Tag Archives: Blake Kryska

Ice Dogs Down Knights In Fairbanks

The Knights started the second half of their Alaska road trip with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs, winners of 19-straight. Friday night’s action started quickly in favor of the home team, seeing Grant Ledford push a rebound past Christian Stoever for the 1-0 lead (Connor Chilton, Robert Blueger) at 6:04. The Ice Dogs dictated the early tempo, while Josh Benson stood down mid-period pressure from the Knights with a string of solid saves.

Following a Wilkes-Barre/Scranton turnover just past the 12:20 mark, Sam Ruffin recorded his 15th tally of the season, set up by Jack Johnston and Jax Murray. Fairbanks would cap a strong start with a third-straight goal, after Hunter Wendt swatted a puck out of mid-air on a dish from Daniel Haider, fed on by Noah Wilson.

In the second, the Knights first penalty would prove costly. Just over 30 seconds after being assessed a slash, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton couldn’t clear the netfront, where Robert Blueger deflected a piece of Erkka Vanska’s shot past Stoever for the 4-0 lead. Kyle Mayhew was credited the secondary assist on the power play goal.

Between the 9:17 and 10:42 marks, consecutive Fairbanks penalties nullified an Ice Dogs power play and turned four-on-four into an eventual 5-on-3 advantage for the Knights. They didn’t waste the opportunity. Curtis Carlson put his team on the board after refusing to quit on a Matt Kidney rebound. Multiple swats of the puck finally vested Benson to cut the Fairbanks lead to three (Kidney, Tom Farrell).

Before the second penalty’s expiration, Blake Kryska put a loose puck through Benson off a chance created by Farrell and Mike Morrissey. The goal marked Kryksa’s first in a Knights sweater.

Riding the wave of momentum, Mike Morrissey looked to add fuel to the fire when he and Connor Chilton dropped the gloves just shy of the 17:00 marker. Despite getting the better of the exchange of fists, the Knights could not solve Benson again before the close of the middle frame.

The third period reverted to the patterns of the first. Fairbanks resumed its control of play, outshooting the Knights 10-5. Each netminder traded quality saves, but the continual pressure applied to the Knights end of the ice resulted in little quality chances developing for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Down two scores late, the Knights were unable to gain the necessary space to pull Stoever (26 saves) until the game reached its final minute. Not long after he hit the bench, Sam Ruffin fired a puck into the yawning net to put the seal on a 5-2 Fairbanks win (Luke Orysiuk, Mayhew).

The Knights will look to finish their Alaska tour on a high note by snapping the Ice Dogs 20-game winning streak tonight at 11:30 PM EST/ 7:30 PM AKST. The broadcast will be available at HockeyTV.com, follow WBS Knights Hockey on Facebook, @wbsknights on Twitter and Instagram, and visit www.nahl.com for in-game updates!

NAHL: Knights Top Titans in Friday Night Thriller

After nearly two weeks away from home ice, the Knights returned to the Revolution Ice Centre in hopes to snap a three-game losing streak. Their opponent, the New Jersey Titans, entered play looking to climb the ladder in the East Division.

A heavy dose of chances dominated the opening frame, with the Titans mounting 20 shots on Knights starting goaltender David Tomeo. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s netminder responded with 20 saves and the Knights forecheck with 13 shots of their own.

Jack Olmstead would produce the mayhem’s only goal at 13:58, when Tyrone Bronte sprung the Knights co-leader in points free to the net. There Olmstead bested New Jersey starter Brandon Perrone for his 15th goal of the season. Matt Kidney, Olmstead’s partner at the top of the point sheet, picked up the secondary helper to put the Knights up 1-0.

Olmstead and Kidney would pair again to open the second period with power play goal. Kidney set up Blake Kryska who fed Olmstead for the 2-0 lead.

Penalties would prove to be the story of the second, as each side traded infractions and fists. Just past seven minutes, Kidney dropped the gloves with Justin Bofshever in a spat that saw Kidney ejected for removing Bofshever’s helmet.

Olmstead would take a seat in the box shortly after play resumed, and the Titans would score on the ensuing power play. Kyler Head would put the puck past Tomeo for his third goal of the season off an assist from Ryan Wheeler at 8:25.

