Tag Archives: Matt Kidney

Matt Kidney Commits to Salve Regina

When the Knights took Matt Kidney in the first round of the 2016 NAHL Entry draft they knew they were getting an important piece for their future. This week, Kidney committed to Salve Regina University, a member of the NCAA division III Coastal Commonwealth Conference. The Seahawks are coming off a banner year that included a DIII National Championship appearance.

“I think what sold me was Coach Klann,” said Kidney of Salve Regina’s  now second-year head coach. “I’ve heard a lot of good things through the people I talk to and in his first year with Salve, he took them to a national championship. Going to college, a big thing for me is winning and getting a good education, and I think Salve has both of those things.”

Zech Klann was named DIII coach of the year by USCHO.com, guiding the Seahawks to their fourth-consecutive winning season in his first at the helm. In 2017-18, Salva won the CCC regular season title before making a stellar postseason run that came up just short of its ultimate goal. In the past four seasons, Salve Regina is 65-35-10, with two trips to national tournament.

For his part in recording impressive numbers, Kidney led the Knights in scoring in his rookie season, notching 20 goals and 46 points in 48 total games. He followed that up in 2017-18 with 22-31-53 in 67 games played. A two-time NAHL Top Prospects participant,  Kidney saved some of his best hockey for the 2018 Robertson Cup push, where he recorded three goals and three assists in 10 games. All totaled, the right-handed forward leaves Wilkes-Barre/Scranton as its all-time leading NAHL scorer with 42 goals and 99 points in 115 games.

“We drafted Matt Kidney understanding that we were getting a really skilled player,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal. “We had just come off our first season, looking to build a team that would compete for a Robertson Cup. Matt stepped in early and hit the ground running. He was a tone-setter for us. When he was rolling, we were playing some of our best hockey. He was a huge piece in our playoff run this past season, and I think that really showed what kind of player he’s capable of being.”

Kidney’s choice to attend Salve Regina came from advice.

“I talked to Danny Eruzione a lot recently,” Kidney said of his friend, a former New Jersey Titans forward. “He just kept saying ‘Dude you have to come, you have to come.’ I know he’s a good guy and he’d be straight up with me and he told me ‘This is the place to be.'”

With over 100 games played in the League of Opportunity, Kidney credits the NAHL for preparing him for the physical challenges college hockey is known for.

“From hearing a lot of opinions about DIII, it’s a lot of bigger, older guys,” he said. “My first year in the NAHL, it was a lot of bigger guys and that kind of prepared me and help me play a more physical game. I think this year it’s really helped me a lot with the speed. I think it increased my speed-I know I got faster this year. I think going to school next year is going to be really good.”

After enjoying a deep postseason run in his final year of junior hockey, Kidney wants to help put the Seahawks over the top, following their double-overtime loss in the 2017-18 National Championship.

“I think I come there to win each and every day,” he said. “I feel like I proved that in this year’s playoffs. Our playoff run was spectacular and wasn’t really expected by most and not a lot of people saw it coming. I think I come with a winning attitude and a lot of hard work.”

The Knights run to the Final Four of the Robertson Cup will forever stick with Kindey as one of his all-time favorite memories with the organization.

“It had to be,” he said. “Your last year you go out to Minnesota, play in front of 200 scouts and play against some of the best players in the league. There’s nothing better than that.”

In parting with the Knights, Kidney was sure to thank those who helped him along the way.

“I gotta give thanks to my coaches, Tom Kowal and Andrew Whiteside and the Knights organization for giving me this opportunity,” said Kidney. “Craig Doremus too. I’ve known him a long time, and he’s always looked out for me over the years, and always was honest with me. And of course my family. I think my family played a big role in keeping me honest and supporting me.”

“Matt will always be thought of as a player that helped move our organization in the direction we want it to go,” said Kowal. “In our team’s NAHL history, he holds a lot of our records. He’s earned that with his talent and effort. I thank him for all he’s contributed and wish him the best moving forward in hockey and life.”

The Knights echo coach Kowal’s thoughts and join him in wishing Matt nothing but the best as he moves on to college and beyond!

Recap: Knights Complete Sweep, Punch Ticket to Minnesota

On Monday, the Knights had a chance to check off a lot of team firsts. First-ever Final Four birth in the Robertson Cup Playoffs was chief among their goals, but to do it, they’d have to sweep a team they’d never advanced beyond in the postseason.

The Philadelphia Rebels have been the team to eliminate the Knights in each of the past two seasons, completing sweeps in both years. To return the favor would not only be poetic, but a huge step forward for a Knights team that has hit their stride at the perfect time.

Monday’s action was slow-building. The tension of an elimination game hung heavy as both teams began the evening in an extended test of each other’s ability to trade space up and down the ice. Through the first period starters Ryan Keane and Christian Stoever faced a combined 20 shots.

An early test was stopped by Stoever in an eerily similar play to the  Patric Hornqvist’s no-goal controversy in Sunday’s Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins playoff game. Like the Penguins did the day before, the Rebels drove around the back of the net on a wraparound. Playing the part of both Sidney Crosby and Hornqvist, Alex Frye found himself alone on the right post trying to fire the puck to the net. Instead, Stoever’s left skate slid over and stopped the puck on the goal line. Unlike it’s NHL counterpart, there was no debate as Stoever’s stretch clearly kept the puck from crossing the goal line, robbing the Rebels of a grade-A chance.

Around a minute and a half later, the Knights made Philadelphia pay for the missed opportunity. Down low in the offensive zone, Jeff Bertrand shouldered a puck out of the right corner to Adrian Danchenko. Curling back-handed to the top of the slot, Danchenko fought through a poke check before flipping the puck to his forehand and finding Tyrone Bronte in front of the net. The Aussie center found the puck with his back turned to Keane. While the Rebels attempted to check him out of the crease, Bronte let go a  perfect backhand under the crossbar to beat the sliding Keane to put the Knights up 1-0 at 15:32.

