Tag Archives: Hockey

Knights Goalie Thomas Walker Commits to Albertus Magnus College

Thomas Walker is getting ready to start his second season with the Knights organization, but before the season’s first puck drop, the goalie announced some exciting news. Starting in the fall of 2019, Walker will join the Albertus Magnus Falcons in their inaugural season playing NCAA DIII hockey.

“I like the atmosphere-it’s right around Yale and Quinnipiac, so it’s a good college town,” said Walker of his future home. “The people are great, the head coach, the assistant coach, they’re just nice people, great people. To visit a school and find out it’s a small school-that’s what I was interested in because that’s the kind of high school I went to. Everything about the college just kinda sucked me in and I fell in love with it.”

Located in southern Connecticut, Albertus Magnus recently gained approval to join NCAA Division III hockey as an independent school in 2019-20. Kyle Wallack will man the bench after serving as an assistant coach for the University of Vermont.  Wallack has coached the past 21 years primarily as an at NCAA Division I level, along with stops along the way in DIII, the ACHA and USHL.

“With it being a new program it just excited me to be part of a start, setting the groundwork for them to be successful for many years to come,” said Walker. “Hopefully we’ll be in the record books getting the first winning season and being a part of all that interesting stuff.”

Walker spent his first year of junior hockey as the backstop in 28 games for the Knights. He recorded a 2.86 goals against average and a .899 save percentage in the 2017-18 regular season.

“I think it helped me playing against older competition,” said Walker of his first season in the EHL. “It made me have to adjust, get stronger and faster because everybody shoots harder and moves quicker and passes are crisper and everything just moves at a higher speed. I’ve just had to adjust to that, and hopefully with another year under my belt, I’ll be even more prepared and be able to just keep improving.”

What can Falcons fans expect from their future goalie?

“I’m a battler,” he said. “That’s my big thing. I’m never gonna give up. I’ve kinda learned more and more as we keep going that you just have to battle and keep going. I’m not the quickest, not the biggest, but I’ll definitely battle from the beginning of the game to the end of the game, all season long. I’m not going to complain about anything. I’m ready to play whenever, wherever, doesn’t matter to me, I’m just going to battle.”

“The best way start to training camp when you have players reporting already committing to school,” said Knights EHL head coach Josh Fusco. “It goes to show the success were having here with our players and more importantly it shows they trust the process.”

For all his growth in his first season with the Knights, it says a lot about Walker that his favorite memories are not individual highlights, but ones belonging to last year’s fellow goalie, Jared Stahel, along with another team accomplishment from 2017-18.

“My favorite would probably be the December showcase last year,” he said. “We were just starting to hit our stride. We were able to play well enough to beat the Avs, then Stahel got the first team shutout against the Wolves going into Christmas break so we were on a nice little hot streak beating the eventual champions and then getting the first shutout for the team so that was a good start. Kinda went on a streak there and got a little hot, so that was probably my favorite memory so far.”

For all that lies ahead, Walker isn’t looking too far beyond the upcoming season with the Knights in the EHL. His sights are set firmly on  improving on his consistency before heading off to school.

“I want to be better for the length of the whole year. Last year, I thought I had a pretty slow start, and then a decent middle, and then slowed down again at the end. I’m looking to have a complete season and go farther in the playoffs than we did.”

“I’m really excited for Walks,” said Fusco. “It’s pretty awesome because it shows the dedication he has put in to his game, the dedication he has to our program and more importantly how he has trusted the process over the past year with his development.”

Ever the team player, Walker was quick to thank those who have made his commitment a reality.

“Definitely a big thanks to my family for all their support and my friends back home for helping me grinding through this junior year, being supportive. Obviously thanks to the Knights organization and everything they’ve done, coach Fusco for helping me improve, and my teammates for playing well enough in front of me to get a college interested in me, so just a big thanks to everyone that’s helped.”

The Knights  congratulate Thomas on his well-deserved college commitment and look forward to his upcoming season and rooting for him in his future hockey career and beyond!

 

Thomas Farrell Commits to Army

Photo: NAHL

Another Knight will be making the change from blue to black in the near future as Thomas Farrell made his commitment to Army official Thursday. The defenseman will head to West Point starting in the 2019-2020 season, joining the program at the NCAA DI level.

