Tag Archives: JP Natishan

Knights Alumni Natishan, McGrath Recognized for Humboldt Aid and DeFriest Aid

Photo: Times Leader

Last week, Knights  alumni JP Natishan and Chris McGrath were recognized for their efforts to assist the victims and families of the tragic Humboldt Broncos bus crash.

The pair have been selling custom-designed t-shirts that show support for the Broncos with a “Humboldt Broncos Strong” slogan, with all proceeds being donated to the Broncos players as well as their families. Together the duo raised $1500.

“As a junior hockey player, and all the time I’ve spent on the bus with my brothers, I couldn’t imagine something like that happening,” said Natishan. “I just want to help them out any way that I could.”

“It was just such a terrible thing to happen,” said McGrath. “As a hockey player you spend so much time on the bus with your team and a lot of bonding goes on there as well so to see something like that happen just really hit home. It affected not just the hockey community, but the whole world. I felt like everyone else I think; I just wanted to help. JP and I ended up putting together the shirts and the hoodies as our way of chipping in. It didn’t matter if we only sold 1 item or 1,000 we just wanted try and do whatever we could and it ended up doing well.”

Natishan completed his junior career last spring playing for the Knights EHL team. He and McGrath are long-time friends who skated a number of seasons together for the Knights youth program. Both are heading to play NCAA DIII college hockey this fall with Natishan lacing up the skates for Kings College and McGrath joining nearby Wilkes University.

“JP is truly a selfless guy who puts others first,” said Knights EHL head coach Josh Fusco. “He’s the type of guy every coach wants on their team and in their locker room. Getting to know him and watch him succeed on and off the ice as a player and a leader has been a really rewarding part of my time as a coach.”

The pair will not rest on what they’ve accomplished thus far. Bobby DeFriest, a 19-year old hockey player who is both a former teammate and mutual friend to both McGrath and Natishan, was recently diagnosed with an extremely rare form of brain cancer.  DeFriest’s family is seeking  to raise money to cover medical costs via gofundme. Those interested can donate at:

https://www.gofundme.com/DeFriestStrong

For their part, Natishan and McGrath have created another shirt for sale online with the slogan “Glory Lasts Forever,” on the front and the hashtag “DeFriest Strong” to match the family’s motto on the back. The shirt can be purchased at:

https://defrieststrong.itemorder.com/sale

ALL proceeds from the sale of each shirt will be donated to Bobby DeFriest and his family. If money cannot be offered, the pair has asked for those practicing to offer their prayers in support of the DeFriest family in their time of need.

“JP Natishan and Chris McGrath are both great examples of the traits we look for when we go out and recruit new players into our organization,” said Knights NAHL head coach Tom Kowal. “Hockey’s a sport, but it’s also a family. Chris and JP are guys that truly care about all members of that family. We are incredibly proud of them, and are happy that they were a part of our program.”

Natishan visiting DeFriest

Knights Blank Bobcats-Royals, Roll to Series Sweep

Friday afternoon kicked off the Knights and Bobcats third meeting of the past two weeks. Winners of the last two exchanges by a combined score of 12-0, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton looked to keep rolling into a three-game weekend.

The game began with the Knights controlling the pace of play. Just shy of the 4:00 marker, Nick Peck flipped a puck to Bryan Whelan, who found Anthony Starzi in front of the net. Starzi pushed his 23rd goal of the season past New York goalie Tyler Shugrue for the opening tally.

A wave of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton chances would continue to bolster a steady forecheck in the first. An 18-shot frame would be capped off by JP Natishan’s snipe at 14:26 off passing from Austin Weber and Jake Nimeh.

In the second, the tempo again belonged to the Knights offense, as the team more than doubled its shot count from the first. Anthony Starzi repaid Bryan Whelan the favor from the first, with the former finding the latter for the 3-0 lead at 8:29. Matt Proski picked up the secondary helper on the goal.

