Tag Archives: Game Recap

Knights Offense Explodes in a Friday Night of Firsts

With the meeting of the number two and three seeds in the NAHL’s East Division underway in the Revolution Ice Centre Friday night, the words of head coach Tom Kowal earlier in the week rang heavy: “If we play Knights hockey, we’ve proven we can beat anybody in any division.”

The New Jersey Titans certainly qualified as somebody and are conveniently a part of the Knights division. The explosive rival entered Friday night with the second-highest goals per game average in the NAHL, and one more point than the Knights in the East Division standings. They brought with them Brandon Perrone, one of the league’s premiere goaltenders, who entered play with 14 wins-three against the Knights-and a .927 save percentage. To oppose Perrone, the Knights tapped David Tomeo, fresh off earning East Division Star of the Week for his two wins and .959 save percentage against the Northeast Generals last weekend.

The game began with an up tempo cadence. Both teams took turns trading dangerous rushes, with each goalie being tested early and often. The Knights offense, averaging 3.60 goals over their prior five games, struck first. Adrian Danchenko intercepted a Titans exit pass just under the blue line before finding Jack Olmstead charging down the ice. In a blink, the Knights had a 3-0 rush from the circles. Olmstead slid a perfect pass across the slot Mike Gelatt, who buried the opening goal against his home town and former team.

Three minutes later, the Knights took advantage of their second power play, when Reed Robinson, off helpers from Danchenko and recent Army commit Thomas Farrell, ripped a shot from the top of the zone past Perrone to build a 2-0 lead.

With the help of a sound Tomeo making 19 saves, plus a successful penalty kill late in the period, the Knights left the opening frame with a 2-0 lead.

After the first 20 minutes saw the teams combine for 39 shots, it was fair to question if the feat could be duplicated, let alone surpassed. The game’s middle period would find a way to top its predecessor.

The Knights peppered the net in the opening minute of the second, culminating in Mike Gelatt finding Jack Olmstead, who executed his second, perfect pass of the evening, this time to a crashing Mike Morrissey. Morrissey put the puck into the back of the net, but just after doing so, the momentum of both he and a back-checking Titan took out goalie Brandon Perrone. The netminder was forced to leave the ice for the remainder of the contest due to injury.

Rallying behind goalie Matt Ladd, the Titans scored less than a minute later when Hunter Alden fed Wade Novak the puck from down low to the bottom of the right circle. Novak ripped his 14th goal of the season past Tomeo to bring New Jersey back within two. Zachary Faremouth collected the secondary assist on the score.

Tyrone Bronte decided that was not acceptable. Following the start of the shift which saw his line chasing in their own zone, the Australian forward responded by taking a one-touch pass from Farrell, all the way to the Titans blue line. There, Bronte handed off to Justin Engelkes to create a 2-on-1. Engelkes found Bronte with a cross-slot feed to complete the give-and-go score to put the Knights back up by three, just before the two minute mark in the second period.

Engelkes and Bronte would keep the offense going five minutes later, when the former led the latter down the right wing, into Titans territory. From Engelkes, Bronte dropped the puck back to a trailing Adrian Danchenko who fired an initial shot off the pads of Ladd. Catching the rebound even with the goal line, Danchenko somehow found the open space, pocketing the puck in the corner of the net over Ladd’s shoulder for the 5-1 lead.

The Knights were far from finished. While being supported by continued excellence in net from Tomeo, the Knights survived a barrage of chances generated by a quick, but unlucky Titans forecheck. At 7:51, Reed Robinson grew the lead again with his second marker of the evening, good for his 22nd on the season. New arrival and affiliate defenseman Sean Detloff fed him the puck, off a secondary helper from Curtis Carlson. The assist for Detloff gave the Harrison Township, Michigan native his first NAHL point in his first game.

Another first would arrive near the period’s end. With Detloff and Titans first-time skater Rece Bergeman both on the ice, odds were decent that one of the two could find their first career goal. Luke Robinson had other ideas.

Tyrone Bronte took an Adrian Danchenko pass and circled his way deep into Titans territory. Pulling up on the left wing, Bronte fired back to the right side for a streaking Robinson, who ripped his best shot of the season top shelf, over the shoulder of Ladd for the Knights 7th goal of the contest.

