Tag Archives: Ice 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!

 

Game 2: Knights Ride Offense to Wild Win

The second meeting of the Knights and Rebels in the East Division Finals saw the Knights attempting to hand Philadelphia only their second home losing streak of the year. A win would send the Knights back home for game three and four needing one win to advance to the Final Four of the Robertson Cup Playoffs.

Things got off to rocky start for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton cause. The Rebels entered the game on a mission, and imposed with physicality their presence in the offensive zone. It was never more apparent than at four minutes into the competition, when Eric Olson and Adam Peck maintained a bruising shift below the Knights goal line. The pair kept the puck low through heavy board battles, while the Rebels began to make line changes behind the play. Konur Peterson joined in after Peck fed him the puck and left the ice with Olson to complete the change. Peterson kept the puck for an extended period and fought along the wall through multiple Knights before finally curling out in front of the net and ripping a shot at Christian Stoever. Stoever knocked away the offering but the rebound kicked back to Jimmy Glynn who buried the puck for the 1-0 lead.

The Knights responded. Just past the halfway point of the period, after minutes of quick rushes up the ice, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton capitalized on their building momentum. After Blake Kryska tangled for Luke Robinson rebound, Michael Morrissey corralled the loose puck at the top of the offensive zone and found Jack Olmstead on the left half wall. Olmstead skimmed the puck to Matt Kidney on the bottom of the left circle before Kidney sent the return pass back to Olmstead in the slot. Seeing traffic in front, Olmstead wheeled beneath the right side of the cage and swung back to the bottom of the left circle. There, he turned and fired a sharp-angle shot that found the mere inches of space between Rebels goalie Eli Billing and the post, burying the tying score at 11:23.

Channeling the momentum, the Knights came storming back with just under three minutes later. Joey Verkerke flipped a puck through center ice to Lincoln Hatten just above the Rebels blue line. Hatten chipped it perfectly to the oncoming Curtis Carlson to his left, where Carlson picked it up and drove to the net wide, around a back-checking Bryant Gunn. As Carlson one-handed the puck to the front of the net, Billing threw a poke check on the puck, freeing it from the blade, but kicking it right off the skate of Gunn and back through the five-hole for the Knights first lead.

It would take Philadelphia several minutes of near-escapes from a suddenly humming Knights attack to re-gain their footing. With about three minutes to play in the period, they dug in. The Knights, pressured heavily in their own zone, took to icing the puck consecutively to limit more opportunities from developing. As time ticked away in the first, they found themselves being backed up into their own zone repeatedly, extending long shifts. The Rebels made them pay with just under 26 seconds left in the period.

From behind the net, Rebels postseason points leader Brandon Stanley flipped a puck to the left side of Stoever’s cage. From there, Luke Radetic pushed the puck to the netfront for Alex Frye who jarred it between Carlson, Luke Robinson and Blake Kryska until it popped awkwardly over the shoulders of Stoever, landing in front of the the right post. At this point Stanley had looped back from behind the net and to the bottom of the slot, where he located and popped the loose change home to even the score at two.

Backed by the late-period tally, Philadelphia began the next frame on a hot streak. They pushed possession and drew two penalties in the opening minutes of the second. The Knights responded with two successful penalty kills and several more solid saves by Stoever.

With the Rebels momentum spurned, the Knights suddenly re-gained their own, just prior to the halfway point of the stanza. In a play for the season highlight reel, Adrian Danchenko cleared a puck through traffic on his own right half wall by hammering a puck high off of the glass. Soaring through the air, it came down to the stick of Tyrone Bronte, hitting him in stride, allowing him to settle it just before gaining Rebels blue line. As he fired into Philadelphia territory, Bronte fed Jeff Bertrand on his left wing to finish a 2-on-1 rush. Bertrand let go a shot that scorched through the pads of Billing to give the Knights a 3-2 lead at 9:56.

Two and a half minutes later Bronte would return, this time off the efforts of Blake Kryska to rattle a puck around the board of his own end, followed by Bertrand who chopped it free to Bronte exiting the zone. Bronte would weave his way over the left side of the Rebels line before firing a shot off the body of Kolby Vegara on a rebound that came right back to the Australian forward. With the puck re-gathered, Bronte moved in and ripped a puck inside the right post to build a 4-2 lead, chasing Billing in favor of game one starter Ryan Keane.