The Titans took advantage of another Knights penalty at 14:43. On a delayed call, Tate Singleton found Todd Goehring who put a puck by Tomeo to even the score at two. Andrew Husted was credited with the secondary assist.

Into the the third, cooler heads would see the penalty minutes decline, but the significance of those taken would remain. The Knights would regain the lead at 10:16  when Reed Robinson powered his 12th goal of the season past Perrone (Lincoln Hatten, Michael Morrissey).

The Titans would respond three minutes later off the Knights lone infraction of the third. Eric Manoukian found Tate Singleton for yet another game-tying goal. The Knights Robinson-Morrissey-Hatten line would answer back two minutes later as part of a dominant period. Morrissey would find the net off a Reed Robinson helper to re-take the lead.

The trio’s third goal of the frame came in the final two minutes when Reed Robinson found the empty net, off apples from Shay Donovan and Mike Gelatt. The goal effectively put the game away as David Tomeo put the cap on a stellar 49 save performance and the 5-3 win. The Knights will be back in action against the New Jersey Titans in New Jersey at 7:30 pm this evening. Tune in at hockeytv.com and follow along on Knights social media!

Recap: Knights Drop Second Straight Against Fairbanks

In round two of Knights-Ice Dogs, Fairbanks would again prove to be a tough test for a Wilkes-Barre/Scranton team trying to keep pace with first place in the East.

As they did the day before, the Knights drew first blood Saturday on a beautiful set up by Tyrone Bronte. Off a pass from Blake Kryska, the Australian forward drove into the offensive zone 13 minutes into an evenly-fought first. As he approached the net of Ice Dogs goalie Josh Benson, Bronte faked a backhand before reversing course and flipping a puck back into the slot. A trailing Adrian Danchenko buried a snipe top-shelf to put the Knights ahead 1-0.

The first period wound to its final minute with the score intact, in what appeared to be a strong start for the Knights. With 53 seconds remaining, Sam Ruffin won an offensive zone draw to Jack Johnston, who fed the puck to a waiting Jax Murray in front. Murray buried his sixth goal of the season to knot the game at one.

Not content with the tie, the Ice Dogs would again take an offensive faceoff with under 10 seconds left in the frame. Off the draw, the Knights were able to muscle a puck to the wall, but Grayson Gavin and Connor Chilton combined to win the puck and push it to the net, where through a scrum, Hunter Wendt pushed it through Christian Stoever with one second left on the clock.

The quick leapfrog on the scoreboard didn’t result in the Knights collapsing; in the ensuing second, the team would again go toe-to-toe with the Ice Dogs, only to be foiled time and again by netminder Josh Benson. After helping fend off the Knights comeback on Friday with several grade-A saves, the Minnesota native duplicated his performance on Saturday, stonewalling all challengers through the final 40 minutes in what turned out to be a 31-save performance.

Before the second period’s conclusion, the Ice Dogs would build their lead to two when Noah Wilson and Grayson Gavin setup Connor Chilton, who weaved his way through the slot and past Stoever for a tally at 14:03.

The 3-1 advantage would hold firm well into the third, where the Ice Dogs defense limited the Knights to short stretches in the attacking zone. The chances that built toward the end of the period were nullified by Benson’s stellar play.

Tanner Schachle put any hopes of a late rally to rest at 16:13 when off a half-wall feed from Errka Vanska, the wide-open Schachle bested Stoever for the Ice Dog’s fourth goal. John Stampohar was credited with the secondary assist.

Time ran out on the Knights, as the team dropped its second-straight decision. They will look to rebound and take back ground in the East with a two-game road series against the Rebels next weekend. Stay tuned to Knights social media and www.wbsknights.com for all news and updates!

 

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!

Knights Charge through Day One of Showcase

Photo Credit: NAHL.com

Led by Steady Stoever, Knights withstand Bulls to improve to 3-0

The NAHL Showcase kicked off Wednesday, and in the Knights third trip to the event, they looked to stay undefeated on the young season.

Their first opponent, the Amarillo Bulls, also entered competition without a loss. Things started quickly for the Bulls. At 5:48, Michael McPherson put a pass from the corner on a line back to the top of the slot to find an open Marcus Chorney who fired a shot past Knights goalie Christian Stoever.

