Tag Archives: Knights

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!

EHL Recap: Knights Lose to Revolution on the Road

Knights can’t solve Logan Kramsky on the road.

The Knights traveled to Revolution Ice Gardens on Sunday to take on a division opponent in the Philadelphia Revolution. The Revolution welcomed the Knights with a quick score in the game’s first five minutes. Justin Meers was able to find the net on a power play with assists coming from Jackson Koblick and Hayden Ford.

The Knights offerings on the forecheck were consistently met by sound play from Philadelphia goalie Logan Kramsky. The Freehold, New Jersey native would prove to be tough to solve all afternoon for the Knights.

Philadelphia bested Knights goalie Jared Stahel at 13:33 when Sam Abouelhana found the net (Jake Faulkner, Martin Kapoian) to build a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.

In the second, the Revolution redoubled their approach, mounting 14 shouts on goal, but were turned away each time by Stahel’s steady play in net. The team’s spent a good portion of the period trading zones and penalties, but not goals, as the second period ended with the same score as the first.

With time decreasing and the stakes increasing, the third period became a war of attrition, fought by special teams units. After the eight minute mark, the Knights and Revolution combined for seven penalties.

As both goaltenders continued to shine in the face of grade-a chances, it was Philadelphia’s power play that finally broke trough. At 15:56 it was Déjà vu all over again as, as off a set up by Jackson Koblick and Hayden Ford, Justin Meers fired a rocket past Stahel to create a three-goal advantage.

The Knights didn’t go quietly in the third, pulling Stahel with under two minutes to play, but Kramsky continued his stellar play and in the end, preserved his shutout.

With the loss, the Knights are now 2-3 this season, and currently in third place in the EHL’s Mid-Atlantic division. They will play the NY Bobcats tomorrow at 2:30 pm inside the Revolution Ice Centre. Admission is free and the game can be viewed on hockeytv.com.

 

 

Knights Lose Hard-Fought Game One

Knights skate with speed and physicality but can’t solve Mitens in series opener

The atmosphere was a lively one inside the Aston IceWorks for game one of the division semi-finals for round one of the Robertson Cup Playoffs. Facing a familiar and formidable foe in the Rebels, the Knights got off to a fast start in the first period.

With Aston’s focus in the first ten minutes on setting a physical tone with numerous open-ice hits, the Knights countered with fast skating and efficient passing. The result was an aggressive, yet flustered Aston attack and a buzzing Knights forecheck off the rush. Curtis Carlson generated a pair of strong chances, while Joe Schuler, Joey Kubachka and Reed Robinson all came within a few inches of each putting a goal on the board. Mareks Mitens anchored Aston’s defense from between the pipes and turned each away with a series of strong saves.

Around the 11:30 of the first period, the Rebels finally found their footing in the Knights zone. They began setting up and winning board battles directly behind the net and sending pucks to traffic in front. Their physical play began to bog down the Knights who had skated well and in quick for much of the period.

Still, Grant Valentine was sharp when pucks made their way to his net, and his sharpest save came as the first period was winding down. Rebels captain Dom Garcia found his way behind the Knights last line of defense and was floated puck to set up a breakaway. His rocket of a wrist shot was answered by an even faster snap of Valentine’s glove, as the netminder made a highlight reel save to rob Garcia of the game’s first score.

Not long after, the Knights were sent to the box for the game’s first penalty. Though Wilkes-Barre/Scranton stymied the Rebels first few attempts to gain the offensive zone-this included a timely clear by captain Tim Gelatt as a puck spun dangerously close to partially open net- the Rebels finally broke through when Drew Blackmun walked a puck through the right circle and placed it just under Valentine’s glove. At the horn, the Rebels took a 1-0 advantage into the dressing room, riding a strong finish to the period.

The Rebels parlayed their building offensive momentum into a fast start in the second, pressuring heavily in the Knights zone. Where Wilkes-Barre/Scranton had been sharp in sharp exit passes in the first, the Rebels were sharper in forcing turnovers in the offensive end to start the second. Still, odd bounces and a few more timely saves from Valentine kept Aston off the board.