“I’m feeling a little better than good,” laughed Farrell shortly after making his commitment official. “Honestly, I went in there for a visit with an open mind. Ever since I was a little kid I’ve always looked up to the military. Now being a part of that, being a small part of that history and that family is a great honor.”

 
At 19, the right handed blue-liner has logged regular minutes atop the Knights defensive corps this season, picking up three goals and 22 assists in 55 games played.
 
“Thomas has been a staple for us this season,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal. “We send him out there in all situations; power play, penalty kill, three-on-three, four-on-four, overtime, you name it, he’s out there. I can’t think of a better example than this past weekend. We were down to just four healthy defensemen for a three-game weekend. Thomas played a big part in helping us secure four out of six points, keeping us in the race for the #2 seed in our division. He logged a lot of minutes, and our confidence in him never wavered. We knew he had a high ceiling when we tendered him last year and he’s come in and exceeded our expectations.”
 
Farrell’s future team, the Army Black Knights, have built a proud history playing division one hockey dating back to 1903. Steered by head coach Brian Riley, the team and Army’s commitment to excellence caught Farrell’s eye.
 
“One thing I noticed when I stepped on campus while talking to the coaching staff and also the players there was that it was just an extremely dedicated and committed group of people,” he said. “I just saw it as a really great environment for me where I can excel and grow both on and off the ice with them. The leadership program there is awesome. It’s unlike anywhere else in the world. I’m very excited to say the least.”
 
Farrell will join current teammate and fellow defenseman Anthony Firriolo, who committed to Army earlier this season. The pair will begin their careers in the 2019-2020 season.
 
“I went on a visit there on Monday,” said Farrell. “I ended up going out with Anthony for lunch after practice on Tuesday. I kinda sat down with him and talked with him a little bit about the dedication and commitment after not only going to the school but also after the four years of education. There’s 17 branches of the military you can go into. It’s not just serving in the front lines. We talked about all the different programs, the student-to-faculty ratio which is awesome. It’s just a great environment.”
 
Farrell’s play stood out even as a tender pressed into duty last postseason when the Knights were depleted by injuries. As a regular in 2017-18, it didn’t take long for Farrell to establish himself as one of the league’s better defenders.
 
“I would consider myself a two-way defenseman,” he said about his game. “That’s how I believe I was scouted by Coach McKelvie, the defensive coach at Army. That’s what he was looking for and that’s a role I think I can fit into. With the Knights here in Wilkes-Barre I think I’ve been able to do a really good job playing defense first then also finding a way to get involved in the offense and doing well with that. Then off the ice, I would say that you’re just getting a kid that’s really put in the hours and the dedication to the sport. That’s what I’m all about, and I think I can bring that dedication and that commitment to the classroom as well. It’s just something I’m really looking forward to do.”
 
“Beyond just his talent, Thomas has been a regular starter for us due to his character on and off the ice,” said Kowal. “He works incredibly hard. Whether it’s practice or a game, he’s on the ice and then he goes right into the weight room. He’s constantly setting an example for the rest of our team to follow.”
 
Farrell’s performance in the first half of the year earned him a spot on the East Division’s top prospects team at the NAHL’s Top Prospects Tournament at the end of February.
 
“Hockey is a team sport,” he said. “That’s one of the most important things that you always gotta have in the back of your head. You can’t just do it all yourself. Anthony and I wouldn’t have these commitments right now if it wasn’t for our team we’re playing with every day on the ice, pushing us to the best of our ability. We’ve just been pushing each other to get as good as we can get and to get noticed. I think that the East Division has played a key role in that as well. This division is one of the fastest in the league. It’s had a key part in us getting noticed by West Point and getting me the chance to visit and figure out what the school is all about.”
 
As the the NAHL postseason draws near, Farrell’s commitment to school wont take away from his commitment to a Robertson Cup run. A three-game showdown with the Titans, beginning with two home games this weekend, could play a massive role in securing the Knights home-ice advantage heading into April’s tournament.
 
“We’re in a really tight race right now with the Titans for that home-ice advantage between the two and three seeds,” said Farrell. “The goal as of right now is to take it one step at a time. This weekend we’re trying to get a solid, at least two out of three against these guys. We want to really clinch that home-ice advantage so that we can go into the playoffs feeling good, with that home ice and take it control a little bit.”
 