The Rebels pushed back down two, forcing their way to their third power play of the period just shy of the 15:00 mark. The penalty came off a failed Knights breakout. Off a turnover, Eric Olson walked in on Stoever. Michael Morrissey raced back and hooked Olson to hinder his shot, but the chance still made it’s way to Stoever who made a crucial save falling forward.

The penalty kill continued its solid work on the penalty that followed, but Stoever would rise again as it’s best member. With under 30 seconds left in the Rebels man-advantage, Alex Frye fired a shot at Stoever that kicked over to an open Carson Moniz on the left circle. Stoever sprawled forward to meet him, sending Moniz tumbling to the ice, but not before he impressively centered a pass to Olson in the slot. Olson flipped a wrister on, only to be robbed by Stoever jumping back the opposite way.

Boosted by their third kill, the Knights pushed back into the final minute of the frame. Just prior to the 19:00 mark, the Rebels attempted to catch Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in a change with a home run pass out of their zone that missed an open Konur Peterson. Out of the net, Stoever turned the puck back up ice to Michael Morrissey who lofted a long pass from his blue line to Matt Kidney hovering above the Rebels zone. Kidney’s centering effort to a crashing Luke Robinson was denied by the Rebels back check, but Kidney hopped back into the right wing corner to pressure the puck back up the wall to Morrissey. Morrissey returned the puck to Kidney down low who laced a perfect pass to Jack Olmstead on his off-wing in the low, right side of the slot. Olmstead fired his second goal of both the game and the postseason  across Keane to build a three-score advantage.

Placed in a significant hole to start the third, the Rebels fought tooth and nail to claw their way back-and they very nearly did. As Wilkes-Barre/Scranton moved to protect their lead, the Rebels got their offense rolling again.

The first goal of the period was recorded by the largely the same personnel that scored the Rebels second goal of the game. Through a center ice exchange with Jimmy Glynn, set up by Luke Radetic, Brandon Stanley raced in over the right side of the Knights blue line. Turning in front of the back-checking Joey Verkerke, Stanley launced an absolute rocket, even losing his balance after he let it go with such force, that beat Stoever inside the left post trimming the Knights lead to two just 4:05 in.

The fourth Rebels goal game eight minutes later, when Aaron Maguyon used his speed to give his team’s rally even more fuel. Following a nice save by Keane, Ryan Patrick cleared the puck up the left wing to a racing Aaron Maguyon. Maguyon turned it back to the trailing Patrick on the left side of Knights ice. Playing keep away through a check and an extended tie up on the left circle, Patrick handed it back to Maguyon who just beat Curtis Carlson back to the net, opened the pads of Stoever with a move, and squeezed just under the pads to bring the Rebels back within one.

The Knights, shaken but not beaten, responded with defense. Their backcheck combined with Stoever forced the Rebels back, even drawing a penalty in their own zone which they used to eat two more minutes off the clock. Following timeout with just under two minutes remaining, the Rebels pulled Keane for the extra attacker. The Knights dug in. With the clock ticking all the way down to 13 seconds left, they iced the puck just wide of the open net.

After another timeout, the Knights prepared for one last Rebels push. Morrissey wong the ensuing faceoff and played it to his right wing, but the clearing effort to the top of the zone was intercepted by Carson Moniz. The owner of a deadly shot and plenty of space, Moniz lined and fired a slap shot that Joey Verkerke dove down and blocked out of the slot. The puck came up to the left half-wall, where the Rebels took a second shot that was blocked to the corner by Morrissey. Thomas Farrell found and cleared the puck down the ice to secure the team their wild game-two victory.

The Knights will return home to face the Rebels tomorrow, April 30th at 5:00 PM EDT up 2-0 in the series. A single win will send the Knights to Minnesota for the Final Four of the Roberts Cup Playoffs. Tune in on hockeytv.com and stay up to date with the Robertson Cup Playoffs by following Knights social media, and visiting both www.wbsknights.com and www.nahl.com!

 

 

 

Tyler Watungwa Commits to Finlandia University

Another day and another Knight is heading off to college. Tyler Watungwa, a crucial mid-season addition to the EHL team, and an elemental piece to the Knights second-half run has committed to Finlandia University. The Lions compete in the highly-competitive NCHA Conference in NCAA Division III hockey.