One such bounce quickly turned the tempo of the period on its head. As Matt Kidney flipped a puck ahead from the middle of his own zone, it ricocheted off a Rebel forechecker and on to the stick of Curtis Carlson. Carlson, who had already generated a few scoring chances, exploded through neutral ice, and let go a snipe that beat Mitens over the shoulder, tying the game at 7:17.

With the goal came new life in the Knights legs. They flipped the ice and began to again generate chances off the rush as they did in the first. The speed of their attack began to force the Rebels to take penalties. The Knights would go to the power play three times in the period, but Aston’s top-ranked unit lived up to their reputation, allowing only a handful of shots on Mitens in 6:00 minutes of shorthanded play.

The Rebels offense came back to bite the Knights between the second and third penalty. At 14:10, Jensen Zerban maneuvered his way to the low left circle and fired a puck past a screened Valentine to re-establish a 2-1 lead. The Knights would finish the frame with a flurry of chances on Mitens, but the Latvian netminder was up to the task, stopping each of the heavy shots from Mike Morrissey, Reed Robinson, Dorian Dawson, and Tim Gelatt.

The effect of 40 minutes of fast, physical hockey took its toll to begin the third as both teams struggled to execute with their earlier efficiency. The Knights were given a fourth chance on the power play, and though Aston was again quick to clear the puck, Mitens stopped another chance from Curtis Carlson and fought through a screen to stick a puck wide.

Fresh off the kill, the Rebels created a few major chances of their own, having two shots shave the crossbar and another ring a post. The Knights weren’t short on opportunities either: Paul Maust drove hard behind the defense straight to the net, Vince Marino set up Joey Kubachka on a 2-on-1, and Jim Elser muscled his way through Aston’s last defenseman to get in alone, but all were stopped continued steady play from Mitens.

Grant Valentine was valiant in his efforts to go save-for-save, and the Knights, while allowing a few solid chances on their net, didn’t allow Aston to take control of the offensive zone. As time wound down, the Knights bench began to signal Valentine over to the bench, but twice as the netminder began to leave the crease, the Rebels collapsed on the puck in neutral ice and forced him back to the pipes. With 1:02 remaining on the clock, the Knights again tried to pull their goalie, but again were turned around, this time by Jensen Zerban. The Manitoba-native barreled through the defense and dragged a shot under Valentine’s pads as he crashed into the net.

The goal didn’t stop the Knights from finally pulling Valentine for the extra attacker in the game’s final minute, but the Rebels held Wilkes-Barre/Scranton out of the offensive zone to close out the remaining time.

With game one behind them the Knights head into a crucial game two tonight in Aston. The team skated with the Rebels for much of last night’s contest but will need to take greater advantage of power play and scoring opportunities. Faceoff is set for 7 pm. Tune in at hockeytv.com or follow @wbsknights on Twitter for live updates.

 

 

Knights Top Titans in Shootout

Carlson, Morrissey, Fuss lead way in thriller

In a season series that has been as even as any in the 2016-17 season, the Knights and Titans met Friday night with the head to head locked in a 5-5 draw. In their 10 prior meetings to Friday night, each team had registered 41 goals against the other, while both squads had five wins, for losses and a loss in OT/shootout a piece. Despite both teams already knowing their final standing and opponent in next week’s first round of the Robertson Cup Playoffs, the theme of parity would not end Friday.

With the Knights sloppy out of the gate, the Titans quickly took advantage, drawing a penalty in the offensive zone just 65 seconds into the contest. Less than a minute into the man advantage, Titans captain William Riedell ripped a point shot through traffic past Grant Valentine to put the Titans on the board.

After shaking off the goal and the slow start, the Knights initiated offensive pressure of their own, and began to successfully establish a presence in front of New Jersey netminder Ryan Ferland. Exactly 12 minutes after the Titans goal, Michael Morrissey found affiliate player Tom Farrell cutting to the back post and threaded a perfect pass to the crashing defenseman for his first-career NAHL goal.

