Tag Archives: Josh Fricks

Knights Top Rebels in Preseason Affair

Photo Credit: Jessica Kovalcin

The need for speed was well satisfied for those inside the Revolution Ice Centre Friday afternoon. The newly minted Philadelphia Rebels, fresh off their move from Aston, met the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights for an early September-scrimmage.

The Knights opened the competition at a blistering pace as their crop of new players established an aggressive tempo from opening face off, outshooting the Rebels 23-7 in the first frame.

Despite this, Philadelphia goalie Ryan Keane kept the Knights off the board through a period and a half of play, before he was pulled midway through the second. The agile netminder stopped all 30 shots he faced before the Rebels changed goalies.

The Rebels were the first team to score midway through the second period, pushing a puck through a scrum in front, past a diving Christian Stoever.

Shortly after, Stoever took an early seat to allow Kevin Lake a turn in goal as a part of the preseason rotation. The Knights added their first goal as the minutes wound down in the second, when Josh Fricks  collected his own rebound and weaved his way around the goalie for the score. Tyrone Bronte was credited the primary and Kyrill Ulanov the secondary apples on the tally.

Minutes later, the Rebels inadvertently aided the Knights cause; on a delayed penalty call against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the Rebels pulled their goalie. A miscommunication along the benches during a Rebels change sent an errant pass banking off the sideboards, back and into the vacant Philadelphia net, giving the Knights a 2-1 lead at the end of two.

Fricks continued his blistering afternoon with an early goal in the third on a slick set up from Bronte down low, while Lincoln Hatten was credited with an assist as well.

The Knights continued to needle crisp passes through the offensive zone when Jack Olmstead sifted Gabe Temple a pass inside the blue line. Temple split a pair before flicking a  pass back to Olmstead, who drew the goalie out of the net with a quick deke and score, building a 4-1 Knights lead. Kyrill Ulanov picked up his second helper of the day with the secondary.

Jake Fuss set up the game’s final goal when he fired a cross-slot pass to a crashing Tyler Nielsen, who put puck to twine to finalize a Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 5-1 victory.

Next week the Knights open their NAHL regular season at home with a 7:30 pm face off against the New Jersey Titans. To buy tickets in advance, call (570) 883-1100 or email [email protected]

Knights Roster Breakdown II: Forecheck Buzzing with Balance  

A balanced group of forwards look to bolster Knights attack in 2017-18

With each year, a new crop of Knights arrives at the Revolution Ice Centre to make their case for an NAHL roster spot. This year is no exception as large shoes have been left to fill by the team’s most recent departures. Gone are forwards Joe Schuler and Sam Antonitsch, who are headed to Colby College and Europe, respectively, while veteran Paul Maust will be vying for a spot in the USHL.

On the ice, that leaves a significant loss of production to replace. Maust was second on the team in points last year, while Antonitsch was tied for second in goals. Schuler brought top-shelf toughness and steady defensive play with each shift, particularly on the penalty kill. All three were vocal members of the locker room, with years of experience playing junior hockey.

Beyond replacing players moving on, there are other roster spots open to competition. The good news for the Knights-they have many skilled and hard-working applicants.

The International Pool

In the NAHL, teams are allowed four players from outside the US on their roster. Last season, imports Dorian Dawson, Markuss Komuls and Sam Antonitsch were major pieces in the Knights lineup.

Tender Dominik Bogdziul was unable to make it to main camp, but his skill and resume are more than worthy of bringing him to training camp.

The Lithuanian has spent the last two years stateside, playing in the NA3HL. In 85 games, he registered 63 goals and 105 assists.

“Dominik creates a ton of space and offense for his teammates,” said Knights assistant coach Andrew Whiteside. “His speed along with his skillset make him a threat all over the ice.”

Alongside his impressive play in the US, the ’98 birth year has represented his home country in four consecutive seasons at the World Junior Classic in both the U18 and U20 age groups.

Tender Tyrone Bronte is a forward from Australia. The ’99 birth year has played in the NAPHL 18U for the past two seasons, scoring 21-35-56 in 48 games. Like Bogdziul, he has represented his country at World Juniors. For Australia’s U18 team, he scored six goals and six assists in five games last season on his way to a D2B gold-medal finish.

“Tyrone brings great offensive instincts and skills to our organization right away,” said Knights head scout Justin Schreiber. “He thinks the game really well, which pushed him to lead the NAPHL in scoring this past year.”