Even with games still to play, perspective isn’t lost on Farrell or his coach.
 
“I want to thank Thomas for his contributions to the Knights at this point in his career,” said Kowal. “He’s been an asset as a player but more importantly as a teammate and person. Wherever he is next year, I know he’s got a bright future ahead.”
 
“I just want to shout out to my mom and dad and my sister Brooke,” said Farrell. “They’re the ones that I’ve been with my whole life. I love them, really a lot. I did it for them. They’re the ones that would get me up in the morning. They’re the ones I’d get to see every day and kind of inspired me to be the person I am today. Without them I don’t think I’d be having this conversation.”
 
The Knights congratulate Thomas on his commitment and thank him for all his hard work. The team has been made better by his drive, one that he brings with him everywhere he goes. The Black Knights are getting a good one.
 

Knights Offense Explodes to Complete Weekend Sweep

Wins come in all shapes and sizes. In their second meeting of the weekend the Knights and Generals were both in search of more consistent offensive production. Games one and two of the Knights weekend resulted in six combined goals scored.  Game three, would see 10.

Things got off to a slow start. David Tomeo, the first pick of the NAHL’s most recent entry draft, replaced Northeast’s injured netminder David Fessenden for the Generals. The affiliate goalie kept the Knights at bay for a good portion of the first period, stopping 17 shots. The first to make it through came off the stick of Dorian Dawson when the defenseman banked a puck off traffic in front of the net (Maust, Antonitsch).

After being shutout the prior afternoon, the Generals wasted little time finding an equalizer. Captain Colin Bilek parked himself in front of the net and deflected a Kohei Sato point shot, set up by Joe Vingi, past Grant Valentine. Despite a trade of shots to end the first period, the score remained tied one to one.

The Generals would build momentum in the first two minutes of the second period. With a puck buried on the end boards behind Valentine, the Generals were able to play take away and center the puck to a waiting Hunter Canestra. Canestra beat Valentine to the post to give the Generals their first lead (Anosau, Parker).

The lead would hold until the nine minute mark of the second period. Mike Gelatt would reverse a General’s outlet pass to Markuss Komuls who found a streaking Mike Morrissey to put the puck bar down to tie the game at 2. From there, the floodgates would open for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s offense. At the 12:00 mark, Markus Komuls would notch his sixth tally of the season from Sam Antonitsch and Joe Schuler.

52 seconds later Komuls and Jim Elser would set up a streaking Curtis Carlson who blew right by the Generals back check to flip a puck off the back of Tomeo and over the goal line.

Despite the 4-2 lead, the game was far from settled. Kohei Sato (from Mike Egan) kicked off the third period by sniping a puck over the shoulder of Valentine just 18 seconds in. The Generals would go to the power play just 10 seconds later but fail to find an equalizer in the two minutes that followed.  The rally for Northeast would take a hit at 6:41 when they were assessed a too many men penalty and then again when Brian Glover was given a double minor for roughing.

The Generals would survive both penalties thanks in large part to a strong flurry of saves by David Tomeo. The Knights did not relent offensively and finally at 13:06 Reed Robinson redirected a Paul Maust shot received from Markuss Komuls to build the Knights lead back to two.

Following a Northeast slashing penalty, Dorian Dawson tallied his second goal of the game on feeds from Morrissey and Mike Gelatt at 17:14. With Tomeo pulled, the Knights would get one more 43 seconds later off a long shot from Komuls (Danchenko, Marino).

When the dust had settled, the Knights emerged with two more points and their third-straight win. Special teams continue to pace Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of late. The penalty kill went a perfect 12-for-12 over the weekend’s three contests, while the power play has now scored in three straight games.

Markus Komuls’ five-point performance on Sunday included two goals, bringing the rookie’s total to 7 on the season, tying him for 11th place among all the league’s defensmen. Dorian Dawson’s two goals Sunday place him in a tie for 7th on that same list.

Grant Valentine’s third-straight win gives him 18 on the season, good tying him for 6th in the NAHL. His weekend performances are highlighted by a shootout victory, a shut out, a 1.64 GAA and a .943 save percentage.

The Knights will be back in action Friday, March 17th against Fairbanks following the team’s road trip to Alaska. Both games Friday and Saturday will be played at 7:30 pm Alaska Time/11:30 pm Eastern Standard Time.