The Rebels pushed back and earned a power play in the final minute of the first. The Knights, after being gashed nearly 40 percent of the time by the Rebels man-advantage during the regular season, entered play without having allowed a single power play goal in games one and two. The streak nearly came to an end in the final seconds of the period, where Stoever was pulled out of the net to the left post, making a save through a screen. The rebound kicked straight down in front of an open right side of the cage. As two Rebels converged to try and bury the equalizer, Thomas Farrell came crashing down, diving and driving the puck clear to the corner to end the period.

Farrell’s heroics were crucial as the Rebels channeled the frustration into a fast start in the second. After each team failed to capitalize on a power play, Philadelphia tilted the ice. From around the 5:00 mark on, the Rebels consistently won board battles, forced mistakes, and extended long shifts in the offensive zone.

Just past six and a half minutes into  the frame, on their second power play of the game, Alex Frye took an entry pass from Ryan Patrick around a defenseman, right to the netfront where he was stoned on a pad save by Stoever. The rebound kicked right to a crashing Patrick who was miraculously robbed on a lounging save by Stoever’s glove to preserve the Knights 1-0 lead.

The goalie was finally bested on a shot from Carson Moniz at 13:36. Hemming a puck in at the left point of the Knights zone, Brandon Stanley tossed a puck to a pinching Nicolas Appendino on the left half wall. Appendino ripped a pass to the top of the slot for a waiting Moniz. With a screen in front, the defenseman fired a puck under the crossbar to even the game at one.

Weathering the Rebels blitz that continued through nearly the rest of the period, the Knights finally broke loose in its final minute. Coming over the red line, Joey Verkerke dropped a puck in deep to the left wing corner of the Rebels zone. Jack Olmstead beat his man to the puck before turning back up ice and cutting to the slot. There a backhand shot attempt was deflected right back to Olmstead. His spinning, second try found Matt Kidney parked to the left of Keane, where he shoveled the puck to the twine to retake the lead.

The surge of a late-period, go-ahead goal refueled the Knights attack. After being hemmed in their own zone for most of the second period, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton grew stronger as the third period wore on. Ryan Keane kept them at bay, making several grade-A saves, robbing the likes of Curtis Carlson and Tyrone Bronte on chances in close. The Rebels counter attack was limited by a steady Knights back check that refused a repeat of the second period.

With just under two minutes remaining, the Rebels pulled their netminder following their timeout. A Rebels icing forced Keane back in the net while the Knights ate more time off the clock. In the period’s final minute, Keane (27 saves on the evening) was able to trade his services for an extra attacker. Following Joey Verkerke hitting the empty net’s post on a long shot down the ice, the Knights ended up icing the puck on an ensuing try down the sheet. A late push in the Knights zone by Philadelphia never created the grade-A look they needed, and the Knights held on to earn the sweep and a ticket to the final four.

Christian Stoever’s stellar efforts on a 39-save night, plus an opportunistic Knights offense are emblematic of how hot the team has become after facing elimination in round one. They will await the winners of the remaining three playoffs series, plus a re-seeding of the last four teams before knowing their opponents. You can follow the remaining games this weekend on hockeytv.com, or by following NAHL.com. Stay tuned to Knights social media and www.wbsknights.com for all news and updates!

 

Game 2: Knights Ride Offense to Wild Win

The second meeting of the Knights and Rebels in the East Division Finals saw the Knights attempting to hand Philadelphia only their second home losing streak of the year. A win would send the Knights back home for game three and four needing one win to advance to the Final Four of the Robertson Cup Playoffs.

Things got off to rocky start for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton cause. The Rebels entered the game on a mission, and imposed with physicality their presence in the offensive zone. It was never more apparent than at four minutes into the competition, when Eric Olson and Adam Peck maintained a bruising shift below the Knights goal line. The pair kept the puck low through heavy board battles, while the Rebels began to make line changes behind the play. Konur Peterson joined in after Peck fed him the puck and left the ice with Olson to complete the change. Peterson kept the puck for an extended period and fought along the wall through multiple Knights before finally curling out in front of the net and ripping a shot at Christian Stoever. Stoever knocked away the offering but the rebound kicked back to Jimmy Glynn who buried the puck for the 1-0 lead.

The Knights responded. Just past the halfway point of the period, after minutes of quick rushes up the ice, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton capitalized on their building momentum. After Blake Kryska tangled for Luke Robinson rebound, Michael Morrissey corralled the loose puck at the top of the offensive zone and found Jack Olmstead on the left half wall. Olmstead skimmed the puck to Matt Kidney on the bottom of the left circle before Kidney sent the return pass back to Olmstead in the slot. Seeing traffic in front, Olmstead wheeled beneath the right side of the cage and swung back to the bottom of the left circle. There, he turned and fired a sharp-angle shot that found the mere inches of space between Rebels goalie Eli Billing and the post, burying the tying score at 11:23.

Channeling the momentum, the Knights came storming back with just under three minutes later. Joey Verkerke flipped a puck through center ice to Lincoln Hatten just above the Rebels blue line. Hatten chipped it perfectly to the oncoming Curtis Carlson to his left, where Carlson picked it up and drove to the net wide, around a back-checking Bryant Gunn. As Carlson one-handed the puck to the front of the net, Billing threw a poke check on the puck, freeing it from the blade, but kicking it right off the skate of Gunn and back through the five-hole for the Knights first lead.

It would take Philadelphia several minutes of near-escapes from a suddenly humming Knights attack to re-gain their footing. With about three minutes to play in the period, they dug in. The Knights, pressured heavily in their own zone, took to icing the puck consecutively to limit more opportunities from developing. As time ticked away in the first, they found themselves being backed up into their own zone repeatedly, extending long shifts. The Rebels made them pay with just under 26 seconds left in the period.

From behind the net, Rebels postseason points leader Brandon Stanley flipped a puck to the left side of Stoever’s cage. From there, Luke Radetic pushed the puck to the netfront for Alex Frye who jarred it between Carlson, Luke Robinson and Blake Kryska until it popped awkwardly over the shoulders of Stoever, landing in front of the the right post. At this point Stanley had looped back from behind the net and to the bottom of the slot, where he located and popped the loose change home to even the score at two.