“First off, it came highly recommended by coach Fusco, him being an alumni of their program and a former player for its head coach Joe Burcar,” said Watungwa. “He had nothing but good things to say about both Finlandia and the coaching staff there. That was a huge part of it. Once I was started looking into it a little more, they had the program that I was looking for. It’s called physical therapist assistant and that’ll lead me down a path of exercise science, hopefully allowing me to be an athletic trainer once hockey is all done.”

“I was just doing my job as a coach and reaching out to other coaches at the college level to talk about my 97’s,” said Fusco. “One of the schools I talked to was my alma mater Finlandia. Coach Joe Burcar, was my coach. I know what what he likes and what he demands out of his players. I wanted to help him out and ultimately help Tyler. Burcar wants hockey players and he’s getting one in Tyler.

The Ottawa native came to the Knights in mid-December, while the team was still finding their footing in the Eastern Hockey League. After returning from a two-year absence, the roster was filled with talented, but young players, many that were still new to the junior level of hockey. Watungwa saw through that and reached out to a place he felt he could help.

“He actually reached out to me,” said Fusco. “We were playing the Boston Junior Rangers and East Coast Wizards and I got an email from Tyler expressing an interest in playing for us. He wanted to come to an organization with a good reputation and some prestige while getting some exposure to scouts. I took a look at some clips of him, talked to his coach, and even had the benefit of having Austin Weber, one of his former teammates, already on our roster. Web backed up what I saw and that was that Tyler was a good hockey player who worked hard, was strong and hard to move off the puck. At the end of the day, he was a ‘97 who wanted to be here, who wanted to be a Knight and that worked out perfectly.”

“Where I was before, I wasn’t really sure if I was getting these looks,” explained Watungwa. “I came back to the EHL, where the goal is getting looked at as much as I could. I knew coming in, this is the spot to do it. The league showcases are amazing in terms of all the scouts that are there. The team and the league as a whole put a whole a lot of effort into moving guys up, which is awesome.”

Once aboard with the Knights, Watungwa immediately made his presence known as an explosive and gritty playmaker. In his first seven games, he scored five goals and two assists while installing himself as crucial piece in all situations.

“He came in, and I thought he was going to be a middle six forward, a kind of a grinder guy, but right off the bat he proved he could be a goal-scorer,” said Fusco. “It let me put him on a line with Tyler Nielsen and Cody Rumsey for a good portion of the season, and that was a really solid combination for us. On the ice, his best skill to me, is his puck handling. He’s a skilled guy and a really strong player. He’s hard to push off the puck. He makes a lot of good plays with his vision. Ultimately his ability to move the puck, to get down low and win possessions for us, and keep it on his blade made him a really essential forward in our lineup.”

“I think I just bring compete level,” said Watungwa. “That’s what I tried to bring to the Knights program, just working hard every shift. Whether it’s making a hit, blocking a shot, making a play offensively or defensively, I’m always going to try to do it at 100%.”

Beyond the stat sheet, leadership is another trait Tyler exudes. It wasn’t lost on his coach or his teammates.

“That early production really grabbed the attention of our locker room,” said Fusco. “His work ethic, his habits, his effort in practice, that all combined to create a really positive influence for our guys. He was the prime example of leading by example. He brought the same effort and enthusiasm every day and really that’s exactly what you want from one of your veteran players.”

With his junior career now over, Watungwa is preparing for his next team, and like his entrance to the Knights, he’s thrilled for the opportunity.

“They (Finlandia) are in a rebuild year, but they are definitely really excited about where the program’s going,” he said. “I was really happy to get in when I could to help be a part of that rebuild. Honestly the big thing I’m excited about is that I get to play hockey for another four years. Obviously I’m excited to go to school, to get that part of my life started, but I get to do a thing I love for another four years, and I think that’s just awesome.”

Under Coach Burcar, the Lions program is looking to get back to its earlier success in his first stint as the team’s bench boss. In the last four seasons of that stretch, Burcar guided Finlandia to a 57-43-7 record, including an MCHA postseason conference championship in 2006-07.