Stoever, in his first start with the Knights, didn’t blink. A third-round pick in this year’s NAHL Entry Draft, the ’00 goaltender made a slew of impressive saves throughout the afternoon to keep Amarillo flustered, even during their heaviest shifts of offensive pressure.

The Knights attack got its start in the second half of the opening frame. After minutes of sustained offensive pressure, Tyrone Bronte continued his stellar start to the season. The Australian import extended his point streak to three games after he ripped a Jack Olmstead offering off the doorstep and past Amarillo goalie Jason Grande.

34 seconds later, Matt Kidney led Curtis Carlson to the net where Carlson slipped his way around Grande for the 2-1 lead.

Fueled by their physicality and improved puck possession, the Knights continued to apply pressure in the game’s middle frame. They were rewarded in the period’s first minute when Mike Morrissey and Reed Robinson drove hard to the and planted a rebound beyond the reach of Grande to build a Knights 3-1 lead.

Robinson was credited the goal while Morrissey collected the primary assist, with the secondary serving as Blake Kryska’s first point of the season. Robinson and Morrissey’s battling was a staple of the Knights consistent attack through the second, with both players displaying their size and veteran status by winning up and down the ice.

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton defense, in-step with its quick-paced forecheck, won puck battles, made exit passes quickly, and kept the middle of the ice clear. Only in the second period’s final five minutes was the unit heavily tested in the form of two power plays in which they held Amarillo scoreless. Though they did not find the net, the Bulls power play pressure would be set the table for the third period.

In the final 20 minutes of regulation, Amarillo would regain the speed and pacing that enabled them to score the game’s opening goal. The Bulls consistency on the attack built as the clock wound down, while the Knights struggled to clear their own zone.

The culmination of Amarillo’s pressure and earlier power play efforts would converge at the 11:27 mark of the third period. Colin Price and Alex Truscott would combine to generate a loose puck in front of Stoever that was ultimately squeezed through by Jon Russell for the power play goal.

The score brought the Bulls within one, and the momentum fully to their cause. Despite this, the Knights defense and goaltending made plays when they had to, keeping their lead into the game’s final two minutes.

It was as the Bulls began to contemplate pulling their goalie for the extra attacker that they took a late penalty for head contact. In the game’s final minute, down by one, they had no choice but to trade their goalie for just a fifth skater.

With the crease vacant, Amarillo fought valiantly to tie the game. They were largely successful in keeping play in the offensive zone for the remainder of regulation, but the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton defense, coupled with Stoever withstood Amarillo’s rally long enough to secure the win.

Stoever earned his first victory in his Knights regular season debut, stopping 23 of the 25 shots he faced. Though he has had a head start on most of the league, Knights forward Tyrone Bronte is third in the NAHL in scoring with two goals and three assists through three games played.

The Knights will take their 3-0 record into a contest with the Shreveport Mudbugs tomorrow at 12:30 pm EST. The game can be viewed at HockeyTV.com. For real-time updates, follow @WBSKnights on Twitter and visit www.nahl.com/scores.

Knights Roster Breakdown III: Back End Reinforced by New Arrivals

With more than half the back end turned over from last season, the Knights excited by defensive additions

Continuity has been a theme for the Knights and the players protecting their defensive zone over the past two years. Names like Dorian Dawson, Tim Gelatt, Elijah Latimer, and Grant Valentine have been regular since the start of the Knights arrival to the NAHL. That’s all set to change as Gelatt, Latimer, and Valentine head to college, while Dawson attempts to make the USHL.

That list of names includes the team’s number one goalie for the past two years, last season’s top defenseman, its most recent captain, and one of the Knights program’s original players.

Needless to say, the team has an important task ahead in replacing some of its core defensive players. With expectations high, the staff is confident that the players that can are among those they’ve brought in this offseason.

“We’re really happy with some of the defensemen we’ve added to the roster this year,” said Knights assistant coach Andrew Whiteside. “This year, I think the biggest thing we wanted to improve on is size. I think we have some bigger, stronger defensemen this year.”

The International Pool

Cory Ellerton is the lone defenseman from abroad vying for one of the four import spots on the Knights roster.