Tyler Shugrue did his part to limit the damage thereafter, but at 16:10 the dam broke open. At 16:10, Tyler Nielsen ripped a rebound past Shugrue for the forward’s 14th tally of the season (Peck, Starzi). Josh Edwards found his first goal of the year exactly one minute later off of a rebound from Matt Proski  set up by a David Pfoestl assist.

Pfoestl decided to join the scoring parade 45 seconds later, when he carried the puck over the blue line, dropped it back to Proski, and then put Proski’s ensuing rebound by for the 6-0 advantage. Cole Wenner was credited with the secondary helper on the score.

In the third, Nate Chuckran tacked on goal number seven, coming off of assists by Tyler Watungwa and Zach Ouladelhadjahmed, putting the contest’s scoring to rest.

At the final horn, the Knights came away with both a 7-0 victory and a series sweep of the Bobcats Royals. The win also brings the Knights back to .500 and keeps them within two points of the New York Applecore for the 4th seed in the South Conference.

Jared Stahel’s steady play between the pipes earned him his third shutout of the season, his second in his last five starts.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will look to keep the momentum going with a road contest today against the Walpole Express at 4:50 PM EST. Tune in on HockeyTV.com and follow @WBSKnightsEHL on Twitter for in-game updates!

Weekend Recap: Knights Roll to Weekend Sweep of Bobcats Royals

Photo: Jessica Kovalcin

Heading into a Saturday-Sunday series in Long Island, the Knights looked to extend their winning ways that can trace their roots back to mid-December. Winners of seven of their last eight games, the Knights hit the ground running Saturday night.

In what could be considered their most-disciplined win of the season, the Knights were kick-started by Denys Arkhypenko, who scored the opening tally at the 16:00 mark of the first period (Emerson Emery). In a period that they out-shot New York 17-5, the Knights entered the first intermission with momentum, but the scoring was kept in check by the steady play of New York netminder, Timothy Carpenter.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s heavy presence in the attacking zone would not relent in the second. Two early New York penalties would allow the forecheck to get off to a quick start. Though both power plays would be killed off, the pressure would not relent, finally giving way to Bryan Whelan at 8:44. The forward would strike against his former team off assists from Austin Weber and Jake Fuss.

Nick Peck would keep the momentum rolling with his seventh goal of the season at 14:13 (Zach Ouladelhadjahmed, Rhett Padgett). The team’s fourth score was tallied with 24 seconds left in the period, when Cody Rumsey and Tyler Watungwa set up JP Natishan for the 4-0 lead.

In the third, the Knights power play would put the game to bed. Austin Weber struck just past the three minute mark (Arkhypenko, Emery), followed by Tyler Watungwa, set up by Emery’s third assist of the game, and William Case’s secondary.

At the final horn, the Knights would skate away with a 6-0 win, capped off by Thomas Walker’s 16-for-16 performance between the pipes, his first shutout of the season.

In game two, the rematch saw an earlier start but a parallel finish. The Knights struck first on the afternoon after Rhett Padgett buried a shot from the blue line, extending his point streak to four games (Austin Weber, Jake Nimeh). Tyler Shugrue did his part in net for the Bobcats Royals, facing 23 shots in the first period alone, saving all but two.

The second tally came off the stick of JP Natishan, scoring  for the second-consecutive game, assisted by captain Jake Fuss. The Knights defense did their part, limiting New York to just four shots on goal. Knights starter Jared Stahel stopped all four en route to another solid start for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

In the middle frame, Nick Peck struck for the Knights third goal (Padgett, Arkhypenko). The game took a decidedly chippy turn as each team traded a grand total of 95 penalty minutes. The Knights penalty kill not only survived, but thrived, killing off each penalty they faced. Top cap it off, in the process of killing off a major penalty, Bryan Whelan added a shorthanded goal (Fuss) in the final minute of the second period. Whelan has now scored points (4-2-6) in all five games he’s played in since being traded to the Knights.

In the third, the Knights thwarted another major penalty and added another shorthanded goal. After assisting the first shortie, Jake Fuss recorded one of his own, finishing off a three-point game. The Knights captain has recorded points in seven-straight games.

