Tag Archives: Mick Heneghan

EHL Preview: Knights Look to Keep Rolling with Busy Week Ahead

Photo Credit: Jessica Kovalcin

With three games on the docket this week, the Knights are focused on keeping their hot streak alive and well as the season winds into February. Winners of nine of their last 10 games, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is the current occupant of third place in the Mid-Atlantic division and fifth place in the South Conference. The top six teams in each of the EHL’s two conferences advance to the playoffs scheduled for just over a month away.

“We have to keep playing with emotion,” said Knights head coach Josh Fusco. “I think the biggest thing is the compete level. We’re coming off a good weekend.”

In a two-game series with the New York Bobcats Royals, the Knights picked up a pair of shutouts and four points to keep pace in a competitive South.

“The biggest thing was the compete level-knowing what was at stake all the time with the standings being real tight, playoff implications on the line every day,” said Fusco. “We played good hockey in all three zones both days. I think the backcheck was the best it’s ever been. Our penalty kill was phenomenal-our power play was much, much better so I think we can see the progress there.”

The Knights defense held the Bobcats Royals to just 26 shots on goal, while increasing their season shutout total from one to three. The team was also a perfect 7-for-7 on the penalty kill while registering two shorthanded goals.

“Overall we’ve been stressing to get the puck to the net, to shoot the puck,” said Fusco of his team’s efforts on the other end of the ice. “I thought our defense did a tremendous job of doing that. Our forwards did a tremendous job getting there, generating rebounds and making chances happen. The biggest thing at the end of the day was that we were able to capitalize on their breakdowns and miscues.”

Scoring Leaders Over Last 10 Games
Player G A TP
#11 Jake Fuss, F 9 10 19
#27 Nate Chuckran, F 4 6 10
#14 Tyler Watungwa, F 6 3 9
#2 William Case, D 1 7 8
#10 Nick Peck, D 4 4 8
#18 Alex Morawski, F 3 5 8
#20 Austin Weber, F 2 6 8

The Knights are just three points behind this weekend’s opponent, New York Applecore for the fourth seed in the South, but will start competition this week with a meeting against the owners of the EHL’s best record, the Philadelphia Revolution.

“We’re excited for this Revolution game,” said Fusco. “It’s another chance for two big points. That’s what we’re stressing in practice, when we’re on the bus, and the second we step foot into their building. It’s a mentality of ‘We’re here to do a job and two points is our paycheck today.'”

The Knights are 0-4 against the Revolution this season, but haven’t met since mid-October. Philadelphia enters play today with an 8-2 record over their previous 10 contests, second only in the league to the Knights 9-1 mark in that stretch. The Revolution boast the EHL’s top-ranked offense (4.94 GPG) and second-ranked defense (1.97 GAPG).

“It’ll be a good gauge of where we’re at against a team like that,” said Fusco. “They’re on a roll, they have the league’s highest winning percentage, and they have one of the league’s most experienced rosters. We feel like we owe them. We played pretty well the last time we faced them, but we had a few too many breakdowns. Now we have a very different lineup.  The way we’re competing across the board lately, there’s no reason in my mind that we can’t beat them, so we need to go out there and get it done.  I have 100% faith in my team.”

Goaltending Last 10 Games
Player Record Minutes GAA Saves Shots Save % Shutouts
#30 Thomas Walker 5-0-0 304:34 1.97 133 143 .930 1
#31 Jared Stahel 4-1-0 257:00 1.40 95 101 .941 2
Totals 9-1-0 561:34 1.71 228 244 .934 3

Indeed, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton roster has gone through several renovations in the time elapsed. It began with Nate Chuckran coming over from the Philadelphia Junior Flyers in the middle of November.

“With Chuck-what more can you say?,” asked his head coach. “He’s hungry, he’s a competitor, he gives 110%. He’s constantly going-the kid’s got a good motor on him.”

The EHL veteran added much-needed experience to the roster while exerting his physical style of play on the ice to the tune of 17 points in the 20 games since his acquisition. His six assists on the power play has helped the Knights man-advantage catapult itself to the league’s fourth-highest success rate at 21.7%.