“Finlandia is a tight knit community that loves and is passionate about their hockey,” said Fusco. “They have strong support from the school. Coach Burcar is back there rebuilding the program in a very strong conference and it’s very exciting to send one my players there. It means a lot that I can help move a player to his goal of division III college hockey, but also exciting and sentimental to send him to coach Burcar and Finlandia. It’s a great fit, Joe is excited and Tyler is excited-it’s a perfect fit.”

In parting, Watungwa isn’t going without fond memories. The season may have ended a few games earlier than he had hoped, but he’s happy to have been on for the ride.

“Making 20 new friends,” he said of his favorite part of wearing the Knights sweater. “Every team you go to, you’ve got 20 guys you’re going to war with every night. All those guys in our locker room, I consider brothers. I’d say the relationships that I made over the last three and a half months were pretty awesome.”

His gratitude was not limited to just those he skated with.

“First and foremost, I want to thank my mom,” he said. “She’s been a big part of getting me into sports. She drives me to all these crazy places in the middle of nowhere just to play hockey. She’s been a real inspiration for me. A huge thank you to coach Fusco and the whole Knights organization for giving me the ability to play at a level where I could be in front of all of these scouts and giving me the right coaching and the tools I needed to get to the next level. I want to thank all the teammates that I had this year and past years who helped make me a better player and a better person.”

Fusco shared the sentiment but reversed its direction.

“I want to thank Tyler for being a part of this year with us,” he said. “It takes a special type of player to accomplish what he did in our dressing room and on the ice. He’s an incredibly ward worker, and a great person. I’ll be following his career eagerly, and I wish him only the best in hockey and in his life beyond.”

The Knights join coach Fusco in thanking Tyler and wishing the best of luck at Finlandia and in all his pursuits in life!

Knights Agree to Tender with ’01 Defenseman Greg Japchen

Greg Japchen became the latest in a line of talented prospects to sign on for the Knights 2018-19 campaign. The 2001-born defenseman agreed to a tender that was finalized today. Already committed to the University of Nebraska-Omaha (NCAA DI-NCHC) Japchen has drawn the attention of the hockey world for his highly-valued skillset.

“I’m a puck-moving defenseman,” said Japchen of his playing style. “I can skate the puck up ice and and I have the speed to make plays.”

“Greg is a highly-skilled defenseman that sees the ice extremely well,” said Knights assistant coach Andrew Whiteside. “His stick and mobility make him one of the top 2001 birth year defensemen in the nation. We are very excited to have Greg part of the Knights organization.”

A native of Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Japchen has already given the Knights a preview of his high-ceiling. The left-handed defenseman joined the team for a road contest against the Philadelphia Rebels in mid-January. He didn’t disappoint.

“I thought he played well,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal. “I think he showed us why he’s such a sought-after talent. In a game against one of our better opponents, it was exciting to see that he didn’t look out of place out there.”

“Playing with the Knights, it was easy to see they’re a quick, skilled team,” said Japchen. “They have some really fast forwards up front, and strong goal tending. The Rebels were a fast team too. They skate to the puck hard, they play a good game. Being able to play junior hockey has given me a good idea of the pace of that level. You have to be able to pick your head up and make decisions with the puck quickly. It’s helped me to get faster and improve my overall skillset.”

Japchen will finish 2017-18 with the Philadelphia Junior Flyers 16U program before preparing for next season. Through 31 games, he has recorded three goals and six assists. That does not include his game with the Knights, as well as one game in the USHL with the Omaha Lancers. The 16-year old is confident he’ll be ready for whatever opportunity comes his way.

“Over the summer I plan on getting bigger, stronger, and faster,” said the 5-11, 175 lbs defenseman. “I want to focus on skill and stick-handling-things of that nature as I work to improve my game.”

The Knights are excited to welcome Greg to the organization and look forward to following his hockey career!

Knights Defenseman Anthony Firriolo Commits to Army

Photo: Jessica Kovalcin

Knights defenseman Anthony Firriolo has committed to the United States Military Academy West Point to play division one hockey starting in the 2019-20 season. The ’98 defenseman has chosen not only to play for a great hockey program but also to serve his country in the army.

“Just the brotherhood, the chance to serve my country,” said Firriolo of his interest in Army. “They came to me recently and I had the opportunity to visit the campus. It really felt like a perfect fit for me.”

