Tag Archives: Josh Benson

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!

Recap: Knights Drop Second Straight Against Fairbanks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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