kidney executed a brilliant poke check in neutral ice before carrying the puck back the other way to create an odd-man rush. In front of the net, Kidney faked to Curtis Carlson before passing back to Jack Olmstead in the slot where the latter buried the puck for a 5-1 lead.

Christian Stoever would close out the contest with a stellar 32 saves on 33 shots in his first game back, on his way to his 11th win of the season. Gavin Enright was solid, despite the five goals allowed, making 36 stops on 41 shots. The Knights and Brown Bears both went 1/7 on the power play and 6/7 on the penalty kill on the afternoon. The win and subsequent two points puts the Knights ahead of the Philadelphia Rebels in the East by one point.

The Knights will look to continue building on a three-game winning streak with a two-game series against the midwest-leading Fairbanks Ice Dogs next weekend. The first will take place on Friday, January 5th and 1:00 pm. The second will be played on Saturday the 6th at 6:30 pm. Both games will be broadcast on hockeytv.com. Stay tuned to www.wbsknights.com and Knights social media for all news and updates!

On behalf of the entire organization, the Knights would like to wish all their fans, players, families, and staff a very healthy and happy New Year and look forward to bringing you more wins in 2018!

Knights Cap First Half With Gritty Win Over New Jersey

In their final game before their holiday break, the Knights went to work against the New Jersey Titans Wednesday afternoon. A season series just three games old, the pair of East division foes needed overtime in all but one tilt to come to a decision. Round four would again prove to be a contest that boiled down to the game’s final moments.

In the game’s opening shifts, it was made apparent that both starting goal tenders brought their A-games to the ice. Stingier than Scrooge, David Tomeo and Brandon Perrone took turns wiping would-be smiles off forechecking faces as each goalie sent quality chances anywhere but the net.

The Knights carried play for most of the first period to the tune of 16-10 shot advantage, but could not solve Perrone. In the period’s final two minutes, the Titans maintained pressure for consecutive shifts, culminating in an offensive zone draw in the final 20 seconds. Off a quick faceoff win and cycle, Hunter Alden took passes from Kyle Jeffers and Ryan Naumovski and fired a puck past Tomeo for a 1-0 Titans lead.

The late-period tally did not sit well with a Knights team that has been bugged by slow starts and uneven goal production in recent weeks. Out of the gate in the second came a continued blitz from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton offense as the team continued the prior period’s habit of putting shots on goal from in close.

Perrone’s sterling defense of his net held until 3:17. A sequence that started with Mike Morrissey setting up a heavy Blake Kryska shot ended with Adrian Danchenko showcasing his silky hands once again. The big forward weaved Kryska’s rebound through the crease and past Perrone for the game-tying goal, Danchenko’s sixth of the season.

The remainder of the middle frame evolved into a more aggressive version of the first. Both sides combined for 33 shots on goal, breaking down to a 17-16 New Jersey advantage. Despite this, the Titans could not figure out David Tomeo.

The goalie continued his December to remember with another stellar effort in net. After stopping 74/77 shots in two games in Johnstown last weekend, the New Jersey native backed it up with a 34/35 mid-week performance. In 2017’s final month Tomeo boasts a 1.33 goals against average and an absurd .973 save percentage in three starts.

His play kept the the game tied at one until the late second, when the Knights found themselves on the power play with just under 30 seconds remaining. The man-advantage has been a point of emphasis in Knights practice this week following a weekend in which the power play went 0-10 against the Tomahawks.

The message clearly sunk in. Off a clean faceoff win, Blake Kryska fed a puck to Anthony Firriolo. Just five seconds into the man-advantage, Mike  Morrissey found a Firriolo rebound and put it home to take a 2-1 lead.

The third period brought both forechecks back down to Earth as each side found their shot totals dip into the single digits. Players like Knights forwards Tomas Koblizek and Jeffrey Bertrand and Titans veterans Zach Parrot and Ryan Naumovski imposed their physical will on both ends of the ice to slow the contest’s pace.

Most impressive was the Knights ability to weather the high-paced Titans final push to try and tie the game. While successful in getting pucks up the ice, New Jersey found it difficult to put together many extended shifts in the attacking zone, kept at bay by the Knights crisp exit passing and physical play. When the Titans did break through the defense, Tomeo was there to bail his team out.

As time wound down on the comeback, the Titans pulled Perrone with just over a minute to play in regulation. The Knights back check buckled down and spent much of the final 60 seconds outside their own end. Though they ultimately could not find the empty net, the team did well to skate out the clock and come away with their 18th win of the season.

Now 18-7-3 and for the moment a top the East division standings, the Knights will receive two weeks off before returning for a home series against he Kenai River Brown Bears on December 29th and 30th. Stay tuned to www.wbsknights.com and follow Knights social media for all news and updates!

On behalf of all players and staff, the Knights organization wishes all their fans the very best, healthiest, and happiest of holiday seasons!

Weekend Preview: Knights Set for Two-Game Showdown with Tomahawks

The Knights are riding high entering this weekend’s competition with the Johnstown Tomahawks. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has won four-straight games and has recorded a point or better in nine consecutive contests. Following last weekend’s sweep of the division-leading Generals, the Knights are one point behind Northeast for first place in the East  and the highest point total in the NAHL.

