Photo via EHL
The Knights entered a showdown with the New England Wolves with the objectives of playing a consistent 60 minutes and snapping a three-game losing streak. They were successful in only one of the two on Saturday afternoon.
With Jared Stahel in net for the Knights and Brendan Boncore for New England, the game took a decidedly defensive start. Both teams traded zones in the first half of the frame, mounting just a handful of opportunities on net. The Knights slowly turned the tide as the period progressed, mounting consistent pressure but were denied on multiple quality chances by Boncore.
The game’s first goal wasn’t found until 16:51. New Knights forward Tyler Watungwa carried the puck in on the rush, circling behind the net through contact before finding Rhett Padgett. Padgett fed Josh Edwards,who threw a puck to Tyler Nielsen who flipped a backhand shot over the shoulder of Boncore to build a 1-0 lead.
The second period would follow a similar pattern to the first; the Knights largely carried play and generated multiple grade-A looks, only to be turned away by Boncore. An added wrinkle was each side’s failure to score on a pair of power plays each, with the Knights also being denied by Boncore on a penalty shot.
The scoreless stretch was finally broken after Matt Needleman put an awkwardly-bouncing puck on goal from behind the net, which leaked by Stahel through traffic in front. Andre Gulbrandsen and DJ Schwenke were credited on the game-tying assists 14:24 into the period.
Despite the frustration that comes with goal-tending and bad bounces, the Knights did not relent in the third. They continued to generate steady pressure, but Boncore would continue to answer all chances generated. Finally, after a Knights penalty at 7:51, the Wolves created their first lead, when Aleck Forcier ripped a faceoff win from the blue line past the glove of a screened Stahel, just five seconds into the power play (Needleman).
The Knights would again respond to the setback with further offensive zone time and chances, but again and again Boncore, along with the swift clears of New England’s defense, held Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at bay. With the net empty in the final minute, the Knights took a costly slashing penalty to force Jared Stahel back into the crease. The Wolves were able to grind out the remaining time without further issue, earning themselves their eighth win of the season.
The Knights will look to bounce back tomorrow afternoon against the Vermont Lumber Jacks. The game will start at 1:45 pm EST and will be broadcast on hockeytv.com. Follow @WBSKnightsEHL on Twitter and visit easternhockeyleague.org for live updates!