Saturday marked the middle contest of the Knights three-game series tagainst the first-place Northeast Generals this weekend. Following yesterday’s 5-3 win over Northeast, the Knights attempted to keep their foot on the gas pedal for the second-consecutive day.
On this day, Tyrone Bronte jump-started the Knights out of the gates. Just prior to the 2:00 mark, Jack Olmstead fielded a pop fly at center ice and relayed a sharp pass to Bronte over the right wing. The Australian forward ripped a dart past Northeast goalie, Marko Sturma to put the Knights up 1-0.
On the other end, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton netminder David Tomeo locked things down in the first, sending away any and all chances on goal. The Knights limited the Generals potent offense to just a handful of quality shots in the first 20 minutes play.
The biggest opposition to the Wikles-Barre/Scranton’s sustained offensive pressure came from Sturma, who has continually proven to be a tough solve for the Knights forecheck this season.
Despite two, first-period penalties, the Knights ended the frame with a 1-0 lead with their penalty kill a perfect 2/2. The Generals likewise, were strong on the lone penalty they faced, ending the period 1/1 shorthanded.
The second period mirrored the first. The Knights received and early goal from another rookie, Justin Engelkes. Just shy of the 7:00 mark, Mike Gelatt dug a puck loose from down low and handed it to Engelkes, who barreled to the far post and tucked it past Sturma to build a 2-0 lead.
The Knights would again take two penalties and again repel both. They would again go 0/1 on the man advantage. Tomeo was steady once more, preventing any goals as the Knights continued to carry play during 5-on-5. Marko Sturma continued to prove hard to solve as the goalie continued to stand on his head to keep the game close.
With the third period came the Generals forecheck. The NAHL’s top-scoring offense awoke from their slumber to erase their two-goal deficit in the opening seven minutes of the frame.
The first Northeast goal came at 6:25, when Joseph Mancuso buried a puck past Tomeo on the set up from Hunter Canestra and Luke Perunovich. Just 23 seconds later, Mike Egan ripped a back-door snipe off a perfect pass from Brady Gaudette.
With the game tied, the chippiness increased. Following a checking from behind penalty assessed to the Generals, Jack Olmstead ripped a snipe top-shelf past Sturma to give the Knights a 3-2 lead at 9:27. Tyrone Bronte and Curtis Carlson picked up the helpers.
Fighting off the Generals attack for the remainder of the contest would prove difficult but not impossible for the Knights, who recovered nicely from their breakdowns in the period’s early going. Though both teams traded quality chances, Tomeo and the Knights defense worked hard to limit grade-A opportunities.
As time wound down, the Knights took a slashing call with 1:39 to go in regulation. With the 5-on-4 advantage, the Generals pulled Sturma for an extra attacker to create a 6-on-4. With the Knights refusing to give up the equalizer with just under a minute to play, the Generals took a checking-from-behind penalty to nullify one of the two extra skaters.
With an empty net, Northeast still pressed on, forcing an offensive zone face off with 2.9 seconds to go in the third. Though they were able to win the draw, they could not get the puck by Tomeo and the Knights went on to win their third-straight game.
The victory moves Wilkes-Barre/Scranton into second place in the East division, one point ahead of the Philadelphia Rebels. The Knights 25 points are the second-highest total in the NAHL thus far this season. The team will attempt a three-game sweep of Northeast tomorrow, when they play their third and final game of the weekend at 12:00 pm (corrected from 12:30 pm) EST (Clocks fall back one hour overnight). Follow Knights social media on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and visit nahl.com for in-game updates!