Tag Archives: Game Recaps

Friday Final: Knights 4, Rebels 2

Friday’s match up with the Philadelphia Rebels pitted the Knights against their division rivals for the fourth consecutive game. Having lost the prior three meetings, the Knights entered play determined to reverse the course of the last week of play.

Christian Stoever and the Knights defenders withstood a barrage of Early Philadelphia chances, as the Rebels jumped out to an early shot advantage of 11-2. The Knights swung the pendulum in the opposite direction near the midway point of the opening period, capitalizing on a failed, yet aggressive power play to build offensive chances.

At the 13:25 mark, Michael Morrissey surprised goalie Eli Billing as he came out to play a puck behind the goal line. Billing was able to hand the puck off to a teammate, but in the hurried exchange, the puck was pulled free by Morrissey. The Knights assistant captain found Jack Olmstead further behind the line, where Olmstead then fed an open Mike Gelatt in front. The other assistant captain buried the puck over the shoulder of the returned Billing to claim the 1-0 lead.

The Knights barrage of chances increased in wake of the goal, and in the period’s final minute they would strike again. Tyrone Bronte, off helpers from Thomas Farrell and Blake Kryska, burst down the right wing and around the last Rebels defender. In the process, the Australian forward cut sharply in front of Billing, who opened the five hole just wide enough for Bronte to slip the puck through, putting the Knights up 2-0 in the final minute of the first.

The lone score of the second period would come quickly, as in the period’s first minute the Rebels committed an early slashing penalty. Instead of the Knights power play cashing in, a quick Wilkes-Barre/Scranton turnover at the top of the Rebels zone turned into a 2-on-1 shorthanded rush the other way. Auggie Moore deftly slid the puck across the Knights zone to a crashing Eric Olson, who ripped a shot past Christian Stoever to halve the Knights lead.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton would respond with a heavy dose of shots through the remainder of the man advantage, but Eli Billing (33 saves) had settled in. The ’97 netminder stopped a staggering 20 shots in the period to keep the Knights to just two goals in the game’s first 40 minutes.

In the third period, play slowed through the first 10 minutes. Shots registered in just the single digits as each side played catch through neutral ice. Finally the Knights broke through when Shay Donovan slid a puck to Lincoln Hatten to create a 2-on-1. Hatten, in a mirror image to Olson’s earlier shorthanded assist, slid the puck perfectly across the slot to the streaking Reed Robinson. The Rockwall, Texas native blasted a puck past the sliding Billing to establish a 3-1 lead for the Knights at the 7:12 marker.

The Rebels would not go quietly. After being blanked on their first two power play tries, Philadelphia would return to their usual success, just past the 13:30 mark in the third. Carson Moniz fed Aaron Maguyon, whose shot forced Christian Stoever to make a diving save. While the rebound kicked out to Jensen Zerban, Stoever hit the ice. Unable to reset and stand in time, Stoever (37 saves) and the Knights could only watch as Zerban cranked home his 17th goal of the season, trimming the lead back to one.

With time winding out, both sides fired up their final pushes to a conclusion. With just over a minute remaining, Billing left the net for an extra attacker. Shortly thereafter, Tyrone Bronte broke out of his own zone with a pass through the middle of neutral ice to Adrian Danchenko. With a deft one-touch pass, Danchenko found Matt Kidney in the middle of the offensive zone. Kidney walked the puck to the open net before emphatically slamming the door on the Rebels comeback.

The empty net goal brought about the final score of 4-2, with the Knights securing their 25th win of the season. They’ll look to keep their momentum rolling with a road trip to New Jersey Tonight for a 7:00 pm EST puck drop against the New Jersey Titans. A regulation win would pull the Knights into a tie for second place in the East with the Titans, a spot which Wilkes-Barre/Scranton held for the majority of the season. Tune in on www.hockeytv.com, and follow along on Knights social media:

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NAHL: Knights Fall 3-0 to Rebels

Friday night saw the Knights travel to Philadelphia for the first of two showdowns with the Rebels this weekend. The game got off to a quick start as the Knights controlled the jump off the opening faceoff. Their efforts were kept at bay by Rebels goaltender Ryan Keane, who came up with difficult saves early and often to keep the game scoreless.