Backed by the late-period tally, Philadelphia began the next frame on a hot streak. They pushed possession and drew two penalties in the opening minutes of the second. The Knights responded with two successful penalty kills and several more solid saves by Stoever.

With the Rebels momentum spurned, the Knights suddenly re-gained their own, just prior to the halfway point of the stanza. In a play for the season highlight reel, Adrian Danchenko cleared a puck through traffic on his own right half wall by hammering a puck high off of the glass. Soaring through the air, it came down to the stick of Tyrone Bronte, hitting him in stride, allowing him to settle it just before gaining Rebels blue line. As he fired into Philadelphia territory, Bronte fed Jeff Bertrand on his left wing to finish a 2-on-1 rush. Bertrand let go a shot that scorched through the pads of Billing to give the Knights a 3-2 lead at 9:56.

Two and a half minutes later Bronte would return, this time off the efforts of Blake Kryska to rattle a puck around the board of his own end, followed by Bertrand who chopped it free to Bronte exiting the zone. Bronte would weave his way over the left side of the Rebels line before firing a shot off the body of Kolby Vegara on a rebound that came right back to the Australian forward. With the puck re-gathered, Bronte moved in and ripped a puck inside the right post to build a 4-2 lead, chasing Billing in favor of game one starter Ryan Keane.

The Rebels pushed back down two, forcing their way to their third power play of the period just shy of the 15:00 mark. The penalty came off a failed Knights breakout. Off a turnover, Eric Olson walked in on Stoever. Michael Morrissey raced back and hooked Olson to hinder his shot, but the chance still made it’s way to Stoever who made a crucial save falling forward.

The penalty kill continued its solid work on the penalty that followed, but Stoever would rise again as it’s best member. With under 30 seconds left in the Rebels man-advantage, Alex Frye fired a shot at Stoever that kicked over to an open Carson Moniz on the left circle. Stoever sprawled forward to meet him, sending Moniz tumbling to the ice, but not before he impressively centered a pass to Olson in the slot. Olson flipped a wrister on, only to be robbed by Stoever jumping back the opposite way.

Boosted by their third kill, the Knights pushed back into the final minute of the frame. Just prior to the 19:00 mark, the Rebels attempted to catch Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in a change with a home run pass out of their zone that missed an open Konur Peterson. Out of the net, Stoever turned the puck back up ice to Michael Morrissey who lofted a long pass from his blue line to Matt Kidney hovering above the Rebels zone. Kidney’s centering effort to a crashing Luke Robinson was denied by the Rebels back check, but Kidney hopped back into the right wing corner to pressure the puck back up the wall to Morrissey. Morrissey returned the puck to Kidney down low who laced a perfect pass to Jack Olmstead on his off-wing in the low, right side of the slot. Olmstead fired his second goal of both the game and the postseason  across Keane to build a three-score advantage.

Placed in a significant hole to start the third, the Rebels fought tooth and nail to claw their way back-and they very nearly did. As Wilkes-Barre/Scranton moved to protect their lead, the Rebels got their offense rolling again.

The first goal of the period was recorded by the largely the same personnel that scored the Rebels second goal of the game. Through a center ice exchange with Jimmy Glynn, set up by Luke Radetic, Brandon Stanley raced in over the right side of the Knights blue line. Turning in front of the back-checking Joey Verkerke, Stanley launced an absolute rocket, even losing his balance after he let it go with such force, that beat Stoever inside the left post trimming the Knights lead to two just 4:05 in.

The fourth Rebels goal game eight minutes later, when Aaron Maguyon used his speed to give his team’s rally even more fuel. Following a nice save by Keane, Ryan Patrick cleared the puck up the left wing to a racing Aaron Maguyon. Maguyon turned it back to the trailing Patrick on the left side of Knights ice. Playing keep away through a check and an extended tie up on the left circle, Patrick handed it back to Maguyon who just beat Curtis Carlson back to the net, opened the pads of Stoever with a move, and squeezed just under the pads to bring the Rebels back within one.

The Knights, shaken but not beaten, responded with defense. Their backcheck combined with Stoever forced the Rebels back, even drawing a penalty in their own zone which they used to eat two more minutes off the clock. Following timeout with just under two minutes remaining, the Rebels pulled Keane for the extra attacker. The Knights dug in. With the clock ticking all the way down to 13 seconds left, they iced the puck just wide of the open net.

After another timeout, the Knights prepared for one last Rebels push. Morrissey wong the ensuing faceoff and played it to his right wing, but the clearing effort to the top of the zone was intercepted by Carson Moniz. The owner of a deadly shot and plenty of space, Moniz lined and fired a slap shot that Joey Verkerke dove down and blocked out of the slot. The puck came up to the left half-wall, where the Rebels took a second shot that was blocked to the corner by Morrissey. Thomas Farrell found and cleared the puck down the ice to secure the team their wild game-two victory.

The Knights will return home to face the Rebels tomorrow, April 30th at 5:00 PM EDT up 2-0 in the series. A single win will send the Knights to Minnesota for the Final Four of the Roberts Cup Playoffs. Tune in on hockeytv.com and stay up to date with the Robertson Cup Playoffs by following Knights social media, and visiting both www.wbsknights.com and www.nahl.com!

 

 

 

Knights Open Round Two with Commanding Win

Fresh off their first NAHL playoff series win, the Knights went to Aston, Pennsylvania Friday with their sights set on another challenge: beat an old nemesis. The Philadelphia Rebels have met the Knights in the postseason for each of the last three seasons. The Rebels were 6-0 against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the playoffs before puck drop Thursday night. They won this year’s regular season tilt 8-4. For the Knights to achieve their goal in toppling the two-time East division finalists, game one was a pivotal chance to set the early tempo for the best-of-five series.

The game began as a one-sided affair and it was the Knights who seized total control. Following a brief stretch of zone-trading, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton offense started to dig in. Once situated, they peppered Philadelphia starting goalie Ryan Keane with 16 shots in the opening frame.

