After nearly two weeks away from home ice, the Knights returned to the Revolution Ice Centre in hopes to snap a three-game losing streak. Their opponent, the New Jersey Titans, entered play looking to climb the ladder in the East Division.
A heavy dose of chances dominated the opening frame, with the Titans mounting 20 shots on Knights starting goaltender David Tomeo. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s netminder responded with 20 saves and the Knights forecheck with 13 shots of their own.
Jack Olmstead would produce the mayhem’s only goal at 13:58, when Tyrone Bronte sprung the Knights co-leader in points free to the net. There Olmstead bested New Jersey starter Brandon Perrone for his 15th goal of the season. Matt Kidney, Olmstead’s partner at the top of the point sheet, picked up the secondary helper to put the Knights up 1-0.
Olmstead and Kidney would pair again to open the second period with power play goal. Kidney set up Blake Kryska who fed Olmstead for the 2-0 lead.
Penalties would prove to be the story of the second, as each side traded infractions and fists. Just past seven minutes, Kidney dropped the gloves with Justin Bofshever in a spat that saw Kidney ejected for removing Bofshever’s helmet.
Olmstead would take a seat in the box shortly after play resumed, and the Titans would score on the ensuing power play. Kyler Head would put the puck past Tomeo for his third goal of the season off an assist from Ryan Wheeler at 8:25.
The Titans took advantage of another Knights penalty at 14:43. On a delayed call, Tate Singleton found Todd Goehring who put a puck by Tomeo to even the score at two. Andrew Husted was credited with the secondary assist.
Into the the third, cooler heads would see the penalty minutes decline, but the significance of those taken would remain. The Knights would regain the lead at 10:16 when Reed Robinson powered his 12th goal of the season past Perrone (Lincoln Hatten, Michael Morrissey).
The Titans would respond three minutes later off the Knights lone infraction of the third. Eric Manoukian found Tate Singleton for yet another game-tying goal. The Knights Robinson-Morrissey-Hatten line would answer back two minutes later as part of a dominant period. Morrissey would find the net off a Reed Robinson helper to re-take the lead.
The trio’s third goal of the frame came in the final two minutes when Reed Robinson found the empty net, off apples from Shay Donovan and Mike Gelatt. The goal effectively put the game away as David Tomeo put the cap on a stellar 49 save performance and the 5-3 win. The Knights will be back in action against the New Jersey Titans in New Jersey at 7:30 pm this evening. Tune in at hockeytv.com and follow along on Knights social media!
Fresh off Christmas and holiday festivities, the Knights returned to home ice on Friday to take on the Kenai River Brown Bears. The first of four meetings between the pair kicked off quickly in favor of the home team.
Just 3:37 into play, Matt Kidney notched his 10th goal of the season when he fired a Jack Olmstead rebound past Brown Bears starting goalie Artur Pavliukov. Paul Cimilluca picked up a secondary assist for his third helper of the season.
The Knights kept their foot on the gas pedal largely dictating play through the opening 20 minutes. The back check limited quality chances on starting goaltender David Tomeo, while the forecheck spent ample time in the attacking end.
Curtis Carlson capped off the strong period when off a faceoff win, the Knights captain fed a pass to Matt Kidney waiting in the middle of the slot. Kidney flipped his second goal of the night past Pavliukov to send the Knights to the first intermission with a multi-goal lead.
Three minutes into the second, during a stretch of 4-on-4 play, Gabe Temple followed Carlson’s example, immediately flipping a face off win to Justin Engelkes in the slot. Engelkes hammered a one-timer to the twine for his seventh goal of the season and a 3-0 Knights lead.
Tomeo and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton defense weathered the Brown Bears push-back in the second half of the period before the Knights drew a penalty at 15:52. 16 seconds into the team’s third power play of the evening, Reed Robinson fired a puck home to build a 4-0 lead. Adrian Danchenko and Blake Kryska registered the assists.
The final frame of regulation kicked off with the Knights on the penalty kill. The Brown Bears, owners of one of the NAHL’s most potent power plays, capitalized on their third turn on the man advantage, when Gil Garcia ripped a shot from the slot by Tomeo for Kenai River’s first goal (Sacha Guillemain, Cameron McDonald).
The goal swung momentum to the Brown Bears forecheck, as they drew three more penalties in the first five minutes of the third. The Knights penalty kill and Tomeo combined to erase the remainder of the penalties taken, but Kenai River continued to force Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to chase in their own zone.
At 6:59, Gabriel Wahl fed former Knight Markuss Komuls whose rebound found Connor Fedorek pinching down from the blue line. Fedorek picked the puck up in the slot and weaved it around Tomeo to narrow the deficit to two.