Tomas Koblizek is a big-bodied, 17-year old turning heads wherever he goes. The Czechoslovakian forward is eligible for the 2018 NHL draft and has even achieved top-100 ranking by some NHL draft pundits.

“Tomas is a player that’s already proven himself at an international level,” said Schreiber. “He was a point-per-game player last year at the U17 World Hockey Challenge against the best 2000’s in the world. We are excited to see what he can do with his impressive offensive skillset in North America.”

Koblizek couples a 6-2, 180-pound frame with a knack for generating plays. He picked up five assists in five games in the World Hockey Challenge last season. He’s spent most of his career playing in the Czech U16 and U18 leagues with 139 points in the past four years.

Kiryll Ulanov, son of NHL and KHL veteran Igor Ulanov, is looking to form his own legacy as he moves forward in his hockey career.

The forward’s towering 6-4 frame was hard to miss at camp, and so too was his day-two performance in which he picked up three assists on three consecutive goals. The lefty has prior experience playing junior hockey in Canada.

The Tenders

Expectations were high for Josh Fricks as he entered main camp. In 2016-17, he tallied 23 goals and 35 assists in 40 games played with the Sioux Falls Jr. Stampede U18.

“Josh is an extremely gifted and skilled forward who put up a ton of points this year with his midget U18 team,” said Whiteside. “We feel that Josh will complement our returning core group of forwards right away.”

Watching his electric speed at main camp left no doubt that the Knights excitement for the ‘98 forward is well-warranted. Veteran Matt Kidney tabbed Fricks as one of the most impressive players he saw at camp, as the pair played three games together, often on the same line.

“He’s opened my eyes pretty wide,” said Kidney. “He’s very fast, a little bit like Curtis Carlson.”

Jack Olmstead isn’t a stranger to the Knights. He played in two NAHL games as an affiliate player last year, scoring his first NAHL goal and flashing impressive hands and speed in his audition. The staff liked what they saw from the 19-year old off the ice as well.

“The biggest thing that jumps out at you when you see Jack play is his character,” said Knights scout Justin Schreiber. “He just plays the game the right way; he’s a high character guy on and off the ice and has a ton of offensive skill.”

The lefty forward continued the trend of impressive showings from tenders at camp by showing off quick hands and a hearty helping of skill. He emerged as a leading scorer, with 2-2-4 in four games, plus two game-winning goals in shootouts.

The Draft Class 

Gabe Temple, the Knights most recent first-round pick, displayed the power element to his game, working alongside veteran Mike Gelatt for portions of camp. It was while playing alongside the latter when Temple took a slick pass and flipped it backhand for a slick goal.

“It’s a little bit faster here,” said Temple on his main camp impressions. “There’s a lot of good guys here with a lot of skill. It’s pretty fun though, I like the competitiveness. I’m a big forward, I can put the puck in the net, I make plays, I have a lot of speed.”

“Gabe projects as an impact player,” said Whiteside. “That blend of talent and want-to is something we value highly on our team.”

As with any member of their draft class, the Knights were eager to see what fifth-round pick Lincoln Hatten would bring to the ice at main camp. At each stage of the scouting process, the Dallas Stars U16 product made an impression on those the Knights sent to scout him.

“He’s a player who got better every time we evaluated him,” said Whiteside. “He’s a skilled, big forward and stood out on one of the better midget rosters in the country.”

Hatten was a consistent force across the ice at camp, showing a finishing ability to accompany his bruising tenacity, registering three goals and two assists in four games played.

Tucker Chapman, the team’s sixth round pick, is a long-time veteran of the USHS playing in his home state of Minnesota. Chapman was a standout there, finishing in the top five in goals, assists, points, and games played in Lourdes Eagles history (per eliteprospects.com).

“Tucker is a skilled forward that uses his elite skating ability to create space for himself on the rush,” said Schreiber.

The Invites

A local product from Shavertown, Pennsylvania, Chris McGrath came to camp with a strong pedigree. His brother Patrick plays for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, the AHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins. McGrath, a former member of the Knights 16UA teams from 2012-2014, held his own at Knights main camp, scoring goals on both day one and two before playing in both all-star games on day three.

Another former Knight returning to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area is Alex Rowella. After playing youth hockey within the organization until 2015, he has spent the last two years in his home state of Connecticut playing for the EHL’s Connecticut Oilers. A 6-1, 190-pound ‘97, Rowella is coming off a strong season in which he scored 20 goals and 17 assists in 47 games.