Unfortunately for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, they will not have him for today’s contest against the Revolution due to a one-game suspension being served for butt-ending. Despite that, Fusco looks forward to leaning heavily on his veteran forward.

“He’s been a great addition,” he said. “He’s got a lot on the line being a ’97. His play’s been showing it and his leadership has been showing it. There’s not a negative bone in his body. He’s going to be a guy who carries a big piece of the workload with the end of the season on the way.”

William Case was added to the blue line just prior to the beginning of December. The 6-4 defender has been an asset to the Knights in his own end as well as on the attack.

“Will Case brings steady, rock-solid defense on the back end,” said Fusco. “He’s starting to find his groove on offense. He’s getting more confident with the puck. He’s making plays, getting pucks going north. He’s stepped up to the plate-the expectations are at a higher level now. ”

Special Teams
Last 10 Games
PP 12 for 37 32.43%
PK 33 for 38 86.84%
Shorties 5 for, 1 Against

Like Chuckran, Case’s impact can be seen on the power play, where he has recorded four of his nine assists since joining the team. His ten total points rank him third on the Knights blue line in production despite having only played in just over a dozen games.

“He’s the go-to-guy on the power play,” said Fusco. “He’s finding ways to get the pucks through. He’s scored, but more importantly he gets the puck somewhere around the cage where we’re driving home rebounds or keeping pucks hemmed in the zone. He’s a great locker room guy. I think he’s been a great addition in that aspect. He’s a ’99, but he plays like he’s a veteran hockey player.”

The Knights next addition was one that Fusco admits he wasn’t overly familiar with initially, with forward Tyler Watungwa. The Ottawa native had spent previous seasons in the EHL before coming over to the Knights from the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League in mid-December.

“I’ll be honest and say I didn’t know a whole lot about Tyler before we picked him up,” said Fusco. “One of the reasons we added him was because he was a ’97. He was a veteran of junior hockey and we needed that in the lineup. He’s got a bigger body, he likes to muck and grind, he’s kind of a meat and potatoes guy, but he’s brought the scoring touch as well.”

The beginning of Watungwa’s Knights career couldn’t have gone much better, as he scored in six of his first seven games, recording two game-winning goals in that span. The gritty forward has been an asset to special teams as well, especially on the penalty kill.

“Tyler is probably one of the hardest working guys because he doesn’t stop, said Fusco. “He’s constantly back-checking and constantly playing the position the correct way. He moves the puck, he’s got silky hands-ever since he’s been here he’s been finding the back of the net.”

Mick Heneghan has has bounced his way back and forth between the Knights NAHL and EHL roster, but when with the latter, he’s produced well.

“Heneghan’s received some time with us from the NAHL team, said Fusco. “When he comes in for us, he steps in and fills a role. He’s a great addition. Obviously he’s had a lot of NAHL experience and he has that talent in his game. He’s another guy who’s good with the puck, plays up on the rush, and generates plays.”

In three games in January, Heneghan’s notched a game-winning goal and two assists and has played with a physical edge to accompany his puck-moving ability from the blue line.

“A guy like that who’s willing to come and help out the affiliate team, that’s big,” said Fusco. “It’s not always easy. He’s come in, worked hard and has a great attitude. He brings a lot to the table. He’s been positive the whole time. I commend him for that.”

The final acquisition and newest Knight is forward Bryan Whelan. Picked up from the Bobcats Royals in the middle of January, Fusco is happy to no longer have to scheme against a former nemesis.

“I’ve gotten to know Bryan coaching against him last year and this year,” he said. “He’s another ’97 we brought in. I compare him to a Jake Fuss and Anthony Starzi. He’s speedy, he’s got hands, he can shoot, and he’s got a knack for sticking with the puck.”

The right-handed forward came to the Knights with an already impressive 15 goals and eight assists in 29 games on the season. He’s scored in every game he’s worn a Knights sweater, picking up an additional four goals and two assists in six contests.