Determined to squash the comeback effort, the Knights offense found a renewed rhythm and resumed their offensive on Artur Pavliukov’s crease. The Lithuanian netminder stood tall in a gritty effort that even saw him briefly leave the ice after sustaining a minor injury in the second.
Despite Pavliukov’s best efforts, including 42 total saves and one robbery of Jack Olmstead, Curtis Carlson put the game to bed at 13:56. Set up by Lincoln Hatten and Luke Robinson, Carlson fired a puck from the right circle through traffic and Pavliukov to put the Knights ahead by three.
Despite multiple penalties being assessed to both sides through the final five minutes of play, the 5-2 score held through the final horn. With the win, the Knights improve to 19-7-3, placing them just one point behind the Philadelphia Rebels for first place in the East Division. They’ll have the opportunity to regain the top spot in round two of Knights-Brown Bears today at 2:30 pm. The game will be broadcast on hockeytv.com, with live updates being posted to Knights Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
KNIGHTS ALUMNI: SPRONG RECALLED TO PITTSBURGH
Former Knights forward and current Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Daniel Sprong was recalled to the NHL from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins roster today. Sprong played for the Knights Bantam Major team in the 2011-12 season, helping them to a national championship title. Through 29 games in the AHL this season, the 2015 NHL second-round pick has scored 18 goals and 10 assists. The Knights are happy for Daniel and wish him the best of luck in Pittsburgh!
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights kicked off their regular season in thrilling fashion, winning 3-2 over the Titans in overtime Friday night. Entering Saturday’s road rematch, they were in search of two points that would move them into first place in the East.
Things started off quickly; just one 1:01 into the first, Lincoln Hatten buried his first goal of his NAHL career on assists from Tyrone Bronte and Tom Farrell.
Just under two minutes later Jack Olmstead picked up his first tally of the year and second of his Knights career on an assist from Lincoln Hatten.
New Jersey would not waste much time with their response. 16 seconds after Olmstead’s goal, Hunter Alden pitched in one of his own (Nick Boyagian) to cut the lead in half. Despite a slew of penalties to close the period, the game would remain 2-1 at the end of the first 20 minutes of play.
Tiernan Seningen would open the second by tying the game at two just 52 seconds in, set up by Ryan Naumovski and Matthew Cameron. The Knights were back in the lead 48 seconds later when Tyrone Bronte notched his first career NAHL goal on assists from Jack Olmstead and Paul Luebke.
17:15 into a pitched period that saw a both teams combine for 26 shots, Jack Olmstead added his second goal of the night to regain the two-goal lead (Bronte).
Keeping the theme of early-in-the-period scoring, the Titans cut the Knights lead to one after Matthew Headland added his first goal of the season at the 3:44 mark in the third period, set up by Tyler Barrow.
Like it’s predecessor, the third period saw 26 combined shots between forechecks. Goalies Kevin Lake (37/40) for the Knights and Brandon Perrone (32/36) held their own in between the pipes to keep the game at a 4-3 tilt.
In the contest’s dwindling moments, New Jersey pulled their goalie in an effort to tie the game with the benefit of the added attacker. Instead, Tom Farrell and Adrian Danchenko slid the puck up ice to Curtis Carlson for the game-sealing empty net goal.
With the victory, the Knights earned a weekend sweep of the Titans and move into a tie with the Northeast Generals for first place in the East Division. All totaled, Knights rookies combined to score four goals and five assists on the evening.
Their next contest will come Wednesday in the team’s first game of the NAHL Showcase, held in Blaine, Minnesota. Face off against the Amarillo Bulls will take place at 2:15 pm eastern time and can be watched on hockeytv.com.
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]
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.
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.
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.
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.
With eyes ahead, team enjoys productive, competitive opening to camp
The Knights took the Pennsylvania heat to the ice Wednesday afternoon as they forge ahead to write their next chapter in the NAHL. The talent that took the ice on Wednesday mixed speed and grit with NAHL tenure and fresh legs.
“It’s very evident that our assistant coach Andrew Whiteside and head scout Justin Schreiber, two guys who head our scouting program and our recruiting, along with all the others that have helped us, that they’ve really done a great job this past year,” said Knights NAHL head coach Tom Kowal. “They pounded the pavement. We have eight teams with a lot of great talent and that’s a good problem to have.”
Over the course of the past year, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton staff has been scouring the hockey world for talent to bring to the 2017-18 season and beyond. Main Camp not only brings together the subjects of their search, but tests their scouting through competition.