In the minutes that followed the Knights would continue to drive hard to the net, creating chances around the Ryan Ferland, forcing the goalie to make several difficult saves through traffic in front. The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton offense would rally following a disallowed goal, burying a legitimate score at 16:51 when Curtis Carlson rammed a puck home on the power play.

The Titans would not go quietly into intermission. Sticking with what had worked earlier in the period, Titans defenseman Oskar Stromberg floated a perfectly-placed point shot past Grant Valentine to tie the game at two to close the first period.

In the opening shifts of the second, Stromberg would re-introduce the rubber to the twine, as again the big blue-liner ripped a shot home to give the Titans a 3-2 lead.

The Knights would not wilt. Their forecheck again made a habit of crashing the net and playing the boards throughout the second period. Their efforts were rewarded at 7:02 when Curtis Carlson placed a perfect pass to the front of the net to a waiting Mike Morrissey, who in turned, stuffed the puck home.

Like Stromberg in the first and second period, Morrissey followed up his first goal with the game’s next score in the third. Again crashing hard to the net, Morrissey’s score was set up on efforts from Vince Marino and Paul  Cimilluca to give the Knights a 4-3 lead at 3:02.

Despite dictating tempo for good portions of the period, the Knights would again be foiled  by another disallowed goal and then frustrated further when the Titans tied the game halfway through the stanza. Set up by Stromberg and deft maneuvering down low by Hunter Alden, Gordie Helmuth tucked a puck through Valentine’s legs to draw the score even at four.

Despite Stromberg missing a hat trick off the pipe and the Knights failing to score on over a minute of  5-on-3 advantage, neither team was able to find the game-winner in regulation. This drought extended into overtime even after the Knights had 1:45 of carryover time on the power play to begin the extra five minute period. With both sides deadlocked at the end of 65 minutes, the Knights and Titans headed to their second shootout in as many meetings.

After a high-scoring affair in regulation, the scoring drought extended beyond overtime and through the first nine skaters in the shootout.  Grant Valentine went a perfect five-for-five stopping, Kyler Head, Jordan Kaplan, Greg Malafronte, Gordie Helmuth and Oskar Stromberg, patiently mirroring each challenger and rejecting each of their offerings.

Ryan Ferland was similarly excellent through the first four Knights. The fifth was Jake Fuss, fresh off his first NAHL goal and assist on Tuesday. Fuss moved in from the left circle and crossed the face of Ferland before flipping the puck up and over his stick to seal the win. The win gave the Knights their 29th of the season and their 6th against the Titans.

PLEASE NOTE: Saturday night’s game scheduled for 7:30 pm has been postponed due to a technical malfunction.  The game has been moved to Monday, April 10th at 1 pm at the Revolution Ice Centre.

 

Knights Start Final Week of Regular Season with Win

An afternoon of firsts help Knights to 28th victory

Coming off a 10-day break, the final road game of the Knights regular season was an important dress rehearsal for a team bound for the playoffs in under two weeks’ time. With a mixed road trip to Alaska behind them, the Knights next opponent on tap was hardly one to overlook.

Despite their record, the Northeast Generals have proven throughout the 2016-17 season to be a tricky matchup for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. In prior action, the Knights are the only team the expansion Generals have bested twice this season and saw a number of their meetings go right down to the wire. Even more recently, Northeast recorded an impressive east division victory with a 3-2 win over an impressive Johnstown Tomahawks team on March 31st.

A common denominator for the Generals in the challenges they’ve presented the Knights was netminder David Fessenden. Entering Tuesday’s game, the Denver, Colorado-native had played the Knights five times (the first coming with the Minnesota Magicians) recording a 2-2-0 record, with a sterling 0.98 GAA and a .972 save percentage. Never once had the big 6’6” goalie allowed more than one goal in a game against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

With the table set for their final meeting of the year, things got off to a slower start than both the Knights and Generals forecheck’s would have cared for. Making his first NAHL start, Knights goalie Liam Murray went toe-to-toe with Fessenden in the opening stanza, holding the Generals scoreless on eight shots. Fessenden was perfect through 18 minutes before Matt Kidney scored the game’s first tally on crisp passing from Curtis Carlson and Sam Antonitsch.