On wall scrum just prior to the four minute mark of the first, Lincoln Hatten dug a puck free and flipped it back to Joey Verkerke on the left point. On his off-wing, Verkerke let go a side-winder that caromed off the back boards to the net front for a waiting Curtis Carlson. Carlson has great speed, but one of the traits that makes him special is his agility to use his quickness in close quarters. Corralling the loose puck, Carlson dragged Keane out of the net before curling the puck around him and burying for the game’s first goal.

With a 1-0 lead, the Knights allowed no push back. After a series of a faceoffs in the attacking zone, Michael Morrissey won a puck to his winger Jack Olsmtead. Olmstead kicked the puck up to the right point for Thomas Farrell. Farrell let go an elevated shot that beat Keane through a Matt Kidney screen to put the Knights up 2-0 in the game’s first eight minutes.

The Rebels would spend much of the first period attempting to contain the Knights blistering forecheck and speed off the rush. They tested Knights starter Christian Stoever with just two first-period shots. In the final minutes of the opening frame, the Rebels were able to create a few quality scoring chances that missed the net by mere inches, but were held scoreless through the first.

In the second, play picked up for Philadelphia, as they were able to create a few more quality chances, but time and again they were stymied by Stoever and a quick Knights blue line. As Wilkes-Barre/Scranton weathered the initial push from Philadelphia, they returned to their siege of the offensive zone.

Just under 12:30 into the middle period, the Rebels tried an outlet pass up their right wing. Michael Morrissey jumped in front of short pass at the blue line and deftly poked it back over to the just onside Jack Olmstead. Olmstead deked a back checking Rebel to the top of the slot, where he somehow found a crashing Matt Kidney behind the defense.  Kidney ripped a shot under the crossbar to give the Knight a 3-0 lead. The tally chased Ryan Keane and brought on Eli Billing.

Billing came on cold but performed well, facing seven shots in the final minutes of the second period. It wasn’t until the Knights moved to the game’s first power play that Billing was beaten. With just six seconds remaining in their man-advantage, Luke Robinson fired a point pass to Blake Kryska who hammered a shot toward the slot. The puck never made it through to the net, instead bouncing off a Rebels skater in front and into the lap of Reed Robinson. Robinson immediately let go a shot from the slot that rippled the twine, putting his team up 4-0 at the end of two periods of play.

In the third, The Knights hunkered down to protect their advantage. The Rebels responded with 12 shots on Christian Stoever (25 saves).  He stopped 11, before the Rebels finally found a crack.

After a scoreless first half to the period, Eric Olson carried a puck into the attacking zone, bowling over a Knights defender in the process. Olson’s pass to the corner was initially grabbed by the Knights, but was turned over to Ryan Patrick in the opposite corner. Through a check, Patrick slid a perfect centering pass to the open Olson in front of the net. The Calgary-native didn’t miss the opportunity and spoiled Stoever’s shutout with under nine minutes to play.

The rest of the competition failed to yield a goal, as the Knights skated away with a definitive game-one win. The team will return to Aston Saturday night at 7:05 PM EDT for game two. That game will be available on hockeytv.com. Follow Knights social media, www.wbsknights.com, and nahl.com for all news and updates!

Game 5: Knights Knock off Titans to Advance to Round 2

Sunday’s winner-take-all match up between the Knights and Titans lived up to its billing with high intensity from the opening puck drop. In hostile territory, the Knights aimed to advance with their first playoff series win in the organization’s short NAHL history.

The team received exactly the kick start it needed when Reed Robinson notched his first goal of the postseason just 5:39 into the first. Having played each other nine times over the last month, the Knights and Titans have become familiar with some of each other’s tendencies. Robinson, pressuring in the low right wing while the Titans attempted to coordinate a breakout, hawked a pass from behind the net at the front door, and proceeded to rip a shot through Titans goalie Matt Ladd for the 1-0 lead.

For much of the first, the Knights battled hard and succeeded in driving pucks and possession in the offensive zone, while executing fast, and crisp breakouts out of their own end. They were backstopped again by stellar play from Christian Stoever. Fresh off a 51-save shutout in game four, Stoever was tremendous in net once more, fending off a few early odd-man rushes from New Jersey, on his way to 14 saves in the first.

In the period’s final minute, the Knights top line moved out of their own zone on a quick rush up the left wing. Jack Olmstead flipped a puck ahead to Michael Morrissey who started a 2-on-1 with Matt Kidney over the Titans blue line. Kidney led Morrissey to the left circle, where the latter backhanded a perfect set up back to Matt Kidney who had looped back through the slot. Kidney, playing once again in his hometown, darted across the face of Ladd before putting home his first goal of the playoffs, moving the Knights up 2-0 with just 10 seconds left in the first.

Spurred on by their early success, the Knights picked up where they left off in the opening period with a swift attack that drew an early penalty in the second. Late in the ensuing power play, Reed Robinson fired into the offensive zone where he threw a puck back to a trailing Tyrone Bronte. After accepting a return pass, Robinson spotted a wide-open Blake Kryska at the top of the zone.  With ice in front of him, Kryska walked Robinson’s pass through the slot before burying a wrister by Ladd for the 3-0 lead at 6:09.

The Titans finally got on the board just prior to the halfway point of the second. Jimmy Dowd Jr. flipped a puck through center ice from the left side of his own blue line. A savvy move by Matt Cameron caused the Knights to over commit to the winger, while the speedy Ryan Naumovski took the puck in over the right wing of the attacking end. Beating the backcheck to the bottom of the zone, Naumovski flipped a puck off a body in front and past Stoever to cut the Knights lead to 3-1.

The flood gates opened in the second half of the period for New Jersey as the Titans began an onslaught of chances and shifts in the Knights end of the ice. Stoever stood tall as the Knights attempted to regroup, and the score remained 3-1 at the end of 40 minutes of play.

On a carryover stretch of 4-on-4 hockey to start the third, the Titans turned to their speed to take advantage of the extra space on the ice. Nick Boyagian started a breakout with a long pass from behind his own net to Ryan Wheeler. Wheeler criss-crossed behind the lightning-fast Wade Novak as the pair crossed the blue line. The defenseman had just enough room to bank a pass of the boards behind Stoever’s net, which pinballed perfectly to a crashing Novak. With his third goal of the playoffs, Novak beat Stoever to the back post, narrowing the score to 3-2 just 50 seconds into the period.