Keane’s equal in net was Christian Stoever (39 saves) who likewise stonewalled multiple quality chances in the opening twenty minutes. The Knights were given the benefit of a power play with 28 seconds remaining in the first. Their first rush into enemy territory was thwarted only by Keane and a lone Rebels defenseman who combined to block a shot in close and deflect a bouncing puck just wide of the crease to close the frame.

The tables would turn in the second as Philadelphia nullified the remaining time on the kill before quickly re-establishing their quick forecheck upon their return to full strength. Around the 4:00 mark, Konur Peterson win the puck down low and circle the net before finding Peter Zhong in front. Zhong would fire home his first goal of the season to give Philadelphia a 1-0 lead. Alex Frye collected the secondary assist on the score.

Backed by continue steady play from Keane, the Rebels would force a power play opportunity just past the halfway point of the period. 30 seconds later Aaron Maguyon would push past the last line of Knights penalty kill and rip a shot past Stoever for the 2-0 lead (Jensen Zerban, Kolby Vegara).

In the third, the Knights push back was kept in check by steady Rebels play in their own end. On their third power play try of the contest, Ryan Patrick re-directed Nicolas Appendino’s shot to the twine to build a definitive 3-0 advantage.

Time ran out on the Knights and their effort to erase the deficit, giving Ryan Keane a 24-save shutout. The pair of teams will meet again tomorrow on NHL ice at the Wells Fargo Center at 7:05 pm EST. Follow along on Knights social media and www.nahl.com!

Series Recap: Knights Take Two of Three from Generals

On a busy weekend for the Knights, the program’s NAHL team hosted three games against the Northeast Generals, their standing neighbors in the East division.


Game one took place Saturday after weather forced Friday’s contest to be moved to Monday. The evening affair started quickly, with the Knights on the attack courtesy of a pair of power plays generated in the opening minutes of the first. Though the Knights were kept at bay by Northeast netminder Marko Sturma, the chances created served as a springboard into a high-tempo forecheck for much of the remainder of the game.

Despite the early dosage of shots against, the Generals picked up their attack in the second half of the frame, repeatedly testing Christian Stoever in goal for the Knights. Though the 2000-born goaltender would make 11 first-period saves, Northeast would finally break through at 17:42 when Alex Cohen beat Stoever on a wraparound to the left post (Matthew Rutigliano, Sviatoslov Kuchynski).

Determined to leave their scoring slump in February, the Knights broke into the scoring column quickly in the second. Joey Verkerke initiated a two-on-one for Jack Olmstead and Mike Gelatt into Northeast territory where Olmstead found Gelatt in the right circle where he ripped a perfect shot past the glove of Sturma to even the score at one.

The Generals provided a response just over 60 seconds later, when Louis Boudon sprung free in the slot to re-direct Colin Bilek’s point shot past Stoever. Jeff Skinner picked up the secondary assist to put the Generals back ahead by one.

Stoever would do well in the second to stave off further Generals momentum,  making a few sterling saves to keep the Northeast lead to just a single goal.

Just prior to the halfway point of the period, Mike Gelatt would again find himself on an odd-man rush, this time accompanied by Reed Robinson. The pair would play catch as they gained the Northeast blue line before Robinson roofed a perfect shot from the left circle to once again bring the Knights even.

In the  third, Northeast would jump ahead again, this time via a Cam Gaudette laser from the far circle, set up by Matt Demelis and Justin Jallen. The tally was Guadette’s first in the NAHL, and gave Northeast momentum that would carry through the first half of the third stanza.

As time ticked away, Stoever would again deny several strong chances from the Generals attack, to keep the Knights within striking distance of the deficit.

At 12:46 his efforts were rewarded with yet another Knights equalizer. On a controversial play in which Sturma was contacted in the Generals crease, Mike Gelatt willed the puck on goal, creating a rebound that Matt Kidney buried to knot the game at three. Despite a long conference by officials, the goal was allowed to stand.

60 minutes would prove to be not enough time for either side to emerge victorious. In the three-on-three overtime period, Stoever and company denied an early Generals push before taking over possession for the majority of the five-minute span. Marko Sturma came up with his best save of the game late in the frame when he fell backward on Adrian Danchenko’s shot in close to somehow preserve the tie. At the next horn, the score remained even at three, sending the contest into the shootout.