The United States Military Academy has been a member of NCAA Division I hockey since the program’s beginning in 1903. For the past 15 years the Black Knights have competed in the Atlantic conference with former Brown University alum Brian Riley serving as head coach for the previous 14 seasons. Alumni of the Black Knights program include former NHL forward and Stanley Cup Champion Dan Hinote.

“Anthony is headed to a program that fits his personality and who he is,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal. “It tells you about his character. He’s a talented player, but a better person who not only wants to play hockey and work hard to earn an education, but wants to serve his country in doing so. We’re very proud of him.”

After being acquired in a trade with the Amarillo Bulls early in the season, Firriolo has settled in nicely as a potent offensive player on the Knights talented blue line. Through 22 games with the Knights and 11 with the Bulls, Firriolo leads all Knights defensemen in assists with 13 and has logged valuable time on the team’s power play, serving as one of its primary quarterbacks. Six of his 13 helpers have come while on the man-advantage.

“I feel I bring offense to a team’s defense,” said Firriolo of his playing style. “I bring some skill to the back end, I like to move pucks up the ice and create opportunities to score. I think I’ll fit at West Point because I like to challenge myself. I like to work hard and have a never-give-up attitude, and out on the ice I’m constantly looking to make myself and my teammates better.”

Through it all, the defenseman has kept an appreciation for playing in the NAHL and his team’s competition.

“The compete level, especially in our division, is special,” he said. “Every night is like a playoff game. You have to bring your a-game because it can go either way against the first-place team or last-place team. Everybody’s highly skilled.”

Firriolo has enjoyed his time playing as a Knight thus far, and credits all those who’ve been alongside him on the journey.

“The coaching staff here has been unreal,” he said. “They took me in after I arrived, a little after the beginning of the season. This group of teammates I think is the closest group I’ve ever been a part of. They way this place operates is perfect for me.”

With his commitment to the Black Knights, Firriolo becomes the seventh Knights NAHL veteran to commit to a division one school over the past year, the third to a team in the Atlantic Hockey.

“He’s a player we’ve had a need for this year,” said Kowal. “Him being an offensive-minded defenseman is an important piece to have on any hockey team, the way the game is being played now. He’s filled that role nicely for us. At the end of the day, we’re thrilled with what he’s brought to our program. I really look forward to rooting him on as he advances forward in his hockey career.”

“I want to thank Coach Tom and Coach Whiteside for all they’ve done for me,” said Firriolo. “I also want to thank all my previous coaches, my teammates, and my family for supporting me all the way.”

The Knights organization congratulates Anthony for his commitment and thanks him for his contributions to the program’s success!

Donovan, Penalty Kill, Tomeo Lead Knights Past Tomahawks

Following a weekend away from the rink, the Knights returned to East Division play against the Johnstown Tomahawks Friday. It was fitting that the most recent meeting between the pair was yet another closely fought contest. Four of the prior six tilts were decided by two goals or less.

Round seven of Knights-Tomahawks pitted David Tomeo anchoring the crease for second-place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton against Kade Phipps in goal for fifth-place Johnstown. Both netminders were supported by solid defensive efforts in a true-to-form blue collar battle.

In an opening period that saw just 12 combined shots on goal, the Tomahawks cashed in on their very first, courtesy of Samuel Solensky. At 1:59, the Tomahawks leading-scorer was assisted by Donovan Ott and Chase Davidson on the tally, Solensky’s sixth against the Knights this season. The remainder of the period saw both teams limited by steady back-checking and play in net, leaving the score at 1-0 after 20 minutes.

The second period saw an uptick in shots and as well as penalty minutes, as both sides took unsuccessful turns on the man-advantage. Both Phipps and Tomeo remained steady in net to keep the score 1-0 three quarters of the way through the middle frame. Tyrone Bronte ended the drought at 16:15 off a wrister set up by Reed Robinson.

The tie would linger well into the third with more failed power plays and saves coming on both ends of the ice. The Knights would at last find their go-ahead goal at 16:55 when Mike Morrissey led Shay Donovan over the blue line where the latter hammered slap shot past Phipps. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton would go on to withstand the Tomahawks extra attacker for the final 1:17 of play to earn a 2-1 victory.

In Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s third-straight win, Tomeo made 27 saves on 28 shots, good for his sixth win of the season. Phipps stopped 19 of 21 in his first loss. Both teams were 5/5 on the penalty kill.