With the momentum reversed heavily against them, the Knights needed to come up with a fast response. On a sequence that appeared to be going the wrong way for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Joey Verkerke came up with a game-turning play.

After a Knights defender fell down to allow Ryan Naumovski a seemingly clear path to the net, Verkerke made a diving block through the low slot, pushing the puck into the corner. Regaining his feet, Verkerke pushed the puck back up the left wall to Justin Engelkes who laced a perfect home-run pass to the streaking Adrian Danchenko up the right wing. Danchenko received the puck just prior to the red line, and burned the Titans last back-checker to create a breakaway. In alone on Ladd, Danchenko ripped a perfect shot top shelf, stick-side to regain the two-goal lead just under three minutes into the third.

With the multi-goal advantage once more, the Knights quickly went into a defensive-mode, easing slightly off the attack and placing trust in their defense and their red-hot goaltender to seal the victory. They held the score through the bulk of the period to force the Titans hand late.

Down two with just over three minutes remaining, Matt Ladd left the crease for the extra attacker. The Knights were placed under siege as the Titans, who had already forced several icings just minutes prior, maintained the offensive zone on long shifts. Their shots made it to the net, but not by Stoever, who made one great stop  after another on his way to 49 saves for the evening, and finishing with 129 on the weekend.

The final highlight came after Stoever leapt out of his stance to knock a high shot away with the stick, with just under two minutes to play. Lincoln Hatten’s clearing effort just missed New Jersey’s open net, keeping tired Knights legs on the ice for another faceoff.

This time, Michael Morrissey won the puck cleanly off the draw and flipped it back to the corner for Thomas Farrell. Farrell lifted the puck up the side-wall to Hatten, who barreled his way out of the zone. Playing an expert game of keep-away through three poke-check attempts, Hatten skated the puck to just above the Titans blue line where he arched a backhanded shot perfectly into the open net.

The Knights fifth goal secured the game-five win, as well as their first series win in their Robertson Cup Playoff history. They will move on to take on the Philadelphia Rebels in the East Division Finals, another best-of-five series, beginning later this week. The schedule will be released shortly.

Stay tuned to www.wbsknights.com and Knights social media for all news and updates!

Fessenden Out-Duels Knights as Generals Take Series Opener

A three-game series between the East Division’s third and fourth placed teams kicked off Friday, as the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights and the Northeast Generals met for their final series in the regular season.

Friday’s first period saw good chances for both sides. Starting goalies Christian Stoever and David Fessenden stood down each sides’ offerings in goal for much of the opening frame, as each attack searched for its stride.

Not long after the Generals killed the game’s first power play, their rested scorers recorded the game’s first tally. Off a failed exit pass from the Knights zone, the Generals hopped in to create a 3-on-2 entry. Colin found Colin as Bilek threaded a slick pass to McCabe, as the latter buried his third tally of the season for the 1-0 lead.

A second Knights power play was negated by steady work from the Generals killers and Fessenden’s steady play in net. At the end of 20:00, the hometown Generals held the early lead.

After a first period slightly carried by the Knights, thanks in part to two power plays, Northeast countered with a strong second period. It was Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s turn to visit the box, taking three trips in the period. The first negated the Knights third power play, leading to an extended stretch of 4-on-4. The second infraction proved mostly costly. Just past the 14:00 marker, it was Bilek’s turn to be gifted a strong assist. Louis Boudon found Matt Wiesner, who fed his captain on the power play goal.

Down 2-0 entering the third, the Knights bounced back. After killing an early power play, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton tilted the ice to open the first half of the frame. Their efforts, though met continually by strong play from Fessenden, finally paid off at 7:42. From the right wing corner in the offensive zone, Kidney fed Joey Verkerke at the top of the zone. The latter fired a puck at Fessenden, who was screened by Mike Morrissey, leaving a bouncing puck to find Kidney again, who flipped a nifty back-handed shot to get the Knights on the board.

The Knights control of play continued through much of the period, with the only breaks in action coming off masterful saves from Stoever-who stoned Bilek on a breakaway-and Fessenden, who robbed Jake Fuss on a one-timer from in close.

The period wound its way down to the final minutes with the Generals leading 2-1. After being out-shot 14-3 in the middle period, the Knights responded in kind, blasting the Generals with an 18-5 advantage. Still, Fessenden stood tall. With just under a minute to play, the Knights traded Stoever for an extra attacker. Less than 30 seconds later, Colin Bilek cleared a puck down the ice, with the back-handed effort finding the yawning Knights net.

The game would conclude with the Generals taking game one by a score of 3-1. Their victory brings them back within two points (58 to 56) of the Knights in third place in the East. The pair will meet again tomorrow night at 5:00 PM EST. Tune in on hockeytv.com!

Knights Rally Past Titans in St. Patrick’s Day Slugfest

In the third and final act of play on the weekend, the Knights traveled to New Jersey to take on the Titans Saturday night. Following a big home win against the division-leading Rebels, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton looked for more of the same consistency. They didn’t need to wait long for offense.

Just shy of the six minute mark, Tyrone Bronte tipped a Titans exit pass to Adrian Danchenko. The latter wove his way in on net and bested Brandon Perrone for the 1-0 lead.

The Titans would even the score ten minutes later, when Tate Singleton kicked off a big night with a power play goal (Ryan Naumovski, Matthew Cameron).

With starters Perrone and Christian Stoever each stopping 10 of 11 shots in the first, the evening had every appearance of a greasy, defensive-oriented contest. Then the second period happened.

Just 2:50 into the frame, Hunter Alden and Spencer Stanley sprung Tate Singleton for his second goal of the night. The Knights would use the power play to equalize the score. Just past 7:30, Shay Donovan fired a pass to Mike Gelatt, who found Tyrone Bronte, who buried his second goal in as many games to knot the score at two.

Kyle Jeffers fired right back down the ice and cashed in a cross-ice feed from Nick Boyagian just 30 seconds later, re-establishing New Jersey’s lead. Singleton would cap a hat trick less than a minute later to build a 4-2 lead (Zachary Faremouth, Ryan Wheeler).