Knights Split Weekend With Generals

When the dust had settled Sunday afternoon, both the Generals and Knights headed off the ice with a better idea of where the depth lay in their respective rosters. Due to a cocktail of adverse circumstances, both teams found themselves shorthanded this weekend. On Saturday night each team dressed just 18 skaters. On Sunday, just 19.

Game one saw each team enter having lost at least their prior contest, with the Generals having dropped each of their past four. As such, they were quick to initiate the pressure Saturday night and the speed of their forecheck pushed the Knights to the backcheck early and often.

Despite this, the Knights tallied the game’s first goal at 7:57 into the second period following a highly active, yet scoreless opening frame. On a set up from fellow Middletown-natives Mike Gelatt and Matt Kidney, Tim Gelatt was able to weave a shot through traffic and past big-bodied goalie David Fessenden. That lead would prove to be short-lived.

The speed of the Northeast forecheck, particularly on the rush, continued to give the Knights issues and at 9:30 in the second the dam finally broke. Defenseman Cullen McCabe, on a feed from Hunter Canestra and Bret Parker, ripped a shot from the right point past the glove of Valentine to tie the game at one.

The score would remain deadlocked well into the third with Northeast carrying play on the back of owning a few more quality chances. Fessenden continued to bail his defense out when they stumbled, and at 15 minutes into the 3rd, he was rewarded by his offense. After Luke Perunovich found Christian Thomas streaking up ice, Thomas threaded a perfect lead pass to Alex Cohen in the low slot who in turn drove the puck by Valentine for the go-ahead goal.

With the net empty for the Knights at 18:52, Colin Bilek drove home the game’s final goal (Sato, Perunovich) to put a stop to any hope of a Wilkes-Barre/Scranton comeback. Anchored by Fessenden’s stellar play (28 saves on 29 shots), the Knights inconsistent forecheck and the speed of their own, the Generals skated away with their third win of the season, their second at the Knights expense.

Sunday brought about a new vigor from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton as they looked to avoid being the Generals first-ever sweep. Though dressing just four defensemen for a second-straight contest, the Knights struck out from the opening puck drop to right their shortcomings from the night before.

Rookie Northeast netminder Parker Swanson would face a heavy dose of scoring chances early and and often in his first-ever NAHL start. In a period in which the Knights would mount 16 shots on goal, Swanson represented himself well, but at 6:39, the Generals penalty would make a costly mistake.

Matt Kidney, the leading scorer for both teams in their nine games played head-to-head, found himself all alone with the puck just 20 seconds into the game’s first power play. Kidney did what he was drafted to do and ripped the puck past the near post to give his team the early lead. Defenseman Zach Gielarowski, who made his third straight appearance after being called up from the Knights tier-III appearance, notched his first NAHL point on the pass to Joey Verkerke who then set up Kidney on the goal. Despite the Knights growing opportunities, Swanson would not buckle, and  finished the period without allowing another tally.

Picking up right where they left off in the first, the Knights continued to pepper their guests with chances in the middle frame. Reed Robinson, after being denied by Swanson on one breakaway, scored on another at 7:31. The opportunity was set up by a perfectly feathered lead pass from Jim Elser who had been launched by solid passing on the part of Paul Maust.

True to their Saturday form, the Generals would not allow the goal to go unanswered for long. Just 94 seconds later, Hunter Canestra fought through Paul Cimilluca’s shattered stick to the net and slipped the puck past Valentine for the General’s first goal (Perry, Anosau). Despite dictating much of the first 40 minutes of play, somehow the Knights would head to the second intermission with just a single-goal lead.

Entering the third, still working off the momentum of their mid-second period score, the Generals began to mount a growing counter attack. Northeast received a further boost when Knights captain Tim Gelatt had to leave the ice for several shifts to have a facial wound treated. Down to three defensemen, the Knights had to rely on long shifts in their own zone to stay afloat at 2-1.

Shortly after Gelatt’s return to the ice, that gritty defense was rewarded when, off a Mike Gelatt and Matt Kidney passing sequence, Curtis Carlson powered a shot over the shoulder of Swanson to build a 3-1 lead. Ever-quick to respond, Northeast came back with a goal just under three minutes later. Following a deflection off a linesman, Bret Parker found Hunter Canestra over the Knights blue line, where Canestra centered a puck neatly to Arty Anosau parked in front, where he then ripped a puck past Valentine, cutting the WBS lead back to one.