The celebration, though memorable, wouldn’t last too long for Robinson as he quickly found himself a member of both teams’ sudden parade to the penalty boxes. Just 27 seconds after his goal, Robinson was assessed two penalties in an altercation with Titans forward Kyle Jeffers. Each was sent for roughing, but Robinson was assessed an extra two minutes for slashing. The ensuing Titans power play was short-lived, as they’d take a tripping minor less than a minute later to close the period in a stretch of 4-on-4.

The third period would follow suit, with the 4-on-4 quickly ending as a result of a Knights holding penalty just 28 seconds into the period. The 4-on-3 that followed for the Titans then turned back into a 5-on-4 with the return of Jeffers and Reed Robinson (serving Luke Robinson’s extra penalty). When play finally drew back even, both sides had failed to score a special teams goal.

The Knights penalty kill was smothering throughout the evening, going 7-for-7, and was again bolstered by Tomeo’s steady play in net. All totaled, the goalie from West Caldwell, New Jersey would stare down a staggering 53 shots on the evening, stopping all but one.

With more penalties periodically changing playing strenght on both sides for the rest of the period, the Knights would take advantage of a rate stretch of five-on-five with under five minutes to play. Joey Verkerke, a veteran defenseman in his second year with the Knights, has played brilliantly of late, particularly through his blue line’s smattering of injuries over the past week. With over 80 games in his career with the team, one thing the steady defender had yet to find was his first goal in a Knights uniform.

On an odd sequence at the 16 and a half minute mark, one that saw nearly every player on the ice pile up in the crease, Verkerke got the last piece of a puck that bounced off of bodies and sticks of Reed Robinson and Curtis Carlson in front, before Verkerke guided it through the pads of Matt Ladd. The Knights went wild in the ensuing celebration, putting the perfect cap on a nearly perfect evening.

What would turn out to be an 8-1 victory puts the Knights in second place in the East division, with a one point lead over the Titans. two teams will meet again tonight at 7:30 pm EDT.

Tonight is Billet Appreciation Night at the Revolution Ice Centre, where the Knights billet families will be recognized and honored in a pre-game ceremony. Admission for non-billets/player families is $5 at the door, while the game will be broadcast on www.hockeytv.com. Tune in and follow along on Knights social media and www.nahl.com/game-center/#/daily-schedule!

 

RECAP: Knights Fall to Rebels to Open Weekend

Game one of three for the Knights on the weekend saw them host the Philadelphia Rebels for their third-straight contest. The game began where last weekends’ left off-the Rebels scoring.

A long first period was kicked off by Brandon Stanley, who scored for the second-consecutive game, besting Knights starter David Tomeo off assists from Jimmy Glynn and Diarmad Dimurro.

The Knights would answer on their first power play of the evening, when Blake Kryska crashed down from the blue line to collect a Michael Morrissey rebound which he then put past Rebels goalie Ryan Keane. Tom Farrell picked up a secondary assist on a goal that snapped Keane’s impressive 149:05 shutout streak.

The Rebels would respond quickly. 17 seconds after their score, the Knights found themselves shorthanded for slashing. 1:21 into the man advantage, Ryan Patrick found Carson Moniz for the power play goal.

Philadelphia hit the gas after re-gaining the lead. From the top of the right circle, Aaron Maguyon fired a wrist shot by Tomeo at 9:56 to build a 3-1 advantage (Ryan Patrick, Carson Moniz). Auggie Moore duplicated the feat from the opposite circle a minute and a half later off a quick set up from Eric Olson.

Down 4-1, the Knights would re-gain their footing in the final six minutes of the period. Led by the Reed Robinson-Curtis Carlson-Lincoln Hatten line, the Knights offense bullied their way around the base of the Rebels zone to close the opening frame. Before the horn, Carlson set up Hatten in close, where the latter ripped a shot off the pads of Keane. The rebound found it’s way to a hard-charging Reed Robinson, who buried the rebound, bar down to cut the Rebels lead in half.

The Knights took the momentum into the middle period, a stretch of play in which they dominated chances on goal, but could not solve Ryan Keane. All totaled, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton out-shot Philadelphia 19-8 in the second, but could not add to their end of the scoreboard. Instead, Aaron Maguyon chased Tomeo on a power play shot that found its way through traffic just 6:22 into the second (Jensen Zerban, Dimurro).