A subsequent Knights penalty put the Titans in position to place themselves firmly in the driver’s seat. Matt Kidney had other plans. As Brandon Perrone left his crease to chase a Wilkes-Barre/Scranton clearing effort, Kidney swept in from the blue line and pulled the puck away from the netminder, before firing home his 17th goal of the season.

After seeing five goals scored in seven minutes, both teams took a pause to catch their breath. With just over three minutes remaining in the period, Tate Singleton repaid Hunter Alden for his earlier assist, returning the favor to set up Alden’s 10th goal of the season.

Down two to start the third, the Knights-Jack Olmstead and Matt Kidney in particular-came out swinging. At 2:21, Tom Farrell pinched down from the point, shoveling a puck to Kidney, who flipped a perfect pass to Jack Olmstead. Olmstead buried the puck for his 22nd goal of the season, bringing the Knights back within one.

The next shift down the ice, Olmstead would win a puck under the goal line, hand it to Kidney, who threaded a perfect pass to a waiting Gabe Temple in the slot for the game-tying score.

The Titans would seize back brief control in the second half of the period, when Holden Biebel fed Matthew Cameron for the 6-5 lead at 13:33.

At 14:40, Mike Morrissey would bring the Knights back yet again. The ’97 planted himself in front of the net while Kidney found Olmstead on the half-wall. The latter threaded a perfect pass to Morrissey in front to even the score at 6.

Just shy of two minutes to go, Morrissey would plant himself in front of the net yet again, this time acting as a screen. Blake Kryska hammered a puck off the end boards which wrapped its way onto the stick of Olmstead. Olmstead flipped a pass through the low slot to Matt Kidney, who hammered through his second-goal and fifth point of the evening.

In the limited time remaining, the Knights kept the Titans and their extra attacker at bay through the final horn. The win is the Knights second in a row, and with its two points in regulation, they move into a second place tie with the Titans in the NAHL’s east division. Their next test will come when the Knights travel up to Attleboro to take on the Northeast Generals for their final three meetings of the regular season. Game one is set for Friday, March 23rd at 8:30 pm. Tune in on hockeytv.com and follow along with Knights Twitter and Instagram @WBSKnights, and online at www.wbsknights.com.

Friday Final: Knights 4, Rebels 2

Friday’s match up with the Philadelphia Rebels pitted the Knights against their division rivals for the fourth consecutive game. Having lost the prior three meetings, the Knights entered play determined to reverse the course of the last week of play.

Christian Stoever and the Knights defenders withstood a barrage of Early Philadelphia chances, as the Rebels jumped out to an early shot advantage of 11-2. The Knights swung the pendulum in the opposite direction near the midway point of the opening period, capitalizing on a failed, yet aggressive power play to build offensive chances.

At the 13:25 mark, Michael Morrissey surprised goalie Eli Billing as he came out to play a puck behind the goal line. Billing was able to hand the puck off to a teammate, but in the hurried exchange, the puck was pulled free by Morrissey. The Knights assistant captain found Jack Olmstead further behind the line, where Olmstead then fed an open Mike Gelatt in front. The other assistant captain buried the puck over the shoulder of the returned Billing to claim the 1-0 lead.

The Knights barrage of chances increased in wake of the goal, and in the period’s final minute they would strike again. Tyrone Bronte, off helpers from Thomas Farrell and Blake Kryska, burst down the right wing and around the last Rebels defender. In the process, the Australian forward cut sharply in front of Billing, who opened the five hole just wide enough for Bronte to slip the puck through, putting the Knights up 2-0 in the final minute of the first.

The lone score of the second period would come quickly, as in the period’s first minute the Rebels committed an early slashing penalty. Instead of the Knights power play cashing in, a quick Wilkes-Barre/Scranton turnover at the top of the Rebels zone turned into a 2-on-1 shorthanded rush the other way. Auggie Moore deftly slid the puck across the Knights zone to a crashing Eric Olson, who ripped a shot past Christian Stoever to halve the Knights lead.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton would respond with a heavy dose of shots through the remainder of the man advantage, but Eli Billing (33 saves) had settled in. The ’97 netminder stopped a staggering 20 shots in the period to keep the Knights to just two goals in the game’s first 40 minutes.

In the third period, play slowed through the first 10 minutes. Shots registered in just the single digits as each side played catch through neutral ice. Finally the Knights broke through when Shay Donovan slid a puck to Lincoln Hatten to create a 2-on-1. Hatten, in a mirror image to Olson’s earlier shorthanded assist, slid the puck perfectly across the slot to the streaking Reed Robinson. The Rockwall, Texas native blasted a puck past the sliding Billing to establish a 3-1 lead for the Knights at the 7:12 marker.

The Rebels would not go quietly. After being blanked on their first two power play tries, Philadelphia would return to their usual success, just past the 13:30 mark in the third. Carson Moniz fed Aaron Maguyon, whose shot forced Christian Stoever to make a diving save. While the rebound kicked out to Jensen Zerban, Stoever hit the ice. Unable to reset and stand in time, Stoever (37 saves) and the Knights could only watch as Zerban cranked home his 17th goal of the season, trimming the lead back to one.

With time winding out, both sides fired up their final pushes to a conclusion. With just over a minute remaining, Billing left the net for an extra attacker. Shortly thereafter, Tyrone Bronte broke out of his own zone with a pass through the middle of neutral ice to Adrian Danchenko. With a deft one-touch pass, Danchenko found Matt Kidney in the middle of the offensive zone. Kidney walked the puck to the open net before emphatically slamming the door on the Rebels comeback.

The empty net goal brought about the final score of 4-2, with the Knights securing their 25th win of the season. They’ll look to keep their momentum rolling with a road trip to New Jersey Tonight for a 7:00 pm EST puck drop against the New Jersey Titans. A regulation win would pull the Knights into a tie for second place in the East with the Titans, a spot which Wilkes-Barre/Scranton held for the majority of the season. Tune in on www.hockeytv.com, and follow along on Knights social media:

Facebook- WBS Knights Hockey

Twitter and Instagram- @wbsknights

 

Series Recap: Knights Take Two of Three from Generals

On a busy weekend for the Knights, the program’s NAHL team hosted three games against the Northeast Generals, their standing neighbors in the East division.