In the game’s final minute, fresh off games with the NAHL on Friday and Saturday, Tyler Nielsen hammer a puck through traffic, where Jake Nimeh tipped it home for the score. Brady Hanson picked up the secondary assist.

When the dust had settled, the Knights found themselves with their second-straight 6-0 shutout. For Jared Stahel, his 14 saves on 14 shots marked his second shutout for the season.  The special teams excelled as well: the kill was 7-for-7 with two shorthanded goals. The power play went 2-for-7. The 12 total goals were scored by nine different players, and the Knights mounted 107 shots over two games.

With the victory Sunday, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has won nine of their last 10 games. They’ll look to keep rolling with a mid-week match up with the Philadelphia Revolution on Wednesday afternoon at 2:00 pm EST. Stay tuned to Knights social media and www.wbsknights.com for all news and updates!

JP Natishan Commits to King’s College

Photo: Jessica Kovalcin

Knights EHL forward JP Naitshan has announced his commitment to King’s College of the NCAA’s DIII UCHC conference. As a ’97 birth year, he will suit up for the Monarchs next season as King’s continues to grow its new hockey program.  For Natishan, the acclimation period should be a short one.

“I felt like I was at home,” said Natishan of his experience visiting the King’s campus. “I’m from this area. The campus is beautiful. I know what they’re about as a school and I’m excited to be a part of that.”

The Wyoming, Pennsylvania native is a long-tenured veteran of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights program, dating back to his youth hockey days. His familiarity and impressive resume made him a more than logical choice for the Knights when the team was building a roster for their return to the EHL this year.

“JP is the hardest worker out there,” said Knights EHL head coach Josh Fusco. “He’s a leader who sets the tone for our guys on the ice, in workouts, and in the locker room. He’ll run through a wall for you.”

Natishan will join the Kings Monarchs in their second year playing NCAA division three hockey. The team has played hard even through the growing pains of their inaugural season, a fact that has not escaped their newest recruit.

“I’ve seen Kings play this year, they’re a great group of guys,” Natishan said. “They’re a really hard-working team. I think I fit that. I work hard, I like to play penalty kill, I block a lot of shots. I know I can bring that to their line up.”

Through 33 games, Natishan has three goals and three assists for the Knights in 2017-18 and his presence in his own zone, killing penalties, and matching up with the opposition’s skill lines has been invaluable.

“I lose count of how many shots JP gets down in front of each game,” said Fusco. “He’s a player we turn to in big moments. He grinds out every shift. He’s a guy you love to have on your roster.”

“JP has been a Knight for a long time,” added Knights NAHL head coach Tom Kowal. “He’s been here longer than I have, but I’ve seen him in games, in practice, off the ice. It’s great to see his tremendous effort pay off with him going to play college hockey. We’ll  be rooting for him every step of the way.”

With just a few months remaining in his Knights career, Natishan looks back favorably on his time within the organization.

“It’s tough, but I’d have to say my favorite memory was winning an AYHL U16 championship,” he said of his 2012-13 season. “That was pretty special. I want to thank all my family, friends, teammates, my current and former coaches, and Coach Mallaro at Kings for helping me through this process.”

The Knights are proud of JP’s accomplishments and are excited for him as he moves forward in his college career. The organization will be rooting for him each step of the way!

 

 

EHL: Knights Charge into New Year with Fourth-Straight Win

Photo: Jessica Kovalcin

On Sunday, the Knights took the ice for the first time in 2018 at the Ice Line Quad Rinks against the Philadelphia Junior Flyers. With just three points separating third-place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and the fourth-place JR. Flyers in the Mid-Atlantic, Sunday’s  game carried plenty of weight and playoff implications.

In the first period, the Knights began with a solid tempo on the attack. The team carried play for much of the opening stanza, cracking Philadelphia’s goalie Albin Mulic and the scoreboard first at 9:26. Following a feed from Tyler Watungwa, Cody Rumsey centered a puck from under the goal line to the middle of the slot for a waiting Tyler Nielsen. Nielsen fired home his 12th goal of the season to give the Knights the early lead.