Neither goalie flinched through the first two rounds, but Louis Boudon scored in the top of the third to provide the potential game-winning tally. The Knights sent out captain Curtis Carlson in a do-or-die scenario to try to force a fourth round. The veteran forward responded by firing a perfect shot past Sturma that went bar-down to move the showdown onto yet another round.

In the fourth, Brian Chambers was turned back by Stoever, while Reed Robinson had the puck roll off his blade on what looked like a game-winning move to beat Sturma. Matt Demelis was stoned in the fifth bringing on Matt Kidney for the Knights.

The veteran winger raced down the ice before burying the walk-off wrister over Sturma’s shoulder, sending the Knights home with two points, maintaining their slim lead over Northeast for third place in the East division.


In the middle game of the series, the Knights attempted to channel the rush of Saturday’s shootout victory into another two points on Sunday. There to spoil the party was Generals goalie David Fessenden. The hulking ’98 has long tormented Knights scorers since coming to Northeast midway through last season.

At 6-5, Fessenden was in his usual form against the Knights early and never let his performance falter. After weathering a Wilkes-Barre/Scranton surge in the first half of the opening period, the Generals erupted for four goals in the final 7:32.

The first came from Matthew Rutigliano off assists from Sviastoslov Kuchynski and Ryan Rowland just shy of the 12:30 mark. Justin Jallen followed that with a power play snipe at 13:51, with Kuchynski again supplying the primary helper, while Brady Guadette picked up the secondary.

The Gaudette family continued rolling as Brady’s brother Cam found the net for the second-consecutive game less than 30 seconds later, off set ups from Mike Egan and Matt Demelis.

Demelis would cap the dominant stretch with a rifle of a wrist shot that squeaked through Christian Stoever’s pads at 17:54, after the Northeast forward was able to get behind the Knights last line of defense (MIchael Higgins, Brian Chambers).

After regrouping in the first intermission, the Knights came out in the second with better resolve. David Tomeo replaced Stoever in net and stopped 20 shots without allowing a single goal over the final two periods of play. In that same stretch, the Knights pushed back well, but not enough to rattle their nemesis in net in Fessenden.

Michael Morrissey would supply the lone tally of the second period, his tenth of the season, after Adrian Danchenko barreled through bodies down the right half-wall to find Morrissey open in the slot. Tom Farrell picked up the secondary assist on the goal at 8:27. The next marker wouldn’t come until 14:21 in the third, when Mike Gelatt collected his second score of the weekend off assists from Jack Olmstead and Tom Farrell. The late strike would provide the Knights confidence, enough to pull Tomeo with just over four minutes to play.

The bold strategy would be hindered by a Wilkes-Barre/Scranton penalty about a minute and a half later, forcing Tomeo back to the crease. Once the Knights cleared the zone they again pulled their goalie to the bench, but on this try Northeast quickly capitalized, with Justin Jallen putting home the easy power play, empty net goal at 18:50 (Brady Gaudette, Ryan Rowland). When the clock struck zero, the Knights were beaten 5-2.


With each side having recorded a victory, plus an additional Generals point due to their shootout loss in game one, Monday’s contest saw just a single point separate the third-place Knights and fourth-place Generals. With standing and future playoff implications at stake, the early play belonged to each of the starting goaltenders; David Fessenden for the Generals and Christian Stoever, back in net for the Knights.

With 18 shots between sides stopped in the first, the first tally would serve as a major boost for whichever offense could end the scoring drought in the second. For the first time in the three-game series, it would be the Knights that would find the game’s first goal.

Matt Kidney, who scored the game-tying goal plus the shootout winner on Saturday, kept his hot streak rolling with his 15th strike of the season at 10:58. Justin Engelkes kicked off one of the best offensive sequences the Knights have had on any shift all season. The Miami of Ohio commit jarred a puck free at the top of the Generals zone where he leveled a Northeast player with a clean check just under the blue line. The loose biscuit bounced its way over to Tyrone Bronte who deftly maneuvered through Northeast’s traffic before sending a beautiful pass to an open Kidney in front for the emphatic score.