Christian Stoever was welcomed rudely to the contest at 14:53 when Chase Hamstad buried the Rebels sixth goal off helpers from Dimurro and Jimmy Glynn.

Trailing by four to start the third, the Knights, to their credit, did not roll over. They were able to add ten more shots on goal, while holding the Rebels in check for over 19 minutes of the period. Curtis Carlson would again trim the deficit to three after the Knights captain beat Keane (42 saves) following Paul Cimilluca’s mad dash to the net, assisted secondarily by Reed Robinson.

The Rebels wouldn’t let the game go quietly however, as in the final seconds of play, Alex Frye cycled the puck to Luke Radetic, who found Carson Moniz crashing on the back door for the Rebels third power play goal of the game.

The 7-3 final was more lopsided than the balance of play, but the loss still counts as the Knights third-straight defeat. They will look to bounce back tonight at home against the Rebels once more with puck drop at 7:30 pm EST. Tune in on www.hockeytv.com and follow along on Twitter and Instagram at @wbsknights.

EHL: Knights Thwarted by Revniaga, Allard-Robitaille in Game 1

Photo: Jessica Kovalcin

Friday marked game one of the Knights EHL postseason, the first of a best-of-three series with the New York Applecore. A pitched first period saw starting goalies Thomas Walker and Benjamin Allard-Robitaille trade a flurry of saves, while each offense could only muster a goal per side.

The first tally came at the 15:45 mark of the opening frame, when Tyler Watungwa and William Case combined to set up Emerson Emery on a power play goal.

The early Knights lead would prove to be short-lived, as on a 5-on-3 power play, New York drew even off the efforts of Tanner Dalton, from Mark Revniaga and Kyle Warren.

The stalemate would continue into the second where Walker and Allard-Robitaille would again stymie the opposition, with the pair making a combined 42 saves in the first 40 minutes of play.

Though the Knights would own the larger share of chances on net, leading shots 27-18 after two, it would be Applecore that would secure the only score of the second period. At 16:24, Joseph Verboys cleaned up the loose change from Mark Revniaga’s crash to the net to give New York their first lead of the game. Elliot Friedow would collect the secondary assist on the tally.

Revniaga would continue to be a catalyst for the Applecore, as he scored the game’s next goal early in the third period. His third point of the night came off the inverse of the prior goal where Friedow supplied the primary with help from Verboys’ secondary to best Walker at 6:24.

The Knights efforts to climb back were continually stunted by Allard-Robitaille in net, as the ’99 from Quebec carried his team with 35 saves on 36 shots.

Matthew Boring put home an empty-net goal (Race Bennett) in the final minute of play to give the Applecore the 4-1 win in game one. The two teams will meet again Saturday at 5:40 pm EST. Tune in on hockeytv.com and follow along at www.easternhockeyleague.org!

EHL: Knights Win Third Straight in Showcase Sweep

Photo: Jessica Kovalcin

On day two of the EHL’s December Showcase, the Knights met the New England Wolves for the second time in under two weeks. The first meeting saw the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton foiled by the steady goal-tending of Brendan Boncore (37 saves on 38 shots) en route to a 2-1 Wolves win.

In round two, the Knights were determined to come home with a win and four points from the latest edition of the league’s showcase series. Monday’s matchup featured not Boncore, but Chris Mattone in goal for New England while Jared Stahel would man the pipes for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Both netminders were unflinching in the first half, as each side mounted quality on goal in a scoreless opening 24 minutes.

A three-penalty period for New England would finally come back to bite the Wolves, when with exactly one minute to spare in the half, Tyler Watungwa bested Mattone for the game’s first score. Power play helpers from Tyler Nielsen and Alex Morawski. Watungwa continues to be an asset since his Knights debut which came on December 9th against the same Wolves. After his scoreless first start, the Ottawa native has gone on to notch a point in each of his three games since.

