Tag Archives: Matt Wiesner

Power Play and Goaltending Spur Knights to Victory

Game number 56 for the Knights was their final meeting with the Northeast Generals in the 2017-18 regular season. A regulation win would provide a solid, five-point cushion for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton over the fourth place Generals, and leave the potential for the Knights to be tied for second place by Sunday’s end.

After an evenly-fought OT thriller on Saturday, both teams returned to the ice determined to clinch the weekend series Sunday. The Knights again found themselves shorthanded in the wake of injuries up and down their roster. For the second-straight night, they dressed just 17 skaters with only four being defensemen.

A fast-moving first period provided a nearly even exchange of chances for either side. The Knights tested David Fessenden, Friday’s winning goalie for Northeast, with 12 first period shots. He stopped them all. David Tomeo, in net for the second-straight game for the Knights, likewise denied his former team on all 14 shots sent his way.

The quiet first gave way to a busy second. After each team killed one penalty apiece in the opening 20 minutes, special teams dominated the middle frame. Just 14 seconds in, the Knights took a slashing penalty. The issue was further compounded when they were called for too many men on the ice with 34 seconds remaining on the initial penalty. Using the 5-on-3 to build momentum, the Generals would eventually cash in, when Matt Wiesner deflected a point shot from the returning Colin Bilek to the twine with just 33 seconds remaining on the second penalty. Louis Boudon collected the secondary assist on the score.

The Knights didn’t wait long to answer. On a  5-on-3 of their own, Curtis Carlson slid a puck over to Tom Farrell, who found an open Mike Morrissey on the back circle, where the assistant captain ripped a puck by a Jack Olmstead-screened Fessenden to even the score at one.

The afterglow didn’t have much time to sink in however, as before the second penalty expired, the Generals rained on the Knights parade. Following a shorthanded, offensive zone faceoff win, Justin Jallen found himself with space in front of Tomeo off slick feeds Colin McCabe and Brian Chambers. Jallen peppered a shot under the bar with such velocity that it utterly destroyed Tomeo’s water bottle. Perhaps motivated by vengeance, Tomeo locked down and elevated what was already a solid performance from that point on.

For their part, the Knights offense again rebounded swiftly. During a rare stretch of even play in the second, Jake Fuss flipped a bouncing puck to Tom Farrell on the right point. Farrell’s shot made its way into traffic in front of Fessenden, where Curtis Carlson found it and pushed it home to knot the game at 10:09.

For the remaining half of the period, both Fessenden (33 saves) and Tomeo answered building offensive chances with one strong save after another. At the end of 40 minutes, the contest was locked in a very even 2-2 score.

In the third, a failed power play followed up by a major penalty would doom Northeast. At 12:20 Reed Robinson would be boarded in neutral ice, sending the Knights to a 5:00 power play. Robinson would get his revenge three and a half minutes later, when Joey Verkerke’s point shot, set up by Mike Morrissey, split the penalty killers for the Generals. Gabe Temple and Robinson converged on Fessenden, with the latter finding and slamming it by the massive goalie for the Knights first lead.

Tyrone Bronte followed up Robinson’s goal with a key interception of the Generals last clearing effort on the major. As the Generals man stepped out of the penalty box, Bronte threaded the turnover to a crashing Jack Olmstead, who put the puck through the pads of Fessenden to jump ahead 4-2.

With time winding down, the Generals would empty their net to try and erase the two-goal deficit. The Knights aided the Northeast cause by committing what was deemed elbowing with 53 seconds to go. Northeast swarmed through the attacking zone for the remainder of regulation but were denied again and again in short succession by Tomeo. The ’99 netminder put a cap on the contest and his second-straight win with a highlight reel glove save at the horn. Tomeo’s 35 saves on 37 shots, gave him a 2-0 record on the weekend, with a sterling 70 saves on 73 shots, good for a .959 save percentage, and a 1.50 goal’s against average.

The Knights will conclude their home portion of the regular season next weekend with two meetings against the New Jersey Titans, the team currently tied with the Knights for second place in the East Division (pending this afternoon’s results in their game against the Johnstown Tomahawks). Stay tuned to www.wbsknights.com and Knights social media throughout the week for all news and team content!

 

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!

NAHL: Knights Top Generals to Take Game 2 of 3

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!