Saturday

Game one took place Saturday after weather forced Friday’s contest to be moved to Monday. The evening affair started quickly, with the Knights on the attack courtesy of a pair of power plays generated in the opening minutes of the first. Though the Knights were kept at bay by Northeast netminder Marko Sturma, the chances created served as a springboard into a high-tempo forecheck for much of the remainder of the game.

Despite the early dosage of shots against, the Generals picked up their attack in the second half of the frame, repeatedly testing Christian Stoever in goal for the Knights. Though the 2000-born goaltender would make 11 first-period saves, Northeast would finally break through at 17:42 when Alex Cohen beat Stoever on a wraparound to the left post (Matthew Rutigliano, Sviatoslov Kuchynski).

Determined to leave their scoring slump in February, the Knights broke into the scoring column quickly in the second. Joey Verkerke initiated a two-on-one for Jack Olmstead and Mike Gelatt into Northeast territory where Olmstead found Gelatt in the right circle where he ripped a perfect shot past the glove of Sturma to even the score at one.

The Generals provided a response just over 60 seconds later, when Louis Boudon sprung free in the slot to re-direct Colin Bilek’s point shot past Stoever. Jeff Skinner picked up the secondary assist to put the Generals back ahead by one.

Stoever would do well in the second to stave off further Generals momentum,  making a few sterling saves to keep the Northeast lead to just a single goal.

Just prior to the halfway point of the period, Mike Gelatt would again find himself on an odd-man rush, this time accompanied by Reed Robinson. The pair would play catch as they gained the Northeast blue line before Robinson roofed a perfect shot from the left circle to once again bring the Knights even.

In the  third, Northeast would jump ahead again, this time via a Cam Gaudette laser from the far circle, set up by Matt Demelis and Justin Jallen. The tally was Guadette’s first in the NAHL, and gave Northeast momentum that would carry through the first half of the third stanza.

As time ticked away, Stoever would again deny several strong chances from the Generals attack, to keep the Knights within striking distance of the deficit.

At 12:46 his efforts were rewarded with yet another Knights equalizer. On a controversial play in which Sturma was contacted in the Generals crease, Mike Gelatt willed the puck on goal, creating a rebound that Matt Kidney buried to knot the game at three. Despite a long conference by officials, the goal was allowed to stand.

60 minutes would prove to be not enough time for either side to emerge victorious. In the three-on-three overtime period, Stoever and company denied an early Generals push before taking over possession for the majority of the five-minute span. Marko Sturma came up with his best save of the game late in the frame when he fell backward on Adrian Danchenko’s shot in close to somehow preserve the tie. At the next horn, the score remained even at three, sending the contest into the shootout.

Neither goalie flinched through the first two rounds, but Louis Boudon scored in the top of the third to provide the potential game-winning tally. The Knights sent out captain Curtis Carlson in a do-or-die scenario to try to force a fourth round. The veteran forward responded by firing a perfect shot past Sturma that went bar-down to move the showdown onto yet another round.

In the fourth, Brian Chambers was turned back by Stoever, while Reed Robinson had the puck roll off his blade on what looked like a game-winning move to beat Sturma. Matt Demelis was stoned in the fifth bringing on Matt Kidney for the Knights.

The veteran winger raced down the ice before burying the walk-off wrister over Sturma’s shoulder, sending the Knights home with two points, maintaining their slim lead over Northeast for third place in the East division.

Sunday

In the middle game of the series, the Knights attempted to channel the rush of Saturday’s shootout victory into another two points on Sunday. There to spoil the party was Generals goalie David Fessenden. The hulking ’98 has long tormented Knights scorers since coming to Northeast midway through last season.

At 6-5, Fessenden was in his usual form against the Knights early and never let his performance falter. After weathering a Wilkes-Barre/Scranton surge in the first half of the opening period, the Generals erupted for four goals in the final 7:32.

The first came from Matthew Rutigliano off assists from Sviastoslov Kuchynski and Ryan Rowland just shy of the 12:30 mark. Justin Jallen followed that with a power play snipe at 13:51, with Kuchynski again supplying the primary helper, while Brady Guadette picked up the secondary.

The Gaudette family continued rolling as Brady’s brother Cam found the net for the second-consecutive game less than 30 seconds later, off set ups from Mike Egan and Matt Demelis.

Demelis would cap the dominant stretch with a rifle of a wrist shot that squeaked through Christian Stoever’s pads at 17:54, after the Northeast forward was able to get behind the Knights last line of defense (MIchael Higgins, Brian Chambers).

After regrouping in the first intermission, the Knights came out in the second with better resolve. David Tomeo replaced Stoever in net and stopped 20 shots without allowing a single goal over the final two periods of play. In that same stretch, the Knights pushed back well, but not enough to rattle their nemesis in net in Fessenden.

Michael Morrissey would supply the lone tally of the second period, his tenth of the season, after Adrian Danchenko barreled through bodies down the right half-wall to find Morrissey open in the slot. Tom Farrell picked up the secondary assist on the goal at 8:27. The next marker wouldn’t come until 14:21 in the third, when Mike Gelatt collected his second score of the weekend off assists from Jack Olmstead and Tom Farrell. The late strike would provide the Knights confidence, enough to pull Tomeo with just over four minutes to play.

The bold strategy would be hindered by a Wilkes-Barre/Scranton penalty about a minute and a half later, forcing Tomeo back to the crease. Once the Knights cleared the zone they again pulled their goalie to the bench, but on this try Northeast quickly capitalized, with Justin Jallen putting home the easy power play, empty net goal at 18:50 (Brady Gaudette, Ryan Rowland). When the clock struck zero, the Knights were beaten 5-2.

Monday

With each side having recorded a victory, plus an additional Generals point due to their shootout loss in game one, Monday’s contest saw just a single point separate the third-place Knights and fourth-place Generals. With standing and future playoff implications at stake, the early play belonged to each of the starting goaltenders; David Fessenden for the Generals and Christian Stoever, back in net for the Knights.