The Junior Flyers would respond shortly. Less than three minutes later, Philadelphia took advantage of the game’s first power play; Billy McDevitt flipped a pass to the blue line for Luca Pisani who pointed a shot to the front of the net. Parked in front, Justin Weinbrenner deflected the puck past Knights starter Jared Stahel to even the score at one.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton would respond by maintaining their pressure through the end of the frame, out-shooting the Flyers 15-6, but they could not put another goal past Mulic.

Following a successful penalty kill to open the second, the Knights resumed their heavy forecheck. At 5:42, JP Natishan flipped a puck to Alex Morawski who threaded a pass to Nate Chuckran in front of the net. Chuckran flipped the puck over Mulic to regain the lead. Nick Peck would follow up with a snipe from the point at 11:35, his fourth tally in the last six games, to build the Knights a 3-1 advantage. Jake Fuss and Austin Weber were credited with the helpers.

Heading to the third, the Knights found themselves in control. They were dominating chances on goal and lead shots 25-11. Adding insurance to the cause in the early minutes of the third was Jake Fuss. The Knights captain pulled a Denys Arkhypenko pass in through traffic before turning and weaving his way around Mulic for the Knights fourth goal.

Fuss would strike again when Nick Peck stole a puck at the Philadelphia blue line, and fired it on net. Mulic made the initial save but the rebound was quickly corralled by Arkhypenko who found Fuss on the back door for the tap-in goal at 9:37.

Jared Stahel and the Knights defense buckled down in the last half of the period as the the Junior Flyer’s attack mounted a late surge. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton answered all challenges but one. On a power play in the game’s final minute, Kyle Harris, Luca Pisani and Connor Lenaghan cycled the puck through the top of the Knights zone before Lenaghan fired a top-shelf snipe past Stahel to cut the score to 5-2.

That would be all for the Philadelphia comeback effort as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton closed out the contest with the 5-2 victory, their fourth-straight. The active winning streak is the team’s longest on the season. The Knights currently hold the fourth seed in the South Conference, up one point over New York Applecore. The top six teams in each of the EHL’s two conferences advance to the postseason.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will try to keep their streak and their climb up the standings going when they host a home-and-home against the Central Division’s Connecticut Oilers on Saturday, January 13th and Sunday, January 14th at 2:30 pm and 10:30 am, respectively. Both games will be broadcast on hockeytv.com.

Stay tuned to Knights Social Media and www.wbsknights.com for all Knights news and updates!

EHL: Ochterbeck Leads Little Flyers in Comeback Over Knights

Photo Credit: Jessica Kovalcin

The Knights kicked off a three-game weekend with their fifth meeting against the Philadelphia Little Flyers Friday afternoon. With both teams missing regulars in the lineup, the contest would prove a good test of mettle and depth for both benches.

JP Natishan put the Knights ahead early after Anthony Starzi found the forward streaking through a soft-spot in the Little Flyers back check. Natishan scored the game’s first goal when he skated in alone through the slot and put a shot past the glove of Philadelphia’s starter Brendahn Brawley.

Both sides exchanged solid looks on net with Brawley and Knights starter Thomas Walker fending off their remaining tests in the opening 11 minutes. Even without leading scorer Jake Fuss, the Knights forecheck continually applied pressure on the attack, drawing a penalty just after the halfway point of the period.

Less than a minute into the Knights man advantage, the Little Flyers capitalized on a bouncing puck through neutral ice as Joey Savel and Trevor Lewandoski fed Alex Ochterbeck through the middle to set up a shorthanded chance. Ochterbeck worked his way in alone on Walker where he backhanded a puck to the twine to tie the game at one at 11:00.

The Knights wouldn’t dwell on the miscue, and would draw another penalty at 11:15 to create a 5-on-3 advantage. With three seconds left in the initial penalty, Nick Peck fired a shot through traffic to best Brawley and give the Knights back the lead at 12:07. Anthony Starzi picked up the lone assist on the tally.