The Knights used the momentum of the late score to start fast on the attack in the second. Just 3:27 into the half, Jake Nimeh found his third goal of the season, courtesy of a William Case helper. Acquired on December 1st, Case, like Watungwa, now has a three-game point streak over which he’s scored one goal and four assists.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton would continue to be backed by a steady afternoon in goal from Jared Stahel. After stopping all seven shots he faced in the first, the goalie turned away a second half upswing in chances, making 15 saves over the final 25 minutes. In conjunction with a solid effort in the net, the Knights kept the Wolves off the board on four second half power play opportunities, after killing off one in the first.

Between Stahel and solid special teams, the Knights continued to add to their lead. Rhett Padgett picked up his fourth goal of the season and the Knights second power play score of the contest at 12:37. Nate Chuckran continued the trend of new Knights scoring as he stretched his point streak to a third game with an assist on Padgett’s tally.

Chuckran would go on to score the game’s final goal just past the 20:37 mark off assists from Alex Morawski and Nick Peck. Morawksi is yet another Knight with an active, three-game point streak heading into the holiday break, with one goal and three assists over his last three outings.

At the final horn, the Knights stepped off the ice with a 4-0 win. Capping off a December in which he recorded a .925 save percentage and a 2.33 goals against over three starts, Jared Stahel finished with 22 saves in his first shutout of the season. The Knights special teams finished on a high note as well with their power play registering two goals in back-to-back contests, while their penalty kill was a perfect 9/9 at the December Showcase.

Needless to say, the Knights will enter the new year on a hot streak. In their last ten games, the team finished with a 6-4 record, scoring 4.00 goals per game, to 3.30 goal’s allowed. In their seven games in December, the Knights have seen their special teams surge on both ends of the ice. The power play converted on 23.3% of all chances while the penalty kill nullified 88.9% of shorthanded chances against. The trio of Nate Chuckran, William Case, and Tyler Watungwa have now amounted seven goals and 14 assists in 24 combined games played for the Knights.

The team won’t play again until after the new year in early January. The Knights organization wishes all its fans, players, staff, and volunteers a very happy, healthy holidays and a wonderful new year in which the Knights will be waiting to continue winning hockey!

NAHL: Phipps, Penalties, Slow Knights in Series Split

The Knights and Tomahawks met again Saturday night for the second round of a two-game bout. The Knights went looking for a series sweep, following their 2-1 victory in game one. On Saturday, there were faced once again with yet another slugfest in Johnstown.

With a rematch of both of Friday’s goalies setting the table, the Knights and Tomahawks went to work with yet another defensive first period. Each team was held to single digit shots as David Tomeo and Kade Phipps each answered every test sent their way en route to a scoreless, opening 20 minutes.

Each side also continued the trend of steady penalty kill, as the Tomahawks did away with their lone infraction in the first, wile the Knights erased two.

The second frame saw more of the same. Both sides bogged themselves down with multiple penalties, with neither cracking the scoreboard whilst on the advantage.

It wasn’t until the game’s 33rd minute in which the scoring drought ended. Set up on a quick Johnstown entry, Joe Kile pulled up on the right half wall and threaded a perfect pass to Ben Schmidling in the middle of the slot. The latter hammered home the Tomahawks first tally at 13:05, his seventh of the season.

Try as they might to respond, the Knights could not stay out of the box long enough to establish an offensive rhythm. Though their penalty kill withstood an impressive power play (13/13 on the weekend), Johnstown was able to grind down key attackers by forcing them to chase in their own end while shorthanded.

During a 4-on-4 in the final minute of the period, the Knights took a delayed penalty. Before they could touch up on the puck, Tomahawks forward Donovan Ott took advantage of the scenario when he grabbed the puck and hopped over the right side of the Knights blue line. From there he fired a shot off a Wilkes-Barre/Scranton defender before collecting his own rebound and firing it past Tomeo for the 2-0 lead.

That score would hold for the remainder of the game, as the Knights continued their march in the final stanza. Three more penalties added up to a limited forecheck in the third period, capped off by Phipps’ steady play in net. Unable to pull their goaltender until just past the 18:00 mark, the Knights saw time run out on any comeback effort.

With the loss, the Knights head into their final game before the holiday break firmly entrenched in second place in the NAHL’s East Division. They’ll have the opportunity to hop back into first when they play host to the New Jersey Titans on Wednesday, December 13th at 2:30 pm. The game will be broadcast on www.hockeytv.com. Stay tuned to Knights social media and www.wbsknights.com for all news and updates!