With insurance sorely needed, Tim Gelatt answered the bell once again, notching his third goal of the year and his second in as many games just two minutes later, set up by assists from Jim Elser and Reed Robinson.

With each team trading a pair of penalties in the game’s final  7 minutes, neither was able to solve the other’s penalty kill and as the clock wound down to zero, the Knights were able to take solace in a series-salvaging split with a quickly-improving Northeast squad.

Though neither team was able to feature its healthiest lineup, both teams can take solace in the play of their netminders-both teams had matching save percentages of .929-and positive early returns from players making the NAHL debuts and/or registering their first few appearances. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was boosted by the continued development of the aforementioned defenseman Zach Gielarowski and tier-III teammate Jake Fuss at forward.

The Generals will had Parker Swanson make his NAHL debut in net as well as forward Aiden Boehm stepping into his first tier-II action today as well. Cullen McCabe contributed in a big way with a goal in Saturday’s game after being acquired from the Fairbanks Ice Dogs.

Next up, Northeast will return home to host the Aston Rebels on February 17th and 18th. The Knights will have a quick turnaround with a Valentine’s Day home game against the New Jersey Titans up next on the docket.

Knights Earn Hard Fought Win

Knights take third straight on night honoring Boy Scouts

written by Allif Karim

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights started a two series on Saturday against the Fairbanks Ice Dogs, donning alternate jerseys to honor Scouts Night at the Revolution Ice Centre. Honored those attending, they did as the Knights jousted Fairbanks, skating away with a 4-1 victory. The win marks the first time the Knights have reached the .500 mark in their NAHL existence.

This series also marked the end of a month-long road trip for the Ice Dogs. On a frustrating night for Fairbanks, it seemed fitting that the game was capped by an empty net goal, symbolic of the lack of any good bounces going their way.

The first period started off shaky for both teams as neither the Knights nor the Ice Dogs could make use of chances they had. An early Ice Dogs powerplay in the first proved futile following a disallowed goal. The Knights were also held off the board on the man advantage, as they struggled to establish any rhythm in the offensive zone. With 1:49 left in the period, the Knights would finally find a spark when Sam Antonitsch took an off-the-glass pass off the stick of Joey Kubachka the length of the ice to open the game’s scoring.

The second period saw Fairbanks strike first when at 3:06 in, Marc Sullivan, with helpers from Tanner Schachle, Hampus Eriksson and a delayed penalty, cashed in with a gorgeous snipe for the Alaskan visitors. The tie would be short-lived as three minutes later, Michael Morrissey scored a terrific goal with backhand-forehand deke in the middle of the low slot, set up off the give and go from Reed Robinson. Joe Schuler added to the lead with his first career Knights goal, working the puck from the far corner, playing it along the goal line and taking a shot from a sharp angle at 18:38.

With the score favoring the Knights, the Ice Dogs opened up the third with a power play but couldn’t capitalize against an aggressive Wilkes-Barre/Scranton penalty kill. Ample changes of possession and battles along the boards wore the Fairbanks comeback effort down, and with the goalie pulled late in the game Vince Marino put away any hope of a rally by finding the twine at 18:33.

With the win, the Knights improve to 5-1 since the end of the holiday break, 18-18-1-1 on the season and extend their winning streak to three. They’ll look to close out the weekend with a sweep when they face the Ice Dogs once again at the Revolution Ice Centre today at 12:30 pm.

Knights Set to Host 2nd Annual Scouts Night!

Knights fans!

This Saturday, January 14th at 7:30 pm the Knights will play host to the defending Robertson Cup Champion Fairbanks Ice Dogs. It will be a special night inside the Revolution Ice Centre as the Knights will be hosting Scout Night at the Rink.

The team will wear custom-made jerseys made by OT Sports paying tribute to the Boy Scouts of Northeast PA. The jerseys will be auctioned off after the game to benefit the long-standing organization.

Anyone in attendance wearing their scouts uniform will receive a free hot dog and small soda.