The second period began with the Knights pressing to build off their momentum gained at the end of the first. Though they were ultimately unsuccessful on a power play that bridged the first and second periods, they began to build their supply of chances around Fessenden’s residence. They were rewarded at 2:58 when Paul Cimilluca scored his third goal of the year (Latimer, Robinson).

The Generals did not fold in the face of mounting chances against, and as the period progressed they began mounting a slew of their own, including a number of 2-on-1 rushes. Finally, at the 11:11 mark, Northeast broke their drought when with the help of Justin Jallen and Christian Thomas, Joe Vingi beat Murray for his first goal of the year.

With the lead trimmed back to one, the Knights pushed back with a tally of their own when Reed Robinson and Jake Fuss set up Vince Marino at 15:06. The secondary helper was Fuss’ first NAHL point, scored in his third game as an affiliate player with the Knights after leading the organization’s NA3AHL team with 65 goals, 64 assists and 129 points in 33 games played this year. The Generals would counter with Anthony Mangano’s sixth goal of the season (Weinstein, Bilek) to close out the period and again trim the lead back to one.

With what appeared to be yet another close finish building heading into the third, the Knights returned to the ice with renewed resolve. Markuss Komuls walked the puck down from the blue line and ripped a wrister past Fessenden to kick off scoring in the stanza at 3:26 (Morrissey, Danchenko). Fed by Joe Schuler and Tim Gelatt, Jimmy Elser fueled a buzzing Knights attack at 5:52 by flipping a back hand shot up over the big goalie to build a 5-2 advantage.

Just a minute and a half later, Matt Kidney followed up with his second tally of the game with setup coming from Cimilluca and Carlson. Tim Gelatt and Mike Morrissey continued the onslaught by feeding the puck to a waiting Jake Fuss who found his first NAHL goal on the power play at 11:37.

One power play goal and one first-NAHL goal would not prove to be enough for a hungry Wilkes-Barre/Scranton attack as Elijah Latimer would add another score for both categories at 13:02 (Mike Gelatt, Kidney) to cap off the Knights eight-goal day. Parker Swanson relieved Fessenden following the score, entering at 14:15 in the third.

The scoring would finally come to a close following Colin Bilek finding the twine for a Generals-best 18th time on the year at 15:21, set up on the power play by Anthony Mangano and Kohei Sato. As the dust from a six-goal third period settled, the Knights found themselves looking fondly up at the scoreboard and the scoresheet on their way to win number 28 on the season. At the end of the day, 15 of the 18 dressed skaters for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton recorded a point, eight of whom recorded at least two. In addition to Fuss and Latimer earning their first goals (and Fuss his first assist), Liam Murray made 21 of 24 saves on his way to his first NAHL victory.

The Knights will have little time to celebrate as they close out the regular season with a home-home series with the formidable New Jersey Titans this Friday, April 7th and Saturday April 8th at the Revolution Ice Centre. Friday will be Hawaiian Night at the rink, with Saturday acting as NAHL Billet Appreciation Night. Both games are set for 7:30 pm faceoff. All fans are invited to come out and support the Knights as they charge toward the playoffs.

Knights Bested in Shootout in Kenai River

Knights salvage one point in Alaska finale

In their second meeting of the weekend with the Brown Bears, the Knights were greeted by familiar face. Former Knights goalie Colt Hanks would anchor the Kenai River net in one of his most brilliant performances of the season.

The first period gave Hanks more than his fair share of work. The Knights forecheck peppered their former teammate with 19 shots on goal. He stopped all but one. Before Hanks was bested, Tyler Rock put the Brown Bears on the board with a power play goal at 12:04 (Radetic 16, Butcher 15). The Knights found an equalizer on their own power play when Mike Gelatt (21) Matt Kidney (22) fed Sam Antonitsch his second goal of the weekend at 16:01.

The second period brought shots down to a more reasonable 8-7 Knights tilt and saw each team trade two unsuccessful power plays. Both Grant Valentine and Colt Hanks stood tall with both offenses failing to find the back of the net.