“He and Jake Fuss are tic-tac-toe out there,” said Fusco. “I’ve been talking to college coaches. I say ‘I know you’ve been looking at Fuss and Starzi. Well Bryan’s the same way.’ He’s a similar guy. With him, you’re bringing that speed and go-to-guy factor to the lineup. He’s another one that doesn’t stop. He’s been a welcome addition. His junior career is winding down and he wants to win a championship. That’s the mentality we want around here.”

After taking on the Revolution today in what is sure to be a measuring-stick contest, the Knights will head to back to New York to take on the team just ahead of them in the South Conference playoff seeding. Entering Wednesday, the New York Applecore are three points ahead of the Knights in the standings, good for fourth-place in the South Conference.

“Like I said, we know what’s at stake,” said Fusco. “For awhile now we’ve figured that this Applecore weekend would be a telltale sign of what’s going to shake out here at the end of the regular season. We can’t take our foot off the pedal against them. They’re a good team.”

In two prior meetings with New York, the Knights are 2-0, having won both games played between the pair at the Revolution Ice Centre in the first few weeks of the season. Still, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton won’t be content to rest on the laurels of their previous results.

Like the Revolution, the Applecore are 8-2 over their past 10 games. Like the Knights, New York will have one contest to play this week before meeting Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. After traveling to Connecticut to take on the Oilers Friday, Applecore will host the pivotal two-game Saturday-Sunday series that could play a large role in deciding the first round of match-ups in the South Conference with playoffs set to begin in March.

With their game as good as it’s been the Knights will be ready for the fights ahead.

Today’s 2:00 pm EST contest against the Philadelphia Revolution will be broadcast on hockeytv.com. You can also follow the Knights EHL twitter at @WBSKnightsEHL and visit www.easternhockeyleague.org for in-game updates. Stay tuned to www.wbsknights.com for all the latest happenings in the Knights kingdom!

EHL: Knights Battle for OT Win

After coming out on the wrong end of a 3-2 final Friday, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton went searching for a better outcome on Saturday against the East Coast Wizards. Both teams entered the day occupying third place in their divisions and fourth in their respective conferences.

The pair began on a even ground, trading goals in the opening eight minutes of the first half. Dylan Schuett struck first on a power play at 5:16, beating Knights starter Thomas Walker off the set up from Trent Pitser and Devin Panzeca. Jake Fuss answered two minutes later on a nice feed from Mick Heneghan to knot the score at one.

At 14:41, Pitsner solved Walker on a feed from Panzeca to re-take the lead. Thankful for the extra five minutes supplied by the showcase’s two halves of play, the Knights came back with a 5-on-3 power play equalizer at 21:48. Nate Chuckran pinched in from the top of the zone and through contact, willed a puck to Bryan Whelan. Finding the biscuit on the front door, Whelan ripped the puck by Wizards starting goalie Alec Marshall to once again even the contest and conclude scoring in the opening 25:00.

To start the second, the Wizards swapped out Marshall for  goalie Jordan White. The move saw no halt in East Coast’s steady play from the crease. White followed up a strong start from Marshall by blanking the Knights in the second half.

Complicating the pace of play for both sides was the repeated trade of penalties on power plays. The second half began with 4-on-4, then saw it re-occur twice as each team shortened one of their own man-advantages with an infraction. Each power play cooling off, coupled with solid goal-tending from Walker and White throttled down the pace of play in the second. Though the Knights and Wizards combined for 28 shots, not one found its way home, bringing about 3-on-3 overtime.

East Coast jumped out to a fast start in the extra period. Thomas Walker was forced to make a tremendous save in the first minute, where the goalie stoned a 2-on-1 with a sprawling, flick of the glove. Walker would finish with 29 saves on the afternoon.

After a regroup, the Knights attack pushed back to force a power play at the 1:34 marker. Given a 4-on-3 advantage, the Knights didn’t blink. In the attacking zone, Nate Chuckran again played power play hero, sliding a puck through bodies to the back door for a wide-open Rhett Padgett. The Knights defenseman buried the game-winner over White’s shoulder to send the Knights home with a 3-2 win.