From Pointe-Claire Quebec, Ellerton is a big-bodied, left-handed shot with an interesting blend of speed and strength. The 20-year old is coming off a season in the NOJHL where he scored two goals and 11 assists in 46 games with the Espanola Express.

He flashed at both ends of the ice at camp, but added a few productive shifts in the offensive zone tallying a goal and an assist.

The Tendered Defensemen

The Knights tender class continued its strong showing as Tom Farrell and Blake Kryska both turned in strong performances at main camp.

“Two guys who have really stood out this camp are Thomas Farrell and Blake Kryska,” said Whiteside back at main camp. “They’re exceeding our expectations right now, and we’re looking forward to big things out of them.”

“I’d say I’m more of a two-way defenseman,” said Farrell when asked about his skillset. “I’m more offensive-I like to join the play a lot. I just try to shut the opposition as much as possible.”

Farrell affiliated with the team last season. His playing time included valuable minutes in the Robertson Cup playoffs in which he did not look out of place. The big righty looks to make himself a regular in the Knights line up.

“Thomas’ elite skating ability and vision are his best attributes,” said Whiteside. “We feel his game will translate extremely well at the NAHL level and above.”

Kryska started off quickly at camp, scoring three goals in his first three games. His size, strength, and past NAHL experience will make him a strong candidate to push for a roster spot in 2017-18.

“Blake’s a steady presence on the blue line and his decision-making skills with the puck are beyond his age,” said Whiteside. “We expect Blake to log a ton of minutes on our back end this year.”

Luke Robinson wasn’t at main camp, but affiliated with the Knights last season, playing enough to warrant a comfort level with the Knights staff over his abilities.

“Luke is a big, physical presence in his own zone and has the skating ability to jump in and join the rush if the opportunity presents itself,” said Schreiber. “Luke’s hockey IQ is probably his biggest strength as he keeps it simple and minimizes mistakes.”

Robinson displayed his consistency in his prior league, playing in a total of 72 games over his past two seasons in the T1EHL U16, scoring 3-7-10 in 2015-16 and 1-8-9 in 2016-17, supporting the offensive dimension he has, accompanying his intelligence and physicality.

Camp Invites

Across the board, the Knights staff consistently praised the depth of their camp roster as more than a handful of invites will make their way back to compete at training camp.

Paul Luebke will be among those returning. The Wisconsin-native contributed two goals and an assist at main camp and has been a consistent performer in the USPHL prior to this season.

Hunter Macy was another steady defender throughout camp. With the Delbarton School in the USHS he scored 10 goals and 28 assists in 59 games over the last two years.

2000 birth year Jake Sandomeno was among the more productive defensemen in camp, scoring three goals and playing in the maximum of five games. In addition to a steady shot, the right-handed defender showed speed and a willingness to pinch hard from the blue line.

Goalies

With all goalies from the 2016-17 roster now departed, the Knights are taking all applications to take charge in net for the upcoming season.

Their most familiar choice is the former first overall pick from the 2016 NAHL Entry Draft. With the Northeast Generals last season, Dave Tomeo stood out in a late-season contest against the Knights in which he made a handful of dazzling saves.

Now a tender for the Knights, Tomeo flashed again flashed his abilities at main camp. His most spectacular moment came on a leaping effort from his knees, deflecting a puck wide of the net while tangled amongst several bodies in the crease. His habit for regularly making saves ‘he’s not supposed to be able to make,’ highlights his name as one to watch moving forward.

“David is a goaltender that comes with junior experience in both the USHL and the NAHL,” said Whiteside. “He has won at every level and we expect him to have a significant impact in our crease right away.”

Morgan Kelly, a ’98 who played in the T1EHL and BCHL last year, performed admirably through five games at camp-including both all-star games-as the California native looks to stick in Pennsylvania on his cross-country voyage.

Kevin Lake is from either further west than Kelly, and likewise would like to make the most of air miles by finding a home with the Knights. The big, 6-4 netminder is coming off an NA3HL season in which he appeared in 27 games for two separate teams.