The opening to the third period quickly brought each side’s’ scoring drought to an end. The Knights power play notched their second goal of the evening and fourth of the weekend when Mike Gelatt took his turn at goal scoring in the potent Antonitsch-Kidney line with his 12th goal of the season while the latter two picked up assists. The three forwards have combined for three of the Knights last four power play goals and half the Knights scoring this weekend.

Kenai River would respond seconds later when Luke Radetic collected his second goal in as many days to tie the score at two. There it would settle for the remainder of regulation as each defense buckled down with the support of their netminders. At the end of 60 minutes, Grant Valentine had stopped 23 of 25 to Hanks’ 33 of 35.

3-on-3 time was similarly limited in chances, as the Brown Bears led shots by just a 3-2 margin. The shootout that followed would see both goalies string together three-straight saves before Sam Antonitsch would break through to beat Hanks in round four. Facing the threat of the end of the game and a potential shootout loss, Jack Vincent responded with a clutch goal to force a fifth round. Hanks stoned Mike Gelatt and Anthony Tzveyn put the game to bed by besting Valentine in the bottom of the fifth.

With the shootout loss, the Knights dropped their fifth overtime/shootout game of the season, but salvaged one point. Though the loss is not what they wanted, the team will look to build off one of their strongest special teams’ weekends all season. In their two meetings with Kenai River, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton went a combined 4-11 (36.4%) on the power play and 9-10 on the penalty kill (90.0%). Goaltending continues to be a reliable part of the lead up to the postseason with Grant Valentine saving 44 of 48 shots, good for a steady save percentage of .917 on the weekend, in line with his season total of .912.

They Knights will return home for a week without games before making a day trip up to the New England Sports Village to take on the Northeast Generals on April 4th. Puck drop will take place at 1 pm.

Knights Fall in Alaska Road Trip Opener

Cayden Cahill’s Hat Trick Paves Way for Ice Dogs

Following a week of inclement weather and dynamic travel plans, the Knights were eager to get their Alaska road trip started on a high note. That high note will have to come in their second game against the Fairbanks Ice Dogs tonight at the Big Dipper Ice Arena.

Things started ugly and stayed ugly. In a portent of things to come, Cayden Cahill buried the game’s first goal just 2:12 into the contest on helpers from Hunter Wendt and Robert Blueger. Ryan Kero followed that up just under two and a half minutes later with the Ice Dogs second goal (Samuel Ruffin, Benton Maas).

The Knights only immediate response was a march to the penalty box. Nine seconds after their second such offense, the Ice Dogs entered their third goal of the period off the blade of Grayson Gavin from Eriksson and Aaron McPheters. The Ice Dogs would hold their advantage for the remaining 7:15 of the first, taking a 3-0 lead into the dressing room.

The defending Robertson Cup champions weren’t done adding to their lead and Cayden Cahill wasn’t done adding to his stat sheet. After a scoreless 10:52 to open the second, the 96 birth year would break the silence with a power play tally off assists from Ruffin and Blueger. Cahill would finish off the hat trick at 15:05 (Blueger, Wendt). Ice Dogs netminder Erik Gordon would hold the Knights at bay through their first two power plays sending Fairbanks to the second intermission with a 5-0 lead.

If any glimmer of hope for a comeback existed, the Ice Dogs extinguished it in the third period’s first minute. Set up by Daniel Haider and Grayson Gavin, Hampus Eriksson scored Fairbanks’ 6th goal just 49 seconds into the frame. Discounting a fight between that ended the Knights of both the Ice Dogs Luke Orysiuk and the Knights Jim Elser, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton would only outpace the Ice Dogs on the penalty scoreboard in the third. On their second infraction of the period and Fairbanks’ 6th power play of the game, Benton Maass made them pay (Eriksson, Gavin), notching the game’s final goal of the game at 13:58.

Making his sixth-straight start, Grant Valentine would stick around until 15:57 of the third period before new emergency goaltender Austin Ryman was called on in relief to close out the final 4:03 of the game. Ice Dogs netminder Erik Gordon would cruise to his 2nd shutout and 19th victory of the year (now 19-3-0-3), stopping all 21 shots he faced.