NAHL: Knights Top Tomahawks with 6-Goal Effort

Friday afternoon saw the Knights meet the Johnstown Tomahawks for the third-consecutive game. Following a Tomahawks shutout victory in the pair’s prior meeting, the Knights offense was hungry for a rebound.

Jack Olmstead found just that, only 1:06 into the first period of Friday’s contest. Off a shot from Curtis Carlson, set up by Luke Robinson’s pass, Olmstead flipped a loose puck past Tomahawks starter Britt League, the netminder who shut the Knights out last Saturday.

Less than 30 seconds later, Tyrone Bronte put the Knights up 2-0 with a shot from in front that just found its way past League. The assists came from Justin Engelkes and Anthony Firriolo at 1:33.

The Knights tacked on their third tally of the period when, on a power play, Tom Farrell hammered a laser to the twine for his third goal of the season. Helpers were credited to Michael Morrissey and Reed Robinson as the Knights took a commanding just shy of the halfway point of the period.

The Tomahawks, as they have in each game against the Knights in which they’ve trailed, clawed their way back, creating offensive pressure in the second half of the frame. Christian Stoever in net again for the Knights, stood his ground until Donovan Ott recorded his first goal since his return to the Tomahawks at 18:47. His first tally of 2017-18 came off a howitzer shot from the left circle, set up by Toby Sengvonxay and Ben Schmidling. The 3-1 score would hold through the end of the period.

The Knights began the second frame in much the same way as the first. The team started off well in transition, and on an odd-man rush in the first minute, Shay Donovan took a crisp pass from Mike Morrissey, fed by Adrian Danchenko and fired it past League, stick side for the 4-1 lead.

The Tomahawks answered a minute later when Carson Brière picked up goal number two of the season-his first with the Tomahawks-on a tip off Sengvonxay’s shot, with the secondary  apple coming from Cade Groton. The goal spurred a back-and-forth stretch through the next 10 minutes of play with two unsuccessful power plays for the Knights and one for the Tomahawks.

Johnstown broke through at 13:15 when Ott jumped off the bench following the expiration of a penalty. Ott, assisted by Brière, walked in over the Knights line, and with space, ripped his second goal of the game to bring the Tomahawks within one, a margin that held through the end of the second.

The third period began with another fast Knights start. 2:30 into the frame, Matt Kidney, set up by Reed Robinson and Michael Morrissey on a great denial of a shorthanded breakaway, notched the Knights second power play goal of the game. On the ensuing faceoff a Johnstown slashing sent Wilkes-Barre/Scranton right back to the man-advantage. Kidney found the twine again at 3:22 for his team’s third power play strike, with assists coming Blake Kryska and Mike Morrissey.

The goal gave the Knights the insurance they needed as the third developed into both teams trading penalties through much of the remainder of regulation. Each kill solidified to not allow a goal until the game’s final minutes.

Following their taking of a five-minute major with 4:56 to play, the Tomahawks gained late life when Donovan Ott completed his hat trick with a short-handed goal at 17:24. The tally was set up by a solid exit pass from Karim DelPonte to Samuel Solensky. The latter drove to the Knights slot before turning the puck back to the trailing Ott who pushed it by Stoever.

Despite pulling within two, the Tomahawks kept League in net for the remainder of regulation. Despite a pair of shorthanded chances, Johnstown could not narrow their deficit any further, as the Knights skated to their 14th win of the season. Their 31 points are the league’s and the division’s highest total.

The two teams will rematch tomorrow afternoon at 2:30 pm EST. The game will be broadcast on hockeytv.com. Follow Knights social media and visit www.nahl.com for updates.

Reminder: help the Knights check hunger! To any fan attending tomorrow’s game, bring three canned goods or non-perishable items to exchange for one free ticket. There is no limit to how many free tickets can be earned.

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!

 

EHL Recap: Knights Lose to Revolution on the Road

Knights can’t solve Logan Kramsky on the road.

The Knights traveled to Revolution Ice Gardens on Sunday to take on a division opponent in the Philadelphia Revolution. The Revolution welcomed the Knights with a quick score in the game’s first five minutes. Justin Meers was able to find the net on a power play with assists coming from Jackson Koblick and Hayden Ford.