Knights in the USHL: Stoever Stays Steady

Knights fans may have noticed the absence of Christian Stoever from the Wikes-Barre/Scranton lineup card Friday. Stoever is currently playing for the Des Moines Buccaneers in the USHL. In his first start last night, the ’00 goalie stopped 19 of 22 shots on goal on his way to his first USHL win. The third round pick has a 10-2-2 record with a 3.00 GAA and .908 save percentage with the Knights this season.

Next Up:

The EHL Knights will kick off a two-game home stand this afternoon against the New England Wolves at 3:45 pm EST. Free admission will be granted to any fans attending the Revolution Ice Centre. The game will be available on hockeytv.com. Follow @WBSKnightsEHL on twitter for updates.

The NAHL Knights will take on the Tomahawks again tonight at 7:00 pm EST. The game will also be broadcast on hockeytv.com. Follow Knights social media and visit www.nahl.com for live updates!

 

 

 

 

Reed Robinson Commits to Niagara University

On Thursday, Knights forward Reed Robinson confirmed his commitment to Niagara University. Robinson, a ’98 from Rockwall, Texas, has been a member of the Knights organization since 2015.

“Reed Robinson is one of our most veteran players,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal. “This is his third season playing in our organization. He’s a guy who’s improved every year and is proof of where hard work can take you.”

Robinson is currently second on the Knights in scoring, with 10 goals and 14 assists in 25 games played in 2017-18. That total is ninth-highest in the North American Hockey League through the first three months of play.

“Reed’s one of our most talented players, and one of our biggest threats on the ice,” said Kowal. “Whether it’s 5-on-5, 3-on-3, overtime, power play, or penalty kill, we’re confident in putting him on the ice. He’s one of our leaders in points this season, but more importantly he’s one of our leaders in the locker room. He sets the tone and has really been a mentor to our younger players in helping them make the transition to junior hockey.”

“I’ve spent the last two years focused on my fitness,” said Robinson. “I think that’s really helped me to become a point-per-game player and I think it’s allowed me to help others on my team. Playing in the NAHL, it’s a high level of play, and the competition is hard to beat. It’s matured me.”

It was Robinson’s continued success at that level that brought him the attention of the Niagara University Purple Eagles, who play in the Atlantic Hockey Conference at the NCAA’s division one level. The program has a new staff this season, one that has guided the Purple Eagles to a quick start in 2017-18.

“The coaching staff was really what stood out to me,” said Robinson of his future home. “They’ve got the program going in the right direction, and I’m confident that I can play a role there. It’s in a small town-everybody knows everybody and I like that. Niagara Falls is right there and it’s right next to the Canadian border. It’s a really beautiful place.”

Robinson will spend the rest of his current season working to continue to improve his game as well as helping the Knights in their efforts in accomplishing their highest goal.

“We’re tied for first right now, we want make a run,” he said. “I want keep scoring and performing well but our ultimate goal is to win the Robertson Cup. I’m going to do whatever I can to help us get there.”

“At the end of the day, Reed is a great addition for the Niagara Purple Eagles and for division one hockey,” said Kowal. “He’s earned it and we’re thrilled he’s being rewarded for it.”

On behalf of the entire organization, the Knights would like to congratulate Reed on his commitment to Niagara University, and thank him for his continued efforts both on and off the ice to advancing the team’s success!

Fuss Named To EHL All-Star Team

Photo Credit: Jess Kovalcin

Jake Fuss has been a staple for the Knights organization in the past two years, setting tier-III junior hockey records last season in the NA3AHL, and leading the Knights EHL team in points in 2017-18. Through 11 games played, Fuss is tied for third in the league with 11 goals. For his efforts, the Knights captain has been named to the EHL all-star team for the their upcoming exhibition with UMass Boston Beacons.

The Beacons are the first NCAA opponent the EHL has ever faced. UMass Boston plays out of the NEHC in NCAA division III hockey. They’ll host Team EHL on Saturday, October 21st at 4:00 pm EDT.

“Jake is as deserving as anyone in this league of a spot on the all-star team,” said Knights head coach Josh Fusco. “He’s not just a scorer for us. He’s a leader, our captain, and he sets the tone on and off the ice. He comes to work every day, every shift, and gives us a great boost in everything we do. I’m happy that he’s being recognized for it.”