Across the ice this weekend stand the Johnstown Tomahawks. The blue-collar team may be in the midst some early season struggles, but that does not diminish their talent nor their competitive, physical style of play. Following two, one-goal defeats and an overtime point earned in their last two meetings with the Knights, the Tomahawks went on to beat the Philadelphia Rebels and New Jersey Titans in two of their next five games.

“Half our team are newcomers-getting in there and getting into that first period is a main goal of the staff right now,” said head coach Tom Kowal in the latest edition of Coach’s Corner. “It’s that first road trip to Johnstown. You can tell all your players all about the atmosphere and the rink, the history of Slapshot being there, but until you get there and get them into the first period-I think the staff will relax a little after the first period Friday night. Even when Johnstown is struggling, they’re tough to play against.”

In order to succeed this weekend, the Knights will have to slow down Sam Solensky and Joe Kile, the Tomahawks top two scorers this season. Solensky and Kile have each  scored a single goal in both of the prior two meetings between the teams. Johnstown is also bolstered by the East Division’s second-best power play, converting chances at a steady 21.3%.

For their part, the Knights would like to bolster a power play that has been inconsistent this season. While it has improved of late, it currently ranks last in the division at 16.1%. It will be faced by a Johnstown penalty kill that nullifies 70.9% of its penalties.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has had few issues scoring in all other circumstances, as the team is tied for the lead league in goals for per game at 3.61, and is third in shorthanded scores with 4.

Leading the Knights offense is Jack Olmstead, fresh off being named Eastern Division Star of the Week for his five points in three games against the Generals last weekend (2-3-5, 1 GWG). His 10 goals and 11 assists in 16 games played is tied for the fifth-most points scored in the league. His 1.31 points-per-game and +/- of +15 are best in the NAHL among qualified skaters.

He’s joined in the pont-per-game or better club by Reed Robinson, who’s second on the Knights with nine goals and 10 assists in 18 games. Matt Kidney is close behind with 5-12-17 in 18 games, as are Curtis Carlson 7-9-16 in 18 gp and new Bemidji State commitment Tyrone Bronte with 5-7-12 in 13.

Along the blue line, the Knights will continue to look for offense from Tom Farrell, who leads Knights defenders with nine points in 16 games, and Anthony Firriolo, who has seven assists in as many games since being traded to the Knights.

In goal, the Tomahawks can turn to recently acquired, East Division veteran Jack Leavy, or long-tenured Tomahawk Britt League. The duo have combined for 44 games played and record of 24-8-6 over their past two seasons in the NAHL.

The Knights will have a choice between 2017 third-round draft pick Christian Stoever and 2017 tender David Tomeo. Stoever went 2-0 last weekend, stopping 52 of 56 shots on goal against the other top-ranked offense in the NAHL. He’s 2-0 against Johnstown this year with an overtime victory. Tomeo’s  numbers have been steady when in the net this year as the 18-year old has a 4-1 record to go along with a 2.56 goals against and a .918 save percentage.

The Eastern Division clash will start tonight at 7:30 pm EST. :The game can be viewed at hockeytv.com. Stay tuned to Knights social media and www.wbsknights.com for updates!

 

NAHL: Knights Finish 3-Game Sweep to Close Weekend

Following a strong pair of wins to open a three-game weekend, the Knights took the ice Sunday in Attleboro looking for a clean sweep of the lone team ahead of them in the East Division Standings.

After a scoreless first half of the first period, the Knights got on the board at 11:30 when Jack Olmstead found Matt Kidney off a turnover, after which Kidney ripped a puck by Generals goalie David Fessenden. All nine Northeast shots on goal were snuffed out by Knights starter Christian Stoever. At the end of the frame, the Knights held a decided advantage in shots and control of play.

Sensing a chance to breakaway in a one-goal game, the Knights opened up their attack in the second period. Reed Robinson scored early at 1:48 off assists from Tyrone Bronte and Michael Morrissey. Matt Kidney picked up goal number two of the afternoon at 6:32 with helpers from Olmstead and Anthony Firriolo. Mike Gelatt capped off the period’s scoring at 7:28, unassisted to build a commanding 4-0 lead.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton did not relent on either end of the ice, as the team killed off two penalties, while Stoever stopped all 10 shots sent his way in the second.

Entering the third, the Knights left the door slightly ajar with a slew of penalties in the opening half of the period, serving three in the first eight minutes. The Generals capitalized on the second when Luke Perunovich notched his second goal of the season off assists from Mike Egan and Matt Demelis.

From there, the Knights buckled down. They were out-shot 14-13 in the third, but maintained a steady presence on the attack, forcing an eye-popping total of 45 shots on Fessenden on the afternoon. Stoever didn’t finish the day with a shutout, but held the NAHL’s top scoring offense to just one goal, stopping 32 of 33.

With the win, the Knights move within one point of the first-place Generals. They’ve won four in a row and haven’t lost in regulation since October 13th, resulting in a nine-game point streak. They’ll head to Johnstown next weekend for a two-game road trip on November 10th and 11th in their efforts to keep climbing the divisional ladder.