With 18 shots between sides stopped in the first, the first tally would serve as a major boost for whichever offense could end the scoring drought in the second. For the first time in the three-game series, it would be the Knights that would find the game’s first goal.

Matt Kidney, who scored the game-tying goal plus the shootout winner on Saturday, kept his hot streak rolling with his 15th strike of the season at 10:58. Justin Engelkes kicked off one of the best offensive sequences the Knights have had on any shift all season. The Miami of Ohio commit jarred a puck free at the top of the Generals zone where he leveled a Northeast player with a clean check just under the blue line. The loose biscuit bounced its way over to Tyrone Bronte who deftly maneuvered through Northeast’s traffic before sending a beautiful pass to an open Kidney in front for the emphatic score.

Despite the strong execution, the Generals wouldn’t go quietly in the second. Jeff Skinner played a Louis Boudon rebound off the back wall perfectly to beat Stoever with a heavy shot at 14:30 in the second. Colin Bilek recorded the secondary assist on the game-tying goal.

By all appearances it looked as if the third period was building up for another hotly contested finish and perhaps another one that would need overtime. Instead, the Knights assembled what could be considered their most dominant period of the season.

After two months in which consistency has eluded the Knights and what was for much of the season, a high-powered offense, the floodgates opened in Monday’s third period.

Just under a minute in, after collecting a pass form Adrian Danchenko, Mike Morrissey slid Reed Robinson a perfect cross-slot feed where Robinson was able to poke an easy goal home. The tally was his 17th of the season, moving him into second on the list of Knights goal scorers.

Just over six minutes later, Tom Farrell forced a turnover at the top of the Generals zone and fed it to Jack Olmstead. The East Division Star of the Week’s lead pass found Curtis Carlson alone in front of Fessenden where the Knights captain made a nifty move to go bar-down for the 3-1 lead.

In a period in which the Knights relentless forecheck out-shot the Generals 22-2, David Fessenden did the best he could to keep the game within comeback distance for Northeast. His play didn’t allow the Knights to run away with the contest, but for their part Wilkes-Barre/Scranton would not allow any time or room for the Generals to mount a comeback at even-strength.

Under siege in their own zone for much of the final period, things slipped further away from the Generals late when their lone power play of the frame resulted in as many shots against as it did for. It was cut short by 26 seconds when Northeast was called for too-many-men during a line change. The result saw Fessenden pulled with under two minutes remaining to make the 5-on-4 a 5-on-5 with an empty net.

The Knights foiled the approach with just under a minute to play when Jack Olmstead hopped on a puck at the top of the Generals zone and skated it to the empty cage for the easy empty-net, power play score. The goal iced the contest, bringing the Knights their second win of the weekend and fortifying their third place lead to three points, with a now 6-2-1 record against the Generals in the season head-to-head.

Looking forward to this weekend, the Knights will take on the first-place Philadelphia Rebels this weekend with two games on the road. The first will take place at the Class of 1923 arena on Friday, March 9th at 7:10 PM EST. The Knights will then travel to the Wells Fargo Center the next night to play the Rebels in a special regular season contest on the home ice of the Philadelphia Flyers at 5:30 PM EST. Visit this link for more details on tickets for Saturday’s game! Both games will be streamed on hockeytv.com. Stay tuned to www.wbsknights.com and Knights social media for further news and updates!

Ice Dogs Down Knights In Fairbanks

The Knights started the second half of their Alaska road trip with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs, winners of 19-straight. Friday night’s action started quickly in favor of the home team, seeing Grant Ledford push a rebound past Christian Stoever for the 1-0 lead (Connor Chilton, Robert Blueger) at 6:04. The Ice Dogs dictated the early tempo, while Josh Benson stood down mid-period pressure from the Knights with a string of solid saves.

Following a Wilkes-Barre/Scranton turnover just past the 12:20 mark, Sam Ruffin recorded his 15th tally of the season, set up by Jack Johnston and Jax Murray. Fairbanks would cap a strong start with a third-straight goal, after Hunter Wendt swatted a puck out of mid-air on a dish from Daniel Haider, fed on by Noah Wilson.

In the second, the Knights first penalty would prove costly. Just over 30 seconds after being assessed a slash, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton couldn’t clear the netfront, where Robert Blueger deflected a piece of Erkka Vanska’s shot past Stoever for the 4-0 lead. Kyle Mayhew was credited the secondary assist on the power play goal.

Between the 9:17 and 10:42 marks, consecutive Fairbanks penalties nullified an Ice Dogs power play and turned four-on-four into an eventual 5-on-3 advantage for the Knights. They didn’t waste the opportunity. Curtis Carlson put his team on the board after refusing to quit on a Matt Kidney rebound. Multiple swats of the puck finally vested Benson to cut the Fairbanks lead to three (Kidney, Tom Farrell).

Before the second penalty’s expiration, Blake Kryska put a loose puck through Benson off a chance created by Farrell and Mike Morrissey. The goal marked Kryksa’s first in a Knights sweater.

Riding the wave of momentum, Mike Morrissey looked to add fuel to the fire when he and Connor Chilton dropped the gloves just shy of the 17:00 marker. Despite getting the better of the exchange of fists, the Knights could not solve Benson again before the close of the middle frame.

The third period reverted to the patterns of the first. Fairbanks resumed its control of play, outshooting the Knights 10-5. Each netminder traded quality saves, but the continual pressure applied to the Knights end of the ice resulted in little quality chances developing for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Down two scores late, the Knights were unable to gain the necessary space to pull Stoever (26 saves) until the game reached its final minute. Not long after he hit the bench, Sam Ruffin fired a puck into the yawning net to put the seal on a 5-2 Fairbanks win (Luke Orysiuk, Mayhew).

The Knights will look to finish their Alaska tour on a high note by snapping the Ice Dogs 20-game winning streak tonight at 11:30 PM EST/ 7:30 PM AKST. The broadcast will be available at HockeyTV.com, follow WBS Knights Hockey on Facebook, @wbsknights on Twitter and Instagram, and visit www.nahl.com for in-game updates!