“I feel good about it,” said Fuss. “I want to thank my teammates for their support, for getting me here. I thank Coach Fusco for putting in a good word for me. It’ll be a good test this weekend going against UMass Boston, seeing how a college team runs their systems. It’ll be good to see how the EHL holds up.”

The Knights join coach Fusco in congratulating Jake on his well-deserved recognition!

Knights Fall, Salvage Point in Wild Sunday Affair

In the rubber match of the three-game series between the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights and Northeast Generals, things promised to be exciting as the teams had each picked a win, and had scored nine goals each, through games one and two.

In contrast with the prior 48 hours, the game began in tight fashion, with both teams engaged in a transition game battle, but both failed to settle down into a consistent offensive rhythm. Through a scoreless first, both goalies-David Tomeo for the Knights, and Marko Sturma for the Generals-traded solid saves, while both power plays were held scoreless (Knights 0-1, Generals 0-3).

The second period picked up in pace, but the scoreless streak continued until Mike Morrissey drove hard to the net at 7:05 and put home a rebound generated by Tom Farrell and Reed Robinson. The Knights pressure following the score, would be continually denied by spectacular work in net by Sturma for the remainder of the period.

The Knights in turn, weathered the Northeast storm on the forecheck and power play, as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton penalties continued to mount. The penalty kill remained perfect and Tomeo held strong until 15:30, when Louis Boudon received a Luke Perunovich drop pass, which he fired past Tomeo to tie the game at one. With 21 seconds remaining in the period, Colin Bilek found a loose puck to the left of Tomeo and flipped it through a host of bodies to take the 2-1 lead (Perunovich).

The third period brought with it an exchange of all-out offensive hockey. The Knights tied the game when Curtis Carlson scored on the power play at 3:26 (R. Robinson, Kidney). Hunter Canestra came back after an unsuccessful Generals man-advantage and scored even-strength off assists from Justin Kelley and Shawn Montgomery. Shortly thereafter, Tomeo was lifted following his second penalty of the contest, bringing in Christian Stoever off the bench.

After the Knights killed off the penalty, Mike Morrissey picked up his second goal of the game, put home off a rebound to tie the contest at three at 9:52. The goal was set up by Luke Robinson and Reed Robinson on the helpers. Knights nemesis Louis Boudon answered quickly as he buried his second tally of the game at 11:16, assisted by Bilek and Anthony Quatieri to again put the Generals ahead by one.

The Knights continued to be sent to the box, as they’d face two more penalties, staving off both, to go a perfect 9-9 on the afternoon on the kill, making them 14-14 in their last two games. Top it off, on the first of the two infractions, the Knights scored their third short-handed goal of the weekend when Tom Farrell crashed the net and flipped a puck past Sturma, assisted by Danchenko and Jack Olmstead.

Despite the offensive success shorthanded, the continued march to the box robbed the Knights of quality five-on-five time, forcing them to chase for much of the third period. Despite this, Adrian Danchenko found the go-ahead goal at 17:35 off assists from Reed Robinson and Gabe Temple. The 5-4 lead looked to be locked down, as the Generals were forced to pull their goalie with under a minute to go.

With 17.6 seconds left, the Knights called a timeout with a faceoff coming in their own zone. When play resumed, the Generals executed a perfect play to set up Boudon in the slot. The French forward notched the game-tying goal and the hat trick with just 12.6 seconds left in regulation.

Into overtime, the abundance of offensive chances continued. The Knights best opportunity came when Matt Kidney walked in on Sturma who was pulled out of position off an initial save. Somehow, the Slovakian net-minder made a lunging stick save from the opposite post to rob Kidney the of game-winning score. Back down the other way came Matt Demelis, and with a nifty move, he bested Stoever for the game-winning tally.

The tough loss for the Knights did come with the silver lining of one point in overtime, exceptional penalty killing, shorthanded scoring, and strong contributions from its offense. That in mind, the team will try to bounce back next week when they host the Johnstown Tomahawks for a home-home series on Friday and Saturday. Stay tuned to www.wbsknights.com and Knights social media through the week for updates on all Knights news!