USHL

Two players the Knights could add to their defense are third-round netminder Christian Stoever, who was taken in the 2016 USHL Futures Draft by the Des Moines Buccaneers, and fourth-round defenseman Mason Klee, a 2016 USHL Entry Draft selection by the Lincoln Stars.  Both will attempt to make their respective USHL teams in their camps in the coming weeks. Should they be released, the Knights would have the right to add them to their NAHL roster.

As a ’99 birth year who’s played the last two years in the T1EHL, Klee’s drawn attention for his ability to play a 200-foot game.

“Mason is a versatile defenseman that can make plays at both ends of the ice,” said Schreiber. “We valued his skating ability and his poise to keep things simple and not make mistakes under pressure.”

With the aforementioned job openings in the Knights crease, Christian Stoever has the talent to make a strong case for the position. Standing at 6-3, 165 pounds, the 17-year old showed athleticism and sharp reflexes over four games at Knights main camp, impressing the staff with his consistency and poise, and most importantly, his immense upside.

Like Klee, Stoever is a veteran of the T1EHL and spent last season as a teammate to Knights first-round pick Gabe Temple.

The Knights report to training camp at the beginning of September and will open their season against the New Jersey Titans at the Revolution Ice Centre at 7:30 pm on Friday, September 15th. Tickets can be pre-ordered by calling (570)-883-1100.

 

Knights Open Main Camp Excited by Prospects

With eyes ahead, team enjoys productive, competitive opening to camp

The Knights took the Pennsylvania heat to the ice Wednesday afternoon as they forge ahead to write their next chapter in the NAHL. The talent that took the ice on Wednesday mixed speed and grit with NAHL tenure and fresh legs.

“It’s very evident that our assistant coach Andrew Whiteside and head scout Justin Schreiber, two guys who head our scouting program and our recruiting, along with all the others that have helped us, that they’ve really done a great job this past year,” said Knights NAHL head coach Tom Kowal. “They pounded the pavement. We have eight teams with a lot of great talent and that’s a good problem to have.”

Over the course of the past year, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton staff has been scouring the hockey world for talent to bring to the 2017-18 season and beyond. Main Camp not only brings together the subjects of their search, but tests their scouting through competition.

“It is big week for us,” said Knights head scout Justin Schreiber. “Andrew Whiteside and I spent a ton of time on the road, and this week is kind of the culmination of everything. It all comes together-draft picks, tenders, and returners. This week is big. That being said, the games today were really high-paced. I’m pretty impressed with the level of play. I’m excited to see what carries over to day two.”

Formed from a massive pool of Knights veterans, tenders, draft picks, and invitees, eight teams played four games this afternoon. They’ll play eight more games tomorrow before the camp roster is trimmed into two all-star teams. Those teams will fill out the remaining available spots on the Knights roster.

“We want guys who play with grit, said Schreiber.” It’s important for us to find forwards that mix that skill and grit together and defenseman that are both gritty and mean-guys that have a little gravel in their gut. We want guys who bring the lunch pail and their boots to work every day and at the end of the day, we want our team to be really hard to play against. I think that showed itself here on day one.”

Returning veterans wasted little time in making an impression. As last season’s leading scorer, it only was only fitting that Matt Kidney would punctuate his team’s game one victory by burying a shot top shelf from just inside the blue line. Mike Gelatt rattled the boards down low, Paul Cimilluca potted a goal off a 2-on-1 rush, Mike Morrissey consistently inhabited his opponent’s crease, Curtis Carlson blazed through back-checkers to create chances, while Paul Maust and Reed Robinson took turns putting pucks in the twine. When they weren’t on the ice, the same players were engaged off of it, attentively following each game, eagerly surveying each potential new team mate.

“They’re the ones that get us going,” said Kowal. “They set the bench mark. It’s their job right now. I told them, that veterans have to be veterans. They’re not rookies anymore. Those are the guys that have to lead the charge. If we don’t have good leaders, we’re not going to have a good hockey team. I’ve really been pretty hard on my veterans this past summer to make sure they’ve been working out, to make sure they’re ready. So far I’m pretty happy with the way they are looking right now. Even walking in, they look bigger. They’re buying into the organization’s standard right now. Just making the playoffs isn’t good enough anymore. We’re going into our third season-round one isn’t good enough. We need a round two-we need a round trip to have a successful season.”