Tickets for general admission will be $5 for this night only! Reserve tickets today by calling (570) 883-1100 or by emailing [email protected]

Knights Close out Rebels for Weekend Series Win

Hard fought finale puts Knights on top

On Sunday, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights and Northeast Generals met for the rubber match of a weekend, three-game series and for the seventh time this season. Fittingly, the contest proved to be their most competitive tilt yet.

Things got started in a hurry when Matt Kidney (10) scored his first goal since his return at 5:50 into the first period with assists coming from Reed Robinson (12) and Dorian Dawson (17). Dawson’s assist marked his sixth straight game with a point and Kidney’s goal tied him Paul Maust for the team lead.

Just under two and half minutes later, former Knight Kohei Sato (7) tied the game after he beat Colt Hanks on a solid set up by Michael Egan (7) and Luke Perunovich (11).

Kidney would grab sole lead of the Knights goal lead with his 11th score of the year at 14:12 when he bested Northeast netminder David Fessenden with help in the form of Khrisitan Acosta’s 19th assist of the season.

The 2-1 lead was indicative of a relatively one-sided period, one in which the Generals could only muster four shots on goal and took two penalties. Still, the Knights finished the frame 0-2 on the man advantage meaning they’d have to settle with taking just a one-goal lead to the dressing room.

The Generals would renew their attack on the other side of the intermission, finding the equalizer just over five minutes into play on a powerplay tally from Egan (6) from the assists of Christian Thomas (7) and Kohei Sato (10).

The Knights would again outshoot the Generals in the second but failed to find the twine. The power play’s first period slump extended into the second, as its first two trips to the ice proved unfruitful and worse, were both ended by Knights penalties prior to their natural expiration. The third Northeast penalty would carry over to the third period, leaving the door open for the Knights to regain control of the momentum they were lacking.

With the man advantage set to play out for the first 1:26 of the final frame, the Knights used their advantage to apply significant pressure to the offensive zone, so much so that just five seconds before the end of the penalty, Northeast took another. 1:39 into their sixth powerplay chance, the Knights finally cashed in. Paul Maust (11) pushed one past Fessenden with assists being credited to Matt Kidney (15) and Sabatini (11) to give the Knights the lead. The score tied Maust and Kidney back atop the Knights goal sheet once again.

Despite the setback, the Generals pushed back with vigor. Despite being outshout once again, Northeast spent long shifts in the offensive zone, but failed to solve Colt Hanks. With the help of solid goaltending and an empty Generals cage, Sam Antonitsch put the game away at 19:03 with the empty net goal.

With the win, the Knights improved to 17-18-1-1, just one game under .500. The Knights will have the chance to meet that mark for the first time in NAHL franchise history this Saturday, January 14th when they take on the defending Robertson Cup Champion Fairbanks Ice Dogs at 7:30 PM.

 

Knights Cruise to 5-0 Win

Team Bounces Back with Dominant Victory

For as flat as the Knights began the New Year Friday, they were as equally imposing on Saturday. An added wrinkle to the Knights lineup for the middle game of a three-game series was the debut of new acquisition Matteo Esposito in net.

The Knights quickly provided their rookie netminder with some support, when just 4:23 into the first Keenan Sabatini kicked off the scoring with a power play tally with assists coming from Khristian Acosta and Sam Antonitsch.

Markuss Komuls tacked on another goal at 9:56 in what would be a banner day for the blue line. Sabatini lit the lamp again at 13:22 on the set up from Acosta and Matt Kidney. Kidney’s assist was his first point since his return to the Knights.

A minute later Antonitsch redirected a Dorian Dawson shot from the blue line to build a 4-0 lead. A relentless forecheck coupled with solid play from Esposito, who stopped all 11 shots he faced, would hold the advantage for the Knights heading to the first intermission.

Gabe Vinal, who had stymied the Knights Friday with 38 saves on 40 shots, was pulled late in the first in favor of David Fessenden. The latter goalie who help slow the bleeding in the second as the Knights would continue to mount chances on goal and spend extended periods in the offensive zone.

Fessenden was finally bested at 15:43 into the 2nd when Khristian Acosta potted the Knights second power play of the game. Matt Kidney and  Keenan Sabatini continued their strong offensive showing with assists. Esposito would again stand tall against 11 offensive chances, denying each and every one.

