Tag Archives: August Nyblom

Knights Select Eight in 2018 NAHL Entry Draft

12 college commitments, six USHL Draft Picks, one East Division Championship; it’s a mantra that is repeated inside the Knights organization nowadays. The 2017-18 NAHL campaign ended a month ago. The group that left the Revolution Ice Centre in May set the bar higher than any previous group.

“Any time you have a team as talented as we did last season, you have to anticipate replacing a lot of players,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal. “Our staff did a great job scouting, recruiting and drafting last season. The challenge is to do it again. I’m confident in our ability to reload our roster and build a team that will allow us to not only make another run at the Robertson Cup, but also move a lot of players on to higher levels.”

With eight picks in Tuesday’s NAHL Entry Draft, the Knights believe they’ve added eight players that will help raise the bar even higher in 2018-19.

Round 1, Pick 13: Zach Stejskal, Goalie:

Draft day 2018 began with the selection of Zach Stejskal, an 18-year old goalie from Minnesota. Fittingly, the Knights trip to Skejstal’s home state for the Robertson Cup Final Four came thanks in no small part to stellar goaltending.

“We had a chance to take an established junior hockey goaltender that has already committed to a very good Division I school,” said Knights assistant GM Justin Schreiber. “With both of our goalies being drafted to USHL teams we felt like that was an area we needed to address early in the draft.”

Standing at a towering 6-4, Stejskal boasts an impressive resume complete with 32 games played in the USHL plus the aforementioned NCAA DI commitment. Last year he announced his commitment to the eventual 2017-18 NCAA National Champion Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs.

Round 2, Pick 37: Evan Orr, Defenseman:

Orr joins the Knights from a Little Caesars program that has produced an abundance of successful players for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The puck-moving blue-liner produced seven points in 11 games playing at the U16 level last season. For the past two years, Orr has also spent summers participating in Team USA development camps, most recently playing five games in the Selects 16 age group. Now 17, he’s already committed to a DI program in his home state, where he’ll one day join Michigan Tech.

“Evan has one of the best shots for a younger defenseman that our staff has ever seen,” said Knights assistant coach Andrew Whiteside. “His poise with the puck and ability to run a power play make him one of the top ’01 born defensemen out of Michigan. We are very happy to have Evan part of the Knights organization.”

Round 3, Pick 51: Davis Pennington, Defenseman:

With their first selection in the third round, the Knights went right back to the well for another left-handed defenseman from Michigan. Davis Pennington hails from the Detroit Honeybaked youth program after spending prior seasons with Belle Tire.

“Davis is a solid two-way puck moving defensemen who likes to join the rush offensively,” said Whiteside. “He’s been a big piece of the puzzle for every youth team he has skated for in Michigan. We are excited to add Davis to our already offensive blue line.”

Like Orr, Pennington has spent time developing at USA Hockey Camps in each of the past two summers. Playing for Honeybaked in the HPHL last season, Pennington picked up an impressive five goals and nine assists in 16 games played.

Round 3, Pick 61: Mathew Kahra, Forward:

With their second third round pick, the Knights added their first forward of the 2018 draft class, Mathew Kahra.

“Mathew is a pugnacious, yet skilled forward who is always around the puck,” said Whiteside. “His high compete level and playmaking ability makes him a threat in all three zones. He will provide us with the depth needed at the center position next season.”

The ’99 from Brighton, Michigan snipes well with his left-handed shot as he recorded 13 goals as a part of a 30-point season for his high school in 2017-18. Also playing in the Michigan Developmental Hockey League, Kahra averaged over a point per game, scoring 3-7-10 in nine contests for MDHL White last season.

Round 4, Pick 76: Beck Moore, Forward:

Advancing through the age brackets of the Colorado Thunderbirds hockey program over the last several years, Moore has made a name for himself with his well-rounded play.

“Beck is a physically imposing winger who has good size and moves really well,” said Schreiber. “He’s your typical power forward that plays a little bit of a heavier game but he has shown the ability to score and set teammates up as well.”

After being a member of a Thunderbirds roster crowned T1EHL U16 champions in 2016-17, Moore was named assistant captain of his 18U team in 2017-18. He went on to record nine goals and 25 points in 34 games before being drafted by the Knights.

Round 4, Pick 78: Samuel Vyletelka, Goalie:

After seeing both goaltenders from their 2017-18 roster drafted into the USHL last month, the Knights made it a point to restock their crease with premium talent. After adding Stejskal in round one, the Knights picked up their second goalie and second Little Caesars player of the draft.

“Samuel is an extremely athletic goaltender with quick reflexes and a tremendous ability to track pucks,” said Whiteside. “His experience at the international level with Slovakia will do nothing but help him at the NAHL level.”

A native of Slovakia and a past participant on their U18 roster in the Hlinka Memorial Tournament, Vyletelka brings size and skill between the pipes. In 30 games at the AAA level for Little Caesars last season, he kept his GAA to a sterling 2.03, while also maintaining a save percentage north of 90% at the T1EHL level.

Round 4, Pick 85: Will Otwell, Forward:

Otwell joins Reed Robinson and Lincoln Hatten as another player from the Dallas Stars hockey program to be recruited by the Knights.
“William is a very similar player to Lincoln Hatten who we drafted out of the Dallas Stars U16 program a year ago,” said Schreiber. “He has the power forward frame but is very skilled and can skate. He has a ton of potential as a late 2001 birth year.”
Already north of six-feet tall as a 16-year old, Otwell used his impressive size and talent to notch 11 goals and 13 assists in 36 games for the Stars last season.