While the veterans set an early tone, newer players made their impacts known. Tendered defenseman Blake Kryska notched two goals in his first game. Tom Farrell, a big blue-liner who, like Kryska, spent a few games with the Knights last season, tallied a goal in his first game as well. Goalie Dave Tomeo, once a Knights opponent, was calm and steady in between the pipes.

Draft pick Lincoln Hatten showed off an impressive combo of size and speed, creating a few odd-man advantages by streaking past the last defender. First round pick Gabe Temple displayed impressive stick handling as he appeared unrelenting in attacking the offensive zone.  Christian Stoever, the lone goalie selected by the Knights in this year’s draft, impressed with several acrobatic saves.

All newcomers and veterans will get another chance tomorrow to make an impression as the Knights take further stock of their new roster. For the players that in camp only by invitation, Kowal offered encouragement.

“They should just be who they are,” said Kowal, “We can only draft and tender so many guys. There’s a lot of great hockey players out there. It seems like every year-and I’ve been doing this for 15 years-a kid that we didn’t draft, didn’t tender, a kid who hasn’t played a game for me in his life makes the team. It’s just that blue-chipper that no one knows who slips through the cracks, that comes out here and has a really good weekend, impresses our staff, and ends up being a Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knight.”

Game one begins at 8:30 am as Navy takes on Purple.

Knights Complete Tender Class for 2017-18 Season

Group of five forwards, four defensemen and one goalie full of potential

As the Knights prepare for tomorrow’s 2017 NAHL Draft, they do so bolstered by the confidence of having already assembled an exciting tender class for next season. Each year, NAHL teams are given 10 tenders, or agreements used to secure player rights within the NAHL for the upcoming season. Over the past year, the Knights staff has been busy scouting across the country and the world, for future players. Their efforts have culminated in a group of ten players, versatile in skills, positions, and experience.

“Our staff has put in a lot of hours to build this list and we’re really pleased with how it came out,” said Knights NAHL head coach Tom Kowal. “There’s a lot of talent in this group. I’m excited to bring them together and work with them this summer. It’s a group that could really play a big part for us this coming season.”

Jack Olmstead, Forward, Little Caesars U18, HPHL U18

As an affiliate player with the Knights NAHL team last year, Jack made an immediate impact by scoring a goal in just his second NAHL game.

“The biggest thing that jumps out at you when you see Jack play is his character,” said Knights scout Justin Schreiber. “He just plays the game the right way; he’s a high character guy on and off the ice and has a ton of offensive skill.”

That skill was put on the display for the Little Caesars U18 team where the lefty forward tallied nine goals and 17 assists in 17 games. The scoring prowess, attitude and prior NAHL experience has the Knights excited for his potential.

Tyrone Bronte, Forward, Meijer AAA Hockey 18U, NAPHL 18U

Bronte was a part of a U18 D2B gold-medal finish for his home country of Australia at the World Junior Classic last season. The Heathmont, Victoria native led his team with six goals and six assists in five games played. The leading scorer trend continued stateside where he scored 12 goals and 24 assists in 18 games with Meijer AAA Hockey in the NAPHL 18U.

“Tyrone brings great offensive instincts and skills to our organization right away,” said Schreiber. “He thinks the game really well, which pushed him to lead the NAPHL in scoring this past year.”

Thomas Farrell, Defenseman, Chicago Mission U18, HPHL U18:

Farrell, another 2016-17 affiliate player, impressed enough to earn a call-back to help a Knights roster in the Robertson Cup Playoffs. In five total games, the 6-1 defenseman skated well in the minutes he was given and added a goal for good measure.

“Thomas’ elite skating ability and vision are his best attributes,” said Knights assistant coach Andrew Whiteside. “We feel his game will translate extremely well at the NAHL level and above.”

In 22 games with the Chicago Mission U18, Farrell demonstrated that ability with big minutes and a solid stat line of a goal and eight assists.

Josh Fricks, Forward, Sioux Falls Jr. Stampede 18U

A native of Laguna Niguel, California and most recently a member of the Sioux Falls Jr. Stampede 18U Tier -1 AAA program, Fricks is another skilled forward with plenty of points on the resume. This past season the 1998 birth year registered 23 goals and 35 assists in 40 games played.