Before the end of the first, the Knights would get an added lift, when off a board battle on the left wing of neutral ice, Tyler Nielsen dragged the puck into the offensive zone before flipping a pass to an oncoming Alex Morawski. The latter forward barreled into the slot and ripped a shot through the pads of Brawley to give the Knights a 3-1 advantage at 16:34.

With a two-goal lead heading into the middle frame, the Knights looked to continue their impressive start with a clean, physical attack. Instead, the team was assessed four penalties in a sequence of events that would turn the second period into a costly quagmire. On a 5-on-3 power play at 8:48, Mitchell Hall found a rebound off an Ochterbeck shot, burying it past Walker from the middle of the slot to cut the lead to one. The play was set up on the cycle from Brendan Coughlin.

Five minutes later, the Little Flyers created an odd-man rush when Ricky Walsh, from Brendan Coughlin, found a streaking Ryan Vogt, who hammered the puck past Walker to tie the game at three. On their fourth power play of the afternoon, Alex Ochterbeck found himself open to the side of Walker following crisp passing from Nick Magill-Diaz and Joey Savel. The Little Flyers leading scorer paused just long enough for a space to open as Walker moved to meet him. Seeing his spot, Ochterbeck pulled the trigger for his second goal of the game.

Ochterbeck wasn’t done. In the final 30 seconds of the frame, he skated to the middle of a 3-on-1 rush from which he netted a hat trick on assists from Cale Coor and Magill-Diaz. At the end of the period, the Knights found themselves down 5-3.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton started the third quickly, as Tyler Nielsen brought his team back within one on a power play goal at 3:01 (Nate Chuckran, Alex Morawski). Nielsen’s 10th tally spurred more pressure from the Knights, as they rebounded from a quiet second with several quality chances and extended time in the offensive zone. Despite the improvement, Brendahn Brawley settled in, diverting the remaining chances sent his way, with help from an active defense that blocked a number of shots on goal.

After enduring the Knights fifth power play of the game, the Little Flyers found the insurance they needed when Octherbeck notched his fourth goal of the contest at 14:12 (Stanislav Haurus, Savel). The renewed two-goal lead proved too steep a hill to climb.

At the final horn, the Knights dropped the contest by a score of 6-4. They’ll look to bounce back against the Junior Flyers in Philadelphia tomorrow at 5:00 pm EST, before visiting the Little Flyers for a Sunday rematch at 12:45 pm. Both games will be broadcast on www.hockeytv.com. Follow the Knights on Twitter @WBSKnightsEHL and visit www.easternhockeyleague.org for updates!

EHL: Knights Fall to Walpole to Close November Showcase

Photo: Jessica Kovalcin

On day two of the EHL’s Novemver Showcase, the Knights took on their second-straight Boston division opponent in the Walpole Express. The Express entered play second in their division with a record of 12-5-3, having lost game one of their showcase to the Philadelphia Revolution.

After a quiet start, both teams began to pick up their pressure as the first half progressed. With Austin Smith in net for Walpole and Jared Stahel anchoring the pipes for the Knights, both goalies faced a high number of chances in the opening 25 minutes. Smith stopped all 13 shots he faced, but the Express bested Stahel and the Knights defense twice in 19 tries.

The first goal came at 13:57 when Chris Peters poked a George Thurston wraparound rebound home to put the Express on the board. A second Walpole tally came at 19:12, when on the power play, Ryan Campbell ripped a puck from the circle past Stahel off assists from Chris Gratton and Eric Wright. The 2-0 lead held for the Express through the end of the first half.

Coming out of the intermission, Walpole quickly built a 3-0 lead when Peters found the net for a second time, assisted by Bryan Colburn just over two minutes in. Steady play from Smith in net held the Knights at bay until the 9:27. On a power play, Anthony Starzi and Denys Arkhypenko sifted the puck through traffic in front to find Jake Fuss on the back post for the Knights captain’s 19th goal of the season.