With the 5-0 lead, the Knights continued pressuring in the third but were unable to find the twine as Fessenden settled in. Esposito would be the one to close the door on the Generals as he stopped another 11 shots, smothering any chance for Northeast to ignite any kind of rally.

At the final horn, the Knights were 5-0 victors having played well in all phases in the game. They’re power play was an impressive 2-4 and their penalty kill was a perfect 5-for-5. Shots were decidedly in favor of the Knights who finished with a 42-33 advantage.

The Knights will look for the series win today with their third and final meeting of the weekend with the Generals at 1:30 pm today at New England Sports Village.

 

Knights Rally Falls Short to Generals

Slow start on the road proves too much to overcome

 

Stats, records, and prior meetings can’t strip away the relevancy of one of the oldest adages in sports: there’s a reason they play the game. Entering Friday night, the Knights were riding a four-game win streak against the Northeast Generals-a perfect 4-0 on the season-as well as a three-game winning streak overall. The Generals were still searching for their first franchise win at the NAHL level. When the puck dropped in Attleboro all such stats were rendered moot.

The Knights began the contest with a few forays into the offensive zone coupled with a few solid chances, but all were turned away by Generals netminder Gabe Vinal. Slowly as the period progressed, Northeast began to turn the tide. Their breakthrough occurred at 16:23, just 11 seconds into a powerplay, when captain Colin Bilek notched his third goal of the season against the Knights, giving his team the lead. With wind in their sails, Northeast skated well to close the period, limiting the Knights to 7 shots.

The carryover from the first frame was momentum for the Generals into the second. Spurred on by an excellent performance by Gabe Vinal, the Generals tacked on two more scores to build a 3-0 lead. The first came on an Anthony Mangano tally at 8:39. The Generals followed that up just over a minute later with Evan Somoza’s eighth goal of the year. Curtis Carlson would finally get the Knights on the board putting home a back-door offering past Vinal on a feed from Reed Robinson at 11:56.

The third period would begin with the Knights having recaptured momentum following a late-second period increase in chances that would ultimately be turned away by Vinal. The Knights pressure would eventually produce, when Jimmy Elser cut the deficit to one, netting a goal at 6:28. Aided by two Northeast penalties, the Knights wound continue to mount pressure for the duration of third. Vinal stood tall throughout, including when facing the Knights extra attacker for just over the game’s final 1:30 of play. He stopped 18 of 19 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton chances in the period and 38 of 40 for the game, on the way to securing his team’s first ever victory in the NAHL.

All totaled, the Knights went 0-5 on the powerplay and allowed one goal on three penalty kills for the evening proving that no matter the opponent, the room for error is small. Lost in the defeat was the return of first-round draft pick Matt Kidney from Cedar Rapids. Though he did not register a point, the talented forward will be a welcomed return for the Knights forecheck. Kidney had lead the NAHL in points with nine goals and 12 assists in 19 games at the time of his departure.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will look to get back on track when they again take on the Generals tonight at 5:30 pm and again tomorrow at 4:30 pm.

Jake Fuss Earns Weekend Call Up to NAHL Knights

The NA3AHL leader in points is earning some time at the next level this weekend as Jake Fuss will travel with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights NAHL team in their upcoming series with the Northeast Generals.

Fuss, who ranks second in all of tier 3 junior hockey in goals (45) scored and third in total points (96),  has scored multiple points in all 23 games he’s played this season.

“Jake being called up is another thing to add to our success as a team this season,” said head coach Josh Fusco. “He deserves this opportunity both by his numbers, but also and more importantly by the drive he brings to the table. I am very proud and very happy for him to be heading off to Boston wearing an NAHL sweater.”

RELATED: Know Your Knights: Jake Fuss

Fuss has been an offensive asset in all phases for the Knights this season, scoring three goals on the power play and three goals shorthanded. His eye-popping seven hat tricks are a testament to his ability to relentlessly finish the opportunities he’s given. Again and again the recurring theme when speaking to those who coach Fuss is his relentless effort.

“From main camp on Jake has impressed us with his work ethic,” said Knights Director of Hockey Operations and NAHL GM/Head Coach Tom Kowal. “His stats and awards speak for themselves. He leads his league in points, he’s on a 23-game point streak, and he was an NA3AHL all-star. He’s earned the a chance to show us how he’s progressed and that’s a chance we’re excited to give him.”