Despite the strong execution, the Generals wouldn’t go quietly in the second. Jeff Skinner played a Louis Boudon rebound off the back wall perfectly to beat Stoever with a heavy shot at 14:30 in the second. Colin Bilek recorded the secondary assist on the game-tying goal.

By all appearances it looked as if the third period was building up for another hotly contested finish and perhaps another one that would need overtime. Instead, the Knights assembled what could be considered their most dominant period of the season.

After two months in which consistency has eluded the Knights and what was for much of the season, a high-powered offense, the floodgates opened in Monday’s third period.

Just under a minute in, after collecting a pass form Adrian Danchenko, Mike Morrissey slid Reed Robinson a perfect cross-slot feed where Robinson was able to poke an easy goal home. The tally was his 17th of the season, moving him into second on the list of Knights goal scorers.

Just over six minutes later, Tom Farrell forced a turnover at the top of the Generals zone and fed it to Jack Olmstead. The East Division Star of the Week’s lead pass found Curtis Carlson alone in front of Fessenden where the Knights captain made a nifty move to go bar-down for the 3-1 lead.

In a period in which the Knights relentless forecheck out-shot the Generals 22-2, David Fessenden did the best he could to keep the game within comeback distance for Northeast. His play didn’t allow the Knights to run away with the contest, but for their part Wilkes-Barre/Scranton would not allow any time or room for the Generals to mount a comeback at even-strength.

Under siege in their own zone for much of the final period, things slipped further away from the Generals late when their lone power play of the frame resulted in as many shots against as it did for. It was cut short by 26 seconds when Northeast was called for too-many-men during a line change. The result saw Fessenden pulled with under two minutes remaining to make the 5-on-4 a 5-on-5 with an empty net.

The Knights foiled the approach with just under a minute to play when Jack Olmstead hopped on a puck at the top of the Generals zone and skated it to the empty cage for the easy empty-net, power play score. The goal iced the contest, bringing the Knights their second win of the weekend and fortifying their third place lead to three points, with a now 6-2-1 record against the Generals in the season head-to-head.

Looking forward to this weekend, the Knights will take on the first-place Philadelphia Rebels this weekend with two games on the road. The first will take place at the Class of 1923 arena on Friday, March 9th at 7:10 PM EST. The Knights will then travel to the Wells Fargo Center the next night to play the Rebels in a special regular season contest on the home ice of the Philadelphia Flyers at 5:30 PM EST. Visit this link for more details on tickets for Saturday’s game! Both games will be streamed on hockeytv.com. Stay tuned to www.wbsknights.com and Knights social media for further news and updates!

EHL: Knights Close Regular Season with Win

Photo: EHL

On Saturday, the Knights took on the Philadelphia Junior Flyers for the teams’ final contest of the 2017-18 regular season. Following their loss Friday, the Knights were determined to finish on a high note before the playoffs kick off next weekend.

A tight first period saw Garrett Stenberg and Jared Stahel trade saves while both offenses searched for their rhythm. The Knights would finally break through in the final second of the first, when Evan Green picked up his first tally of his Knights career. Staying with the puck at the point, Green took a pass from Denys Arkhypenko and fired it past a fooled Stenberg for the 1-0 lead.

The Junior Flyers wouldn’t wait long to answer in the second period. Connor Lenaghan broke free in front of Stahel on a power play as a shot from Kyle Harris deflected off Lenaghan’s blade and into the net. Billy McDevitt was credited the secondary assist on the game-tying goal.

The Knights would strike on a power play of their own just prior to the halfway point of the period. Off Emerson Emery’s point shot, set up by Bryan Whelan, Anthony Starzi deflected the puck past Stenberg to retake the lead.

A physical second half to the period yielded no goals, despite each side taking another try on the man-advantage. Jared Stahel played a key role in preserving the Knights lead as he stood down 22 of 23 Philadelphia shots in the frame.

In the the third, the score remained tight for the first half of the period. The Knights power play could not capitalize on an early Junior Flyers penalty, but their forecheck picked up steam, out-shooting Philadelphia 17-11 over the final 20 minutes. At 9:42 Austin Weber put home his sixth goal of the season, unassisted to establish a 3-1 Knights lead.

The Junior Flyers answered a minute and a half later when Gianni Dini ripped home a Nick Kiemel rebound, set up by Patrick Sullivan. The score brought life to the Flyers legs, but the visitors were kept at bay by Stahel’s steady effort in the pipes.