The Express responded 28 seconds later when William Lebel put home a 2-on-1 rush started by Peters. Smith and Stahel then engaged in a 10-minute trade of strong saves, with the Express holding the edge in number of chances. The Knights would finally break through Smith’s steady play at 19:49 when JP Natishan picked up his second goal of the season off a redirect of Zach Ouladelhadjahmed’s shot, set up by a Brady Hanson pass.

Within two, the Knights forecheck picked up its pace and intensity but could not solve Smith. Following an unsuccessful power play that expired at 23:42, the Knights pulled Stahel, who finished 36/40 on the day, shortly thereafter. The Express didn’t take long to ice the game, as Tyler Pietrzyk buried an empty-net goal, unassisted at 24:38.

At the horn, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton found themselves on the wrong side of a 5-2 final. They’ll look to get back on track against the Boston Jr. Rangers at the Breakway Ice Centre this Friday, November 17th, at 7:50 pm EST. The game can be viewed on hockeytv.com. Stay tuned to @WBSKnightsEHL on twitter and visit easternhockeyleague.org for updates.

EHL: Knights Undone by Avalanche, Penalties

Photo: Jessica Kovalcin

Coming off a tough loss against the Valley Junior Warriors, the Knights faced a tough task in hosting New Hampshire Saturday. Entering the day, the Avalanche had won six in a row, their most recent victory coming in a 5-2 affair over the previously undefeated Philadelphia Revolution.

With all of that set aside come puck drop, the Knights flew out of the gates Saturday afternoon. On their first power play of the day, just 4:26 into the first, Denys Arkhypenko sent a puck to Jake Fuss, who found Anthony Starzi parked in front of the net. Starzi tapped the puck by New Hampshire starting goalie Nick Sorgio to build a 1-0 lead.

Less than two minutes later the Knights struck again when off the rush, Chris Petrone threaded the needle to a crashing JP Natishan for his first goal of the season. Austin Weber set up the sequence and was awarded a secondary assist.

On the very next shift, the Avalanche responded on a strange, yet savvy play by forward Melker Kroon. Kroon picked up a puck behind the net of Knights goalie Thomas Walker and flipped it off the back of a Wilkes-Barre/Scranton skate and into the twine. The score would lock in at 2-1 for the remainder of the period, but both teams began a parade to the penalty box that would span the entirety of the game.

That march swung decidedly to the Knights end in the middle frame, as the team took 6 penalties, twice finding themselves down 5-on-3. They killed off the first, but couldn’t stop the second, when Christopher Adamsons found a puck bouncing through a scrum in front of Walker and pushed it home. John Scala and Melker Kroon picked up the helpers on the equalizer at 17:14. With four seconds to spare in the period, Kroon settled a puck in the slot and flipped it over a diving Walker to take a 3-2 lead (Devin Hines, Christopher Adamsons).

The third period saw no relief in penalty time as the Knights continued to take frequent trips to the box. New Hampshire wasn’t a stranger to sin bin either, and neither team could capitalize on multiple power plays. Midway through the third, during 5-on-5 play, the Avalanche found necessary insurance. John Scala was fed a perfect cross-ice pass from Tyler Uravage on an odd-man rush. Scala flipped it home to build a 5-3 lead. Zachary Ahola was credited the secondary assist.

The Knights would not fade quietly as less than two minutes later, Anthony started a 2-on-1 back into the attacking zone. Starzi had Fuss to his left as he crossed the line, before Fuss cut inward to the slot. Starzi fed a puck in front where the Knights leading scorer went backhand over the shoulder of Sorgi to pull Wilkes-Barre/Scranton within one.

A penalty with just over three minutes to spare would slow the Knights comeback effort, as they were forced to their ninth kill of the night. While successful, it left little time for the team to pull their goalie for the extra attacker, thanks in large part to heavy pressure applied by New Hampshire’s forecheck. At the final horn, the Avalanche skated to the 4-3 win.

After the dust settled, the Knights play 5-on-5 play was encouraging, as they skated and battled well with the North Conference’s points leader. They’ll look to avoid penalties moving forward as they look to regroup on the road next week.