EHL Recap: Knights Complete Comeback Thriller against Bobcats Royals

A slow start gave way to a dominant finish as the Knights erase 4-goal deficit to stun New York in overtime

It’s not how you start, but how you finish. The famous line may be uttered often, but it makes it no less relevant in the world of ice hockey.

On Monday afternoon’s contest with the New York Bobcats Royals, the phrase had to have been present in the back of the Knights collective thoughts as they watched their opponents race ahead to a 4-0 lead.

Things began clicking for the Bobcats Royals out of the gate, as in the game’s first minute, forward Bryan Whelan hopped on a turnover under the Knights blue line and in alone, made a nifty move in front of Knights goalie Thomas Walker for the 1-0 lead. From there, the Bobcats Royals attack ultimately ran through their captain Matthew Araujo. The left-handed defenseman scored the game’s second goal at 5:44 with a power play rocket off assists from Bryan Whelan and Anthony Zyller.

Arajuo would strike again at 16:18 on another well-placed shot (Thomas Fagan, Connor Blair) to build a 3-0 lead that would hold through the end of the period.

With the Knights looking to turn things around in the middle frame, they came out with an aggressive tempo to start the second, but an offensive zone turnover forced by Araujo led to his assist on former Knight, Louie Kuka’s breakaway goal, putting New York up 4-0 in the game’s first 22 minutes. After the score, Knights coach Josh Fusco replaced Thomas Walker with Jared Stahel in net.

Stahel settled in and made few tough saves to keep the game from getting out of hand. It was around the 15 minute mark of the period that the Knights began to find their stride. As their forecheck gained steam in the attacking zone, the Bobcats Royals took a two-minute penalty for interference, sending Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to their first power play of the game at 15:22. Just 38 seconds in, Rhett Padgett poked and weaved the puck through the offensive zone, before burying it through the traffic in front of New York goaltender Niklas Butchma.

The Knights first goal was quickly answered by an Araujo hat trick assisted by Jason Santoriello and Thomas Fagan 54 seconds later. With the period winding down, the Knights attack refused to quit. At 18:12 Alex Morawski set up Anthony Starzi, who notched his first goal of his junior hockey career, beating Butchma to trim the deficit back to three.

With their forecheck humming through the end of the period, the Knights drew another penalty and power play opportunity with just 14 seconds left in the second. Though they were unsuccessful in scoring on the man-advantage that bridged 1:46 into the third period, the Knights were able to generate sustained offensive pressure and scoring chances. Niklas Butchma’s steady play kept them at bay, as it had for the majority of the first 40 minutes, but the disadvantage of New York having a short bench finally showed its effect in the third period.

The Knights presence in the offensive end of the ice built rapidly in the opening minutes of the frame as the Bobcats Royals were consistently caught chasing in their own end. At the 4:17 mark, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton defenseman David Pfoestl fired a missile from the point that banked off a New York leg and past Butchma to bring the Knights within two.

Another Bobcats Royals penalty followed at 4:45, and while the Knights again were kept out of the net by several strong saves by Butchma, their was no shortage of quality chances.

At 8:20 the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton forecheck drew their fourth power play of the game, an area that Alex Morawski is quickly turning into a specialty. The Lake Worth, Florida native found the twine for the third time this season, assisted by fixtures Jake Fuss and Rhett Padgett.

Having seen their lead shrink to one, the Bobcats Royals pushed their way back on the attack, but were turned aside by Stahel’s steady relief effort and a Knights forecheck that was quick and dangerous in transition. In a game they had once trailed 4-0, the the Knights drew even when Anthony Starzi, parked in front of the net, tipped home an offering from Morawski at 15:09 for his second goal of the game.

Regulation would prove to be too short to name a winner, as both teams headed to overtime desperate to earn two points. The Knights wouldn’t take long as just 49 seconds into the extra period of 3-on-3, Starzi started a cycle to Padgett who ripped a shot to the front of the net where a waiting Jake fuss tipped it home for the Knights exhilirating win.

The team improved to 3-3 on the young season. They’ll be back at it for a home-and-home on Saturday, September 30th at 2:30 pm and Sunday, October 1st at 2:00 pm against the Connecticut Rough Riders. Both games are free to attend at the Revolution Ice Centre, and the game will be broadcast on hockeytv.com. Follow @WBSKnightsEHL on twitter and the live box score at easternhockeyleague.org for live updates!