Despite having the extra attacker on late in the contest, Philadelphia was undone by the Knights strong defense, capped off by Austin Weber’s second goal of the day, an empty-netter set up by former Junior Flyer Nate Chuckran at the horn.

With the win, the Knights head into the postseason locked into the fifth seed and a first-round matchup with the fourth-seeded New York Applecore, a team they beat three times in four meetings during the regular season. The best-of-three series will take place exclusively in the Applecore’s Brewster Ice Arena in New York.

For dates and times for series, stay tuned to www.wbsknights.com, www.easternhockeyleague.org and follow @WBSKnightsEHL on twitter!

EHL: Knights Lose to Revolution, Clinch 5th Seed in Playoffs

Photo: EHL

On Friday, the Knights hosted the Philadelphia Revolution for the pair’s final meeting of the 2017-18 regular season. Both teams entered play looking to leap a spot upward in the South Conference playoff standings. It would be Philadelphia that would hit the ground running in their third-to-last game of the season.

Just 3:30 into the opening frame, Jake Faulkner fired a point shot through traffic to beat Thomas Walker for the game’s first goal (Martin Kapoian). A second Philly tally would appear to be scored several minutes later, only to be disallowed when the play was blown dead for a Revolution penalty as the puck was shot on net.

The Knights would take advantage of the call to push back against Philadelphia, but despite speed through all zones, they struggled to solve Peter Ciccarelli. The 6’5″ goaltender stood down the Knights early offerings to keep Wilkes-Barre/Scranton off the board in the opening 20 minutes.

Just after the expiration of a penalty late in the first, Philadelphia found their second goal of the afternoon off Hayden Ford’s feed to Justin Meers, who fired a winding puck past Walker for the 2-0 lead.

30 seconds later Ford initiated a successful breakout which Jake Faulkner and Kyle Bradley turned into a fast break to the net. Faulkner slid the puck past the last line of the Knights backcheck to an open Bradley in the low slot, who promptly slammed the puck home for the Revolution’s third goal.

After their even play gave way late in the first, the Knights entered the second with jump in their effort to mount a comeback. Penalties would slow progress as calls piled on top of one another to create multiple power play, 4-on-4, and even 4-on-3 opportunities for each side.

After he was tripped on a breakaway during one stretch of 4-on-4 play, Philadelphia’s Bryce Witman floated a knuckling puck over the shoulder of Walker on the ensuing power play (Brian Lange) to put the Revolution up 4-0.

The Knights would finally crack the scoreboard on a power play of their own just minutes later, when Emerson Emery’s point shot was re-directed to the twine by Nate Chuckran. William Case would record the secondary assist on the score.

The momentum swing would be brief. On the ensuing shift, Tommy Donnelly fired his first goal of his Revolution career through a blocked shot and a screen for the 5-1 lead.

A quick Austin Morgan tally in the opening six minutes of third, combined with Ciccarelli’s stellar play in the crease gave Philadelphia a comfortable cushion through the remainder of the contest. The Knights pushed hard in the final frame, mounting 21 shots and several strong looks on net, but were undone by the Revolution’s steady defense.

Entering play four points behind a possible home-ice advantage through round one of the playoffs, the Knights loss with just one game to play locks them into the fifth seed of the South Conference. They will host the Philadelphia Junior Flyers today at 2:30 pm EST, before preparing for the playoffs and their round one meeting with the New York Applecore.

Catch all the action on hockeytv.com and stay tuned to www.wbsknights.com and @WBSKnightsEHL on Twitter for all news and updates!

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!

EHL: Knights Bounce Back to Split Weekend with Oilers

Photo: EHL

On Sunday, the Knights took their second try at besting the Connecticut Oilers following their 4-2 loss Saturday. In round two, it was Connecticut that would provide the game’s first tally. Ryan Brand hammered a shot through Thomas Walker just shy of the halfway point of the first period (Ryan Kheir, Kieran Kennedy).

In their second showdown in as many days, Walker and Olof Djurberg continued their steady play as the pair fended off extended possessions in front of their respective creases. The Knights penalty kill also flexed its discipline as it failed to allow a goal in three first-period chances. At the first 20 minutes’ conclusion, the Oilers would hold a slim lead in a hard-fought first period.