The Knights offerings on the forecheck were consistently met by sound play from Philadelphia goalie Logan Kramsky. The Freehold, New Jersey native would prove to be tough to solve all afternoon for the Knights.

Philadelphia bested Knights goalie Jared Stahel at 13:33 when Sam Abouelhana found the net (Jake Faulkner, Martin Kapoian) to build a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.

In the second, the Revolution redoubled their approach, mounting 14 shouts on goal, but were turned away each time by Stahel’s steady play in net. The team’s spent a good portion of the period trading zones and penalties, but not goals, as the second period ended with the same score as the first.

With time decreasing and the stakes increasing, the third period became a war of attrition, fought by special teams units. After the eight minute mark, the Knights and Revolution combined for seven penalties.

As both goaltenders continued to shine in the face of grade-a chances, it was Philadelphia’s power play that finally broke trough. At 15:56 it was Déjà vu all over again as, as off a set up by Jackson Koblick and Hayden Ford, Justin Meers fired a rocket past Stahel to create a three-goal advantage.

The Knights didn’t go quietly in the third, pulling Stahel with under two minutes to play, but Kramsky continued his stellar play and in the end, preserved his shutout.

With the loss, the Knights are now 2-3 this season, and currently in third place in the EHL’s Mid-Atlantic division. They will play the NY Bobcats tomorrow at 2:30 pm inside the Revolution Ice Centre. Admission is free and the game can be viewed on hockeytv.com.

 

 

EHL Knights drop Opener to Little Flyers

Fuss notches pair of goals, but Little Flyers attack proves to be too much

The Knights return to the Eastern Hockey League pitted them against the Philadelphia Little Flyers, owners of the EHL’s best record in 2016-17.

Things began on the right foot for the Knights as veteran forward Jake Fuss weaved his way around Brendahn Brawley for the 1-0 lead. The play was set up by J.P. Natishan, who forced a turnover deep in the offensive zone before dishing the puck to Fuss for the score.

Ryan Galvin was quick to respond as less than two minutes later he beat Jared Stahel  from the slot, set up by sharp passing from Alex Ochterbeck and Sasha Miniouchine. The 1-1 tie would hold through the end of the period.

A quiet first half of the second period came to an abrupt end when the Knights were assessed a five minute major and a game misconduct at 11:54. After 2:50 of sound Knights penalty killing, the Little Flyers broke through.

Following a second Knights penalty that made it 5-on-3, Brendan Coughlin blasted a shot from the point to the twine for Philadelphia’s first power play goal (Magill-Diaz, Savel). Alex Ochterbeck (Coughlin, Hall) tacked on another power play score just 34 seconds later to give the Little Flyers a 3-1 lead.

Shortly after the major penalty expired, Philadelphia added another score off the efforts of Sasha Miniouchine from Nate Mickey. Avery Smith capped off the explosive end to the frame with a shorthanded goal after Cale Coor and Miniouchine flipped the ice from their own end.

The third period opened with the Knights trailing 5-1, but Jake Fuss’ dazzling puck work at 8:46 led to his second tally of the afternoon with Rhett Padgett picking up the helper.

Any chance of a rally was put to rest when Miniouchine picked up his fourth point and second goal of the game at 14:56, pushing the score to 6-2. The advantage would hold through the final horn, handing the Little Flyers their first win of the season and the Knights their first defeat. The two teams will meet again tomorrow at the Knights Revolution Ice Centre with puck drop at 1:45 pm.

Knights Lose Hard-Fought Game One

Knights skate with speed and physicality but can’t solve Mitens in series opener

The atmosphere was a lively one inside the Aston IceWorks for game one of the division semi-finals for round one of the Robertson Cup Playoffs. Facing a familiar and formidable foe in the Rebels, the Knights got off to a fast start in the first period.

With Aston’s focus in the first ten minutes on setting a physical tone with numerous open-ice hits, the Knights countered with fast skating and efficient passing. The result was an aggressive, yet flustered Aston attack and a buzzing Knights forecheck off the rush. Curtis Carlson generated a pair of strong chances, while Joe Schuler, Joey Kubachka and Reed Robinson all came within a few inches of each putting a goal on the board. Mareks Mitens anchored Aston’s defense from between the pipes and turned each away with a series of strong saves.