Rounding out the forwards is yet another familiar face in Tyler Uravage. Like Rowella, Uravage played at various levels of Knights youth hockey until 2015. He spent last season with the Binghamton Jr. Senators of the NA3HL, lighting up the score sheet with 33-69-102 in 52 games. At main camp, he skated well alongside NAHL veterans Paul Maust and Reed Robinson, picking up three goals and two assists in five games played.

The USHL

Back in 2016, Knights 2017 second-round pick Justin Engelkes was selected in the 2016 USHL Futures Draft by the Des Moines Buccaneers. As such, he’ll attempt to make their roster in the coming weeks. If he does not, the Knights can add him back to their own. The talented two-way skater offers versatility and physicality, and is already committed to play division one hockey for Miami University (Ohio).

“Justin is another quality two-way forward that plays the NAHL-style game,” said Schreiber. “He plays a very aggressive, physical style of hockey and can put the puck in the net as well.”

With main camp in the rear-view mirror, this young group will soon be competing to make the Knights roster to start the season. The best teams often must make hard decisions come roster cut deadlines, and in that regard, the coaching staff will have a lot to think about. With that said, those are the types of decisions that put together good hockey teams that produce great hockey players.

The Knights report to training camp at the beginning of September and will open their season against the New Jersey Titans at the Revolution Ice Centre at 7:30 pm on Friday, September 15th. Tickets can be pre-ordered by calling (570)-883-1100.

Knights Complete Tender Class for 2017-18 Season

Group of five forwards, four defensemen and one goalie full of potential

As the Knights prepare for tomorrow’s 2017 NAHL Draft, they do so bolstered by the confidence of having already assembled an exciting tender class for next season. Each year, NAHL teams are given 10 tenders, or agreements used to secure player rights within the NAHL for the upcoming season. Over the past year, the Knights staff has been busy scouting across the country and the world, for future players. Their efforts have culminated in a group of ten players, versatile in skills, positions, and experience.

“Our staff has put in a lot of hours to build this list and we’re really pleased with how it came out,” said Knights NAHL head coach Tom Kowal. “There’s a lot of talent in this group. I’m excited to bring them together and work with them this summer. It’s a group that could really play a big part for us this coming season.”

Jack Olmstead, Forward, Little Caesars U18, HPHL U18

As an affiliate player with the Knights NAHL team last year, Jack made an immediate impact by scoring a goal in just his second NAHL game.

“The biggest thing that jumps out at you when you see Jack play is his character,” said Knights scout Justin Schreiber. “He just plays the game the right way; he’s a high character guy on and off the ice and has a ton of offensive skill.”

That skill was put on the display for the Little Caesars U18 team where the lefty forward tallied nine goals and 17 assists in 17 games. The scoring prowess, attitude and prior NAHL experience has the Knights excited for his potential.

Tyrone Bronte, Forward, Meijer AAA Hockey 18U, NAPHL 18U

Bronte was a part of a U18 D2B gold-medal finish for his home country of Australia at the World Junior Classic last season. The Heathmont, Victoria native led his team with six goals and six assists in five games played. The leading scorer trend continued stateside where he scored 12 goals and 24 assists in 18 games with Meijer AAA Hockey in the NAPHL 18U.

“Tyrone brings great offensive instincts and skills to our organization right away,” said Schreiber. “He thinks the game really well, which pushed him to lead the NAPHL in scoring this past year.”

Thomas Farrell, Defenseman, Chicago Mission U18, HPHL U18:

Farrell, another 2016-17 affiliate player, impressed enough to earn a call-back to help a Knights roster in the Robertson Cup Playoffs. In five total games, the 6-1 defenseman skated well in the minutes he was given and added a goal for good measure.

“Thomas’ elite skating ability and vision are his best attributes,” said Knights assistant coach Andrew Whiteside. “We feel his game will translate extremely well at the NAHL level and above.”

In 22 games with the Chicago Mission U18, Farrell demonstrated that ability with big minutes and a solid stat line of a goal and eight assists.

Josh Fricks, Forward, Sioux Falls Jr. Stampede 18U

A native of Laguna Niguel, California and most recently a member of the Sioux Falls Jr. Stampede 18U Tier -1 AAA program, Fricks is another skilled forward with plenty of points on the resume. This past season the 1998 birth year registered 23 goals and 35 assists in 40 games played.