“It is big week for us,” said Knights head scout Justin Schreiber. “Andrew Whiteside and I spent a ton of time on the road, and this week is kind of the culmination of everything. It all comes together-draft picks, tenders, and returners. This week is big. That being said, the games today were really high-paced. I’m pretty impressed with the level of play. I’m excited to see what carries over to day two.”
Formed from a massive pool of Knights veterans, tenders, draft picks, and invitees, eight teams played four games this afternoon. They’ll play eight more games tomorrow before the camp roster is trimmed into two all-star teams. Those teams will fill out the remaining available spots on the Knights roster.
“We want guys who play with grit, said Schreiber.” It’s important for us to find forwards that mix that skill and grit together and defenseman that are both gritty and mean-guys that have a little gravel in their gut. We want guys who bring the lunch pail and their boots to work every day and at the end of the day, we want our team to be really hard to play against. I think that showed itself here on day one.”
Returning veterans wasted little time in making an impression. As last season’s leading scorer, it only was only fitting that Matt Kidney would punctuate his team’s game one victory by burying a shot top shelf from just inside the blue line. Mike Gelatt rattled the boards down low, Paul Cimilluca potted a goal off a 2-on-1 rush, Mike Morrissey consistently inhabited his opponent’s crease, Curtis Carlson blazed through back-checkers to create chances, while Paul Maust and Reed Robinson took turns putting pucks in the twine. When they weren’t on the ice, the same players were engaged off of it, attentively following each game, eagerly surveying each potential new team mate.
“They’re the ones that get us going,” said Kowal. “They set the bench mark. It’s their job right now. I told them, that veterans have to be veterans. They’re not rookies anymore. Those are the guys that have to lead the charge. If we don’t have good leaders, we’re not going to have a good hockey team. I’ve really been pretty hard on my veterans this past summer to make sure they’ve been working out, to make sure they’re ready. So far I’m pretty happy with the way they are looking right now. Even walking in, they look bigger. They’re buying into the organization’s standard right now. Just making the playoffs isn’t good enough anymore. We’re going into our third season-round one isn’t good enough. We need a round two-we need a round trip to have a successful season.”
While the veterans set an early tone, newer players made their impacts known. Tendered defenseman Blake Kryska notched two goals in his first game. Tom Farrell, a big blue-liner who, like Kryska, spent a few games with the Knights last season, tallied a goal in his first game as well. Goalie Dave Tomeo, once a Knights opponent, was calm and steady in between the pipes.
Draft pick Lincoln Hatten showed off an impressive combo of size and speed, creating a few odd-man advantages by streaking past the last defender. First round pick Gabe Temple displayed impressive stick handling as he appeared unrelenting in attacking the offensive zone. Christian Stoever, the lone goalie selected by the Knights in this year’s draft, impressed with several acrobatic saves.
All newcomers and veterans will get another chance tomorrow to make an impression as the Knights take further stock of their new roster. For the players that in camp only by invitation, Kowal offered encouragement.
“They should just be who they are,” said Kowal, “We can only draft and tender so many guys. There’s a lot of great hockey players out there. It seems like every year-and I’ve been doing this for 15 years-a kid that we didn’t draft, didn’t tender, a kid who hasn’t played a game for me in his life makes the team. It’s just that blue-chipper that no one knows who slips through the cracks, that comes out here and has a really good weekend, impresses our staff, and ends up being a Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knight.”
Game one begins at 8:30 am as Navy takes on Purple.
The Knights crossed two major items off their offseason checklist following Tuesday’s NAHL Entry Draft. With eight new draft picks in the fold, the team is another step closer to completing construction of their 2017-18 roster.
“It was a good week,” said Knights NAHL head coach Tom Kowal. “Between finishing out our tender class and our draft class, we’ve added some impressive talent to bring to camp.”
With the 12th overall selection in the draft, the Knights made Gabe Temple, a right-handed forward from Fowlerville, Michigan, their first pick.
“Gabe is a skilled, gritty forward,” said Knights NAHL assistant coach Andrew Whiteside. “He’s an impressive skater; he plays bigger than his size, and he’s ahead of the curve with his hockey smarts.”
The 2000 birth year, already standing at 6 feet and 183-pounds, made a name for himself playing in the T1EHL U16 for Victory Honda U16 last season. He scored 10 goals and 13 assists in 32 regular season games and built on that with 2-7-9 in four playoff games.
Turning 17 in just two weeks, the Knights top pick is already committed to playing division one hockey for Michigan Tech in the WCHA.
“Gabe projects as an impact player,” said Whiteside. “That blend talent and want-to is something we value highly on our team.”
The Knights dipped into a talented pool of offensive prospects again by taking Justin Engelkes, a left-handed forward from Verona, Wisconsin in round two. Another 2000-born prospect, Engelkes’ potential has earned him a college commitment to Miami University (Ohio).