Around the 11:30 of the first period, the Rebels finally found their footing in the Knights zone. They began setting up and winning board battles directly behind the net and sending pucks to traffic in front. Their physical play began to bog down the Knights who had skated well and in quick for much of the period.

Still, Grant Valentine was sharp when pucks made their way to his net, and his sharpest save came as the first period was winding down. Rebels captain Dom Garcia found his way behind the Knights last line of defense and was floated puck to set up a breakaway. His rocket of a wrist shot was answered by an even faster snap of Valentine’s glove, as the netminder made a highlight reel save to rob Garcia of the game’s first score.

Not long after, the Knights were sent to the box for the game’s first penalty. Though Wilkes-Barre/Scranton stymied the Rebels first few attempts to gain the offensive zone-this included a timely clear by captain Tim Gelatt as a puck spun dangerously close to partially open net- the Rebels finally broke through when Drew Blackmun walked a puck through the right circle and placed it just under Valentine’s glove. At the horn, the Rebels took a 1-0 advantage into the dressing room, riding a strong finish to the period.

The Rebels parlayed their building offensive momentum into a fast start in the second, pressuring heavily in the Knights zone. Where Wilkes-Barre/Scranton had been sharp in sharp exit passes in the first, the Rebels were sharper in forcing turnovers in the offensive end to start the second. Still, odd bounces and a few more timely saves from Valentine kept Aston off the board.

One such bounce quickly turned the tempo of the period on its head. As Matt Kidney flipped a puck ahead from the middle of his own zone, it ricocheted off a Rebel forechecker and on to the stick of Curtis Carlson. Carlson, who had already generated a few scoring chances, exploded through neutral ice, and let go a snipe that beat Mitens over the shoulder, tying the game at 7:17.

With the goal came new life in the Knights legs. They flipped the ice and began to again generate chances off the rush as they did in the first. The speed of their attack began to force the Rebels to take penalties. The Knights would go to the power play three times in the period, but Aston’s top-ranked unit lived up to their reputation, allowing only a handful of shots on Mitens in 6:00 minutes of shorthanded play.

The Rebels offense came back to bite the Knights between the second and third penalty. At 14:10, Jensen Zerban maneuvered his way to the low left circle and fired a puck past a screened Valentine to re-establish a 2-1 lead. The Knights would finish the frame with a flurry of chances on Mitens, but the Latvian netminder was up to the task, stopping each of the heavy shots from Mike Morrissey, Reed Robinson, Dorian Dawson, and Tim Gelatt.

The effect of 40 minutes of fast, physical hockey took its toll to begin the third as both teams struggled to execute with their earlier efficiency. The Knights were given a fourth chance on the power play, and though Aston was again quick to clear the puck, Mitens stopped another chance from Curtis Carlson and fought through a screen to stick a puck wide.

Fresh off the kill, the Rebels created a few major chances of their own, having two shots shave the crossbar and another ring a post. The Knights weren’t short on opportunities either: Paul Maust drove hard behind the defense straight to the net, Vince Marino set up Joey Kubachka on a 2-on-1, and Jim Elser muscled his way through Aston’s last defenseman to get in alone, but all were stopped continued steady play from Mitens.

Grant Valentine was valiant in his efforts to go save-for-save, and the Knights, while allowing a few solid chances on their net, didn’t allow Aston to take control of the offensive zone. As time wound down, the Knights bench began to signal Valentine over to the bench, but twice as the netminder began to leave the crease, the Rebels collapsed on the puck in neutral ice and forced him back to the pipes. With 1:02 remaining on the clock, the Knights again tried to pull their goalie, but again were turned around, this time by Jensen Zerban. The Manitoba-native barreled through the defense and dragged a shot under Valentine’s pads as he crashed into the net.

The goal didn’t stop the Knights from finally pulling Valentine for the extra attacker in the game’s final minute, but the Rebels held Wilkes-Barre/Scranton out of the offensive zone to close out the remaining time.

With game one behind them the Knights head into a crucial game two tonight in Aston. The team skated with the Rebels for much of last night’s contest but will need to take greater advantage of power play and scoring opportunities. Faceoff is set for 7 pm. Tune in at hockeytv.com or follow @wbsknights on Twitter for live updates.