The loss snaps a Knights three game losing streak they carried with them after a clean sweep of last weekend. In pursuit of a bounce back tonight, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will have to do a better job of competing in the special team’s department. Fairbanks scored on three of their seven tries on the man advantage while the Knights were held scoreless in their three attempts.

Limiting the likes of Cayden Cahill (three goals), Grayson Gavin (one goal, two assists) and Hampus Eriksson (one goal and two assists) would be a good first step in splitting the weekend with Fairbanks. The two opponents will square off again at 7:30 PM Alaska Standard Time/11:30 pm Eastern Standard

Knights Muster Shutout Win

In what has become a defensive-minded weekend, the Knights proved their grit for the second time in the past 48 hours, this time against the Northeast Generals.

Entering Saturday night, the Knights held a 7-2 advantage in the season head-to-head, but with the caveat of a more than few close contests with the first-year Generals. Northeast’s most recent win came against the Knights back on February 11th at the Revolution Ice Centre in a 3-1 affair.

One pillar for the Generals this season has been their goaltending. Saturday’s starter David Fessenden entered play with five games against the Knights between time with the Generals and Minnesota Magicians. In those combined efforts against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, he had a 2-1 record with a lucrative .975 save percentage and a goals against of just 0.92. Standing at 6’6″,  the towering Denver, Colorado native presented the Knights with a formidable obstacle to winning their second straight game.

Matt Kidney stepped to the plate for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in Saturday’s early-going, notching his 15th goal of the season at 7:58 in the first period. The tally was set up on the Knights first power play of the game, off two crisp passes from Paul Maust and Curtis Carlson before Kidney just flipped the puck past a lunging Fessenden.

The goal came just at the right time, following a sluggish start for the Knights and a Generals power play in the game’s first five minutes that forced Grant Valentine to make a number of tough saves. The early work for the Knights workhorse netminder would prove to be a necessary jump start to the team’s defensive efforts.

The game’s first period was ruled by a parade to the penalty box, with each team incurring three minor infractions. The Knights, fresh off a perfect 4-for-4 shorthanded performance against Aston’s third-ranked power play, continued their momentum throughout Saturday to end the first period, going 3-for-3, to hold a 1-0 lead.

Galvanized by a few near misses in the opening frame, the Generals came out with purpose in the second, mounting a number of shots on goal, again testing Valentine repeatedly. Their shot totals would amount to a near 2-1 advantage for the period as they outshot the Knights 15-8.  Their efforts appeared to be rewarded at 6:21 when off a scramble in front, the puck found its way past Valentine. Instead, the goal was disallowed for Northeast making contact with the goalie.

Another penalty per side would again see the Knights emerge unscathed on the PK, but their power play bogged down after its fast start. At 17:03, their kill unit received its most important test of the evening when Paul Cimilluca was assessed a 5-minute major for boarding. Following a successful shorthanded 2:57, the Knights maintained their 1-goal lead heading into the second intermission.

In need of a lockdown start to the third, the Knights received it as the combined efforts of the kill unit and Valentine kept the Generals scoreless for the remainder of the major penalty. In a more even period than the second, the Knights and Generals traded chances at a fairly even pace. The Northeast effort took a blow at 11:03 when David Fessenden was contacted by a teammate in the crease and forced to leave the contest. Parker Swanson came in relief and was quickly tested with a Knights power play just two minutes into his taking of the ice.

On the ensuing man-advantage, the Knights held the puck in the offensive zone for the entirety of the minor, but continual passing around the perimeter resulted in just a few shots on goal. The Generals completed the kill and quickly flipped to the power play at 15:26. The Knights again turned them away, completing a perfect 6-for-6 penalty kill effort on the evening. With the goalie pulled in the game’s final minute, the Generals were unable to maintain the offensive zone long enough to find an equalizer, and the Knights skated away with 1-0 victory.

The 29-save effort on the part of Valentine and the team’s 6-for-6 penalty kill spurred the Knights on to their second straight victory.  They’ll look to make it three and a row this afternoon with 2:00 pm faceoff at home against Northeast.