“Josh is an extremely gifted and skilled forward who put up a ton of points this year with his midget U18 team,” said Whiteside. “We feel that Josh will complement our returning core group of forwards right away.”

Blake Kryska, Defenseman, Oakland Jr. Grizzlies U18, T1EHL U18

Kryska is another defenseman with NAHL experience, the most recent coming with the Knights in the 2016-17 Robertson Cup Playoffs. All totaled, the ’99 birth year has already amassed a healthy amount of work in the NAHL to accompany 13 games played in the T1EHL U18. There the big-bodied defenseman posted a line of one goal and six assists for the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies.

“Blake’s a steady presence on the blue line and his decision-making skills with the puck are beyond his age,” said Whiteside. “We expect Blake to log a ton of minutes on our back end next year.”

Luke Robinson, Defenseman, Dallas Stars AAA U16, T1EHL U16

The Knights again bring back a familiar face as Robinson is another former affiliate player the team saw in action last year. To have that experience before his 16th birthday is an impressive feat, one not lost on the Knights staff.

“Luke is a big, physical presence in his own zone and has the skating ability to jump in and join the rush if the opportunity presents itself,” said Schreiber. “Luke’s hockey IQ is probably his biggest strength as he keeps it simple and minimizes mistakes.”

Robinson displayed his consistency in his prior league, playing in a total of 72 games over his past two seasons in the T1EHL U16, scoring 3-7-10 in 2015-16 and 1-8-9 in 2016-17, supporting the offensive dimension he has, accompanying his intelligence and physicality.

David Tomeo, Goalie, New Jersey Hitmen, USPHL

A former opponent, Tomeo made his lone NAHL start last year against the Knights in the final stretch of the regular season. Though the Knights were ultimately victorious that afternoon, Tomeo made a lasting impression with a flurry of impressive saves.

“David is a goaltender that comes with junior experience in both the USHL and the NAHL,” said Whiteside. “He has won at every level and we expect him to have a significant impact in our crease right away.”

In 11 games in the USPHL Premier last season, Tomeo backed up his impressive showings at other levels with a GAA of 2.18 and a save percentage of .925 in 11 regular season games.

Andrew Wells, Forward, Esmark Stars U16 AAA, NAPHL 16U

Already 6-1 at 17 years old, Wells is a power forward coming out of U16 but with that the right-handed forward brings more than just physicality. In 73 games with the Esmark Stars last season, he picked up 35 goals and 37 assists in 73 games played.

“Andrew plays a true power forward game,” said Schreiber. “His mix of size, physical play, and offensive ability is very exciting. His ceiling is very high and we are excited see how he develops.”

Dominik Bogdziul, Forward, Binghamton Jr. Senators, NA3HL

Bogdziul is another member of the Knights tender class that has represented his country at World Juniors this past season. A member of team Lithuania in the WJC U20 D2A, Bogdziul scored four goals and eight assists in five games played in a gold place finish in the tournament.

In the NA3HL last season, he tallied 46 goals and 89 assists in 50 games played for the Binghamton Jr. Senators.

“Dominik creates a ton of space and offense for his teammates,” said Whiteside. “His speed along with his skill set make him a threat all over the ice.”

Kolby Klingenmeyer, Defenseman, Colorado Thunderbirds U16, T1EHL U16

The most recent addition to the Knights tender class, Klingenmeyer is a right-handed defenseman born in the year 2000. Still just 16, Klingenmeyer is coming off an impressive season for the Colorado Thunderbirds last season, as the 6-1 blueliner scored three goals and 21 assists in 32 regular season games. He added three more goals and five helpers in five playoff games.

“Kolby is a defenseman that brings a nice offensive element to his game,” said Schreiber. “He doesn’t sacrifice size or physicality with that either, which makes him an exciting guy to bring to our defensive group.”

The Anchorage, Alaska native has the ability and production that can’t be ignored.

With the tender class squared away the Knights will add to the list of potential newcomers in the 2017 NAHL Entry Draft, tomorrow at 2 PM EST. The draft will be broadcast on www.hockeytv.com and a live tracker will be available at www.nahldraft.com. Follow live updates on the Knights picks at www.wbsknights.com as we bring you the profiles of each draft pick complete with input from Knights staff.