“Josh is an extremely gifted and skilled forward who put up a ton of points this year with his midget U18 team,” said Whiteside. “We feel that Josh will complement our returning core group of forwards right away.”

Blake Kryska, Defenseman, Oakland Jr. Grizzlies U18, T1EHL U18

Kryska is another defenseman with NAHL experience, the most recent coming with the Knights in the 2016-17 Robertson Cup Playoffs. All totaled, the ’99 birth year has already amassed a healthy amount of work in the NAHL to accompany 13 games played in the T1EHL U18. There the big-bodied defenseman posted a line of one goal and six assists for the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies.

“Blake’s a steady presence on the blue line and his decision-making skills with the puck are beyond his age,” said Whiteside. “We expect Blake to log a ton of minutes on our back end next year.”

Luke Robinson, Defenseman, Dallas Stars AAA U16, T1EHL U16

The Knights again bring back a familiar face as Robinson is another former affiliate player the team saw in action last year. To have that experience before his 16th birthday is an impressive feat, one not lost on the Knights staff.

“Luke is a big, physical presence in his own zone and has the skating ability to jump in and join the rush if the opportunity presents itself,” said Schreiber. “Luke’s hockey IQ is probably his biggest strength as he keeps it simple and minimizes mistakes.”

Robinson displayed his consistency in his prior league, playing in a total of 72 games over his past two seasons in the T1EHL U16, scoring 3-7-10 in 2015-16 and 1-8-9 in 2016-17, supporting the offensive dimension he has, accompanying his intelligence and physicality.

David Tomeo, Goalie, New Jersey Hitmen, USPHL

A former opponent, Tomeo made his lone NAHL start last year against the Knights in the final stretch of the regular season. Though the Knights were ultimately victorious that afternoon, Tomeo made a lasting impression with a flurry of impressive saves.

“David is a goaltender that comes with junior experience in both the USHL and the NAHL,” said Whiteside. “He has won at every level and we expect him to have a significant impact in our crease right away.”

In 11 games in the USPHL Premier last season, Tomeo backed up his impressive showings at other levels with a GAA of 2.18 and a save percentage of .925 in 11 regular season games.

Andrew Wells, Forward, Esmark Stars U16 AAA, NAPHL 16U

Already 6-1 at 17 years old, Wells is a power forward coming out of U16 but with that the right-handed forward brings more than just physicality. In 73 games with the Esmark Stars last season, he picked up 35 goals and 37 assists in 73 games played.

“Andrew plays a true power forward game,” said Schreiber. “His mix of size, physical play, and offensive ability is very exciting. His ceiling is very high and we are excited see how he develops.”

Dominik Bogdziul, Forward, Binghamton Jr. Senators, NA3HL

Bogdziul is another member of the Knights tender class that has represented his country at World Juniors this past season. A member of team Lithuania in the WJC U20 D2A, Bogdziul scored four goals and eight assists in five games played in a gold place finish in the tournament.

In the NA3HL last season, he tallied 46 goals and 89 assists in 50 games played for the Binghamton Jr. Senators.

“Dominik creates a ton of space and offense for his teammates,” said Whiteside. “His speed along with his skill set make him a threat all over the ice.”

Kolby Klingenmeyer, Defenseman, Colorado Thunderbirds U16, T1EHL U16

The most recent addition to the Knights tender class, Klingenmeyer is a right-handed defenseman born in the year 2000. Still just 16, Klingenmeyer is coming off an impressive season for the Colorado Thunderbirds last season, as the 6-1 blueliner scored three goals and 21 assists in 32 regular season games. He added three more goals and five helpers in five playoff games.

“Kolby is a defenseman that brings a nice offensive element to his game,” said Schreiber. “He doesn’t sacrifice size or physicality with that either, which makes him an exciting guy to bring to our defensive group.”

The Anchorage, Alaska native has the ability and production that can’t be ignored.

With the tender class squared away the Knights will add to the list of potential newcomers in the 2017 NAHL Entry Draft, tomorrow at 2 PM EST. The draft will be broadcast on www.hockeytv.com and a live tracker will be available at www.nahldraft.com. Follow live updates on the Knights picks at www.wbsknights.com as we bring you the profiles of each draft pick complete with input from Knights staff.