The Knights were quick to draw even to open the second. After Djurberg denied three solid chances from the Knights, a fourth found the stick of Tyler Watungwa in front of the net for the tip-in equalizer. The goal came as a byproduct of assists from William Case and Tyler Nielsen, but was born out of a strong forecheck and puck-movement by all five Knights in the attacking zone.

Though both offenses created solid opportunities throughout the middle frame, it took most of the period for either attack to finish on said chances. At 18:13, Connecticut re-took the lead on Val Serdlov’s third goal of the weekend, set up by Kennedy and Keegan Lewis.

The lead would last all of 97 seconds, as in the final minute of the second period, Nate Chuckran fired a shot on goal that leaked through the pads of Djurberg to even the game once more.

The late-period score paved the way for more Knights momentum in the third. Just over a minute and a half in, Emerson Emery collected a Chuckran feed and pushed it home to provide Wilkes-Barre/Scranton with its first lead of the game.

Connecticut would force a golden opportunity to answer after their heavy play drew two Knights penalties just past the 5:00 point of the period. With 1:46 of 5-on-3 time, The Oilers were kept at bay by Thomas Walker’s heady play in net and the penalty kill’s sound positioning, moving the Knights to a perfect 5/5 shorthanded performance on the afternoon.

The cancellation of both penalties catapulted the Knights into the period’s final minutes with a one-goal lead. With the net empty, the Oilers applied strong pressure down the home stretch, but could not solve Walker, who made 42 saves on the day. When the clock hit zero, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton skated off with a 4-2 victory.

The team will next be in action on Saturday, February 24th when the Knights play host to the Philadelphia Junior Flyers. Puck drop is at 3:45 pm EST and the game will be broadcast on hockeytv.com. Stay tuned to www.wbsknights.com, www.easternhockeyleague.org, and Knights social media on Facebook (WBS Knights Hockey), Twitter (@WBSKnightsEHL), and Instagram (@wbsknights) to stay up to date with the latest news and happenings!

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)!


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!

EHL: Knights Fall to Seahawks

The third and final contest of the Knights weekend saw the team travel to Hyannis, Massachusetts to take on the Total Athletics Seahawks. In the teams’ second meeting of the season, the Knights got out to an early start.

Just 6:24 into the opening period, Tyler Watungwa recorded his seventh goal of the season after Bryan Whelan found him in front of Seahawks starter Brandon Collett for the 1-0 lead.

A testy first would set the tone for a chippy day of hockey. Just past the halfway point of the period, both William Case of the Knights and Austin Johnson of the Seahawks were handed game misconducts.

Despite losing a reliable blue-liner early, the Knights were able stay even and even carry play through most of the remainder of the frame. The Seahawks reversed the trend with an explosive final two minutes of the period.

At 18:05 the Seahawks would tie the game off Braxton Walby’s third goal of the season. Walby beat Knights starter Thomas Walker on a rebound following a solid set up from Derric Trudeau and Korey Muzzy.

Just over a minute later, Walby would come right back down the ice and bury a power play rebound to give his team their first lead of the game (Alex Friend, Matthew Stewart).

The middle stanza saw its pace grind to a temporary crawl as the pair of teams combined for 26 minutes of time spent in the box. Two of those penalties would bite the Knights as on a 5-on-3 advantage at 9:56, the Seahawks would add their third goal. John Banovetz would get the last deflection on a puck fired in by Cory Ellerton, assisted by Kolton Smith.

As time ticked away, the Knights found themselves frustrated by Brandon Collett’s savvy play in net (38 saves). Thomas Walker answered with a strong 41 save performance of his own, but the Knights offense never found its rhythm. A scoreless third period that saw the Knights spend the final three and a half minutes killing off a 5:00 major sealed the 3-1 win for the Seahawks.

The Knights will continue their attempt to climb upward in the South Conference playoff seeding with a two-game series against the Connecticut Oilers this weekend. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is two points out of fourth place in the conference with five regular season games to go. To stay up to date with Knights news stay tuned to www.wbsknights.com and follow our twitter (@WBSKnightsEHL), Facebook (WBS Knights Hockey), and Instagram (@WBSKnights).