 

 

Round 5, Pick 109: Ross Bartlett, Forward

With their final pick in the draft, the Knights added forward Ross Bartlett. A true veteran of junior hockey, Barlett comes to the Knights with plenty of experience. Over the past four years, the Florida native has played in 140 games across multiple junior leagues.

“Ross is an extremely skilled forward who has a ton of junior hockey experience,” said Schreiber. “His 100+ points in the Western States Hockey League last season speak for themselves.”

In 51 games in the WSHL this past season, Bartlett recorded 41 goals and 63 assists for the Ogden Mustangs.

Adding four forwards, two defensemen, and two goalies, the Knights have taken another significant step toward building their next contender.

“We came into the draft with a list of names we believed would help make our team better,” said Kowal. “We left the draft with those names on our roster heading into main camp.  We’re excited to get to work.”

EHL: Knights Complete Weekend Sweep of Rough Riders

Photo Credit: Jessica Kovalcin

Don’t look now but the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights are on a hot streak. The EHL Knights went to work this weekend in avenging a home-series sweep, suffered at the hands of the Connecticut Rough Riders at the beginning of October. On Sunday, the team had the opportunity to repay the favor at the SoNo Ice House in Norwalk, Connecticut.

Austin Weber got things going early for the Knights as the Alabama-native scored his second goal of the season, just 1:29 into the first period, assisted by Cody Rumsey and David Pfoestl. Starting again in goal for the Knights was Thomas Walker. The ’99 netminder slammed the door on all chances sent his way in the opening period, as the Knights defense limited Connecticut to 10 shots in the first.

Into the second, the penalty bug bit the Knights once more, as five infractions resulted in four power plays and the ejection of Knights captain and points-leader Jake Fuss. The Rough Riders turned those opportunities into a game-tying goal at 14:56, when Colin O’Connor potted a power play goal, set up by Nicholas Kukuris.

Tied at one after 40 minutes, both offenses turned up the heat in the final frame. The two sides each registered double-digit shot totals, as pressure mounted on both ends of the ice. At the 9:24 mark, Anthony Starzi kept his hot streak going, scoring the go-ahead goal off helpers from Denys Arkhypenko and Tyler Nielsen.

The Rough Riders answered back when August Nyblom scored unassisted on a power play at 12:45 to even the score once more.  Heading into the game’s final minute, the Knights found themselves shorthanded again. This time, it worked to their benefit. Nick Peck spearheaded a breakout that ended with Anthony Starzi feeding Tyler Nielsen for the go-ahead score with 49 seconds remaining.

The Knights and Thomas Walker (31 saves on 33 shots in the win) proceeded to hold off Connecticut with an extra attacker on the ice for the remainder of regulation on their way to their third-straight victory. With the win, the Knights improve to 10-16-0, putting them in fourth place in the South Conference, two points ahead of the Connecticut Oilers.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will next take the ice on Friday at 2:30 pm against the Philadelphia Little Flyers inside the Revolution Ice Centre, before hitting the road on Saturday and Sunday to play the Junior Flyers and Little Flyers in Philadelphia.

Stay tuned to Knights social media and www.wbsknights.com for news and updates!

EHL Recap: Knights Fall to Connecticut RoughRiders to End September

In game one of a home-and-home series with the Connecticut RoughRiders, the Knights battled well in the first and third periods, but were undone by sloppy middle frame.

The contest opened with the first tally being scored in the first five minutes. At 4:43 on a power play, Mitchell Parsons kicked off a big day with a tip in front that beat Knights goalie Jared Stahel, set up by Mattijs Ossorio’s point shot with a secondary helper from Colin O’Connor.

The Knights responded well to the score, picking up steam after a slow start, accumulating extended time in the offensive zone. They found their equalizer at 6:08 when Rhett Padgett’s shot from the blue line pinballed off of traffic in front to best RoughRiders netminder Jeremey Thelvén. The 1-1 tie would extend through the remainder of the first, with shots favoring the Knights 11-10 heading into the break.

The second period began on the right foot for Connecticut when Mitchell Parsons notched his second score of the game at 1:42, assisted by August Nyblom and Cullen Kane. Nicholas Kukuris came back at 4:21 with another RoughRiders tally, off a helper from Connor Boyce. 18 seconds later, they would strike again as August Nyblom added a goal (O’Connor, Parsons).

Former Knight Alex Rowella added his name to the scoresheet at 7:58 following a nice set up from Kukuris to create a 5-1 lead. Cullen Kane scored shorthanded five and a half minutes later to put Connecticut ahead 6-1 for the rest of the second. Knights goaltender Thomas Walker came on in relief to close out the period.

With the reset button pressed during the intermission, the Knights began the final 20 minutes with renewed energy. Their increase in quality chances built momentum that Jake Fuss turned into a goal through the fiver of Thelvén at the 5:55 mark (Anthony Starzi).

The uptempo attack in the first half of the third led to the RoughRiders drawing a penalty at 6:02. 13 seconds into the man advantage, Brady Hanson took a David Pfoestl pass parallel to the blue line and fired to the net, where a waiting Zach Ouladelhadjahmed re-directed it home for the score.

With the deficit trimmed to three, the Knights tried to bring back the magic that powered them to a four-goal rally in a win last Monday, but were ultimately denied by a stout RoughRiders backcheck the rest of the way. At the final horn, Connecticut skated away with the 6-3 win.

The two teams will rematch tomorrow, October 1st at 2:00 EDT at the Revolution Ice Centre. Admission is free and the game will be broadcast on hockeytv.com. Follow @WBSKnightsEHL and the box score at easternhockeyleague.org for live updates!