“Justin is another quality two-way forward that plays the NAHL-style game,” said Knights scout Justin Schreiber. “He plays a very aggressive, physical style of hockey and can put the puck in the net as well.”
At 5-11, 185 and still room to grow, Engelkes brings with him the valuable experience of playing 37 games for Team Wisconsin U16 last year. That was supplemented by six games in the USHS and five games at the USA-S16 development camp in which he scored three goals and three assists in five games played.
In round three, the Knights spent the first of two picks on Riley Prattson, a ’99 forward from the Selects Hockey Academy 18U. With the selection, the Knights added a third player already-committed to play division one hockey. Set to skate for Providence College in 2018-19, Prattson immediately brings scoring touch to the Knights roster.
“He’s a fast, skilled scorer,” said Whiteside. “He might not be the biggest player, but his speed and ability to get up ice and make plays with the puck are dangerous.”
A right-handed shot, Prattson has been an offensive asset every stop of the way in his young hockey career, most recently scoring four goals and seven assists in five games played in the USPHL 18U.
The California-native has partaken in USA Selects Development Camps in each of the last three years. This past trip saw him pick up four goals and three helpers in five contests.
After Prattson was taken with the 57th pick, the Knights used pick number 58 on goalie Christian Stoever.
“Christian is a super-talented, young goaltender that will be able to jump in and play juniors right away,” said Schreiber. “We are very excited about Christian’s future and his time in the Knights crease.”
Stoever joins Gabe Temple as the second member of Victory Honda U16 to join the Knights roster, where Stoever played in 19 games last season.
With an 8-6-1 record and a 2.74 GAA, the Northville, Michigan-native will have an opportunity to help fill the crease following the departure of Grant Valentine.
The fourth round saw the Knights add Mason Klee as the lone blue-liner in the team’s 2017 draft class. A two-year veteran of the Colorado Thunderbirds, Klee built off a strong U16 season in 2015-16 with an even more productive U18 performance last year.
With four goals and nine assists in 31 games, the righty, ’99 birth year proved his dependability is not limited to his own end of the ice.
“Mason is a versatile defenseman that can make plays at both ends of the ice,” said Schreiber. “We valued his skating ability and his poise to keep things simple and not make mistakes under pressure.”
In round five, the Knights went back to the offense, bolstering their forecheck with the addition of Lincoln Hatten. A 2000-birth year with a 6 foot 2 inch frame, Hatten makes an impact with his physicality up and down the ice.
“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 scored nine goals and 12 assists in 21 regular season games for the Dallas Stars U16 team in the T1EHL in 2016-17. He added two more assists in the playoffs, confirming the right-handed shot’s ability to contribute consistently in the offensive zone.
With their sixth round pick, the Knights added another righty forward in Tucker Chapman. Chapman has spent the last five years as a mainstay for the Lourdes Eagles of the USHS, finishing 2nd in school history in games played (128), 3rd in goals (60), 5th in assists (44) and 4th in points (104) per eliteprospects.com.
“Tucker is a skilled forward that uses his elite skating ability to create space for himself on the rush,” said Schreiber. “We expect Tucker to come in and contribute for the Knights right away.”
In the seventh round, the Knights made their final selection with the pick of Shawn Kennedy.
“Shawn is a player that’s not afraid to go to the dirty areas” said Whiteside. “He’s big, he plays a mature game, and he’ll take the puck right to the net.”
Coming off back-to-back years as a CCHL Champion with the Carleton Place Canadians, the Ontario-native has been a consistent producer of points and minutes. In 127 games over the past two seasons, Kennedy has recorded 27 goals and 38 assists between the regular season and playoffs.
“He’s a big, power, two-way forward with a really high upside.”
With the eight draft picks and ten tenders, the Knights have completed their 30-man protected list this week by adding 11 forwards, five defensmen and two goaltenders.
“We feel good about the balance of this group in their ages, talents and past experience,” said Kowal of his new crop of players. “Having a lot of guys with multiple years of junior eligibility left gives our coaches a lot of upside to work with.”
Of the 18 players added from the draft and tender process, there are four players born in 1998, seven in 1999, and seven in 2000.
“We have a good veteran core coming back from last year’s team. Four of our tenders played and practiced with our NAHL team last year and another played in our division. Between our staff and having those veterans to help teach these younger players really gives us confidence in their development and how our roster is shaping up heading into next season.”
With much of the offseason major lifting under way there’s still much work to be done. The Knights will host an Open Camp in St. Paul, Minnesota June 16th to the 18th, open to any 1997-2001 birth year interested in trying out for the Knights.