With the victory, the Knights split the January showcase, and keep pace in third in the Mid-Atlantic Division and fourth place in the South Conference. Their next game will come against the New York Bobcats Royals at the Dix Hills Ice Rink on Saturday, January 27th at 7:30 pm EST. Tune in on hockeytv.com and stay tuned to www.wbsknights.com for news and updates!

EHL Recap: Knights Beat Oilers for Fifth-Straight Win

Photo: Jessica Kovalcin

On Saturday the Knights hosted the Connecticut Oilers in game one of two on the weekend. With positioning in the South Conference on the line, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton didn’t misstep in their second contest of the new year.

With Jared Stahel in net once more, the Knights were bolstered early by the Texas netminder’s steady play in the crease. 11 first-period saves allowed the Knights forecheck to mount 11 of their own chances on goal, with Alex Morawski notching the lone tally of the opening frame at 7:35. On a power play, the Florida-native buried his ninth goal of the year off helpers from Tyler Nielsen and William Case.

Mick Heneghan kept the the offense rolling in the first five minutes of the second period. The Knights defenseman potted his first tally with the EHL team when Denys Arkhypenko found him off a solid sequence initiated by Austin Weber.

Connecticut would finally answer when a power play opportunity arose from the Knights lone penalty of the second period. At 14:29 Tim Lopez fed Fabian Zuccarello who in turn found Val Sverdlov to cut the deficit in half.

Holding strong into the third, the Knights put the game to bed with three more goals, two coming in the period’s first four minutes. Cody Rumsey and Tyler Nielsen combined to set up Tyler Watungwa for his third goal of his Knights career at 1:32. The Ottawa native now has an active five-game point streak, and has scored in all but one game with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Austin Weber followed suit just two minutes later when he bested Connecticut goalie Olof Djurberg for the Knights 4-1 lead (Heneghan, Jake Fuss). Following a scoreless stretch of over 15 minutes, Cole Wenner, fed by Zach Ouladelhadjahmed, picked up his first goal of the season in the form of a shorthanded, empty-netter to move the Knights ahead 5-1. The score would remain through the final horn, cementing the Knights fifth-straight win, their 15th on the season.

A potent Wilkes-Barre/Scranton out-shot Connecticut 42-28, with Jared Stahel back-stopping the Knights defense with 27 saves in his 7th win of the year. With a one-point lead on fourth place in the South Conference, the Knights will look for their sixth-consecutive victory tomorrow morning with a rematch against the Oilers set for 10:30 am EST. Tune in at hockeytv.com, follow along on Knights social media, or come to the Revolution Ice Centre to watch the game in person, free of charge!

Knights Rally in Third to Down Tomahawks

Looking to get back in the win column following a Sunday overtime loss, the Knights turned their eyes toward the Johnstown Tomahawks Friday night. In their first meeting of the year, the Knights looked to flip the script following a 2016-17 head-to-head dominated by the Tomahawks.

After a gridlocked first period, the Knights found the twine just before the 18:00 mark when Mick Heneghan made a savvy pass under the goal line to a waiting Jack Olmstead who put the biscuit home from the back post of Johnstown netminder Vinnie Purpura. The goal saw both Mick Heneghan and Shay Donovan pick up their first points with the Knights on the helpers.

The Tomahawks responded quickly, breaking a Knights 16-for-16 streak on the penalty kill with a power play goal at 19:26 off the stick of Samuel Solensky, assisted by Karim Del Ponte.

A 1-1 score didn’t survive the first five minutes of the second period. Jack Olmstead struck again off a flurry of Knights rebound-producing shots from Lincoln Hatten and Tyrone Bronte, with both picking up assists on the play at 4:34.

Johnstown would again respond, tying the game at 10:18 when Roman Kraemer took a Carter Dwyer feed and put it past Knights goalie Christian Stoever. The Tomahawks kept pressuring and off a turnover, Mitchell Hale worked his way in behind the Knights defense on a breakaway. He was hooked in the effort and awarded a penalty shot which he fired past Stoever to give the Tomahawks their first lead at 15:28.

During a wild-trade of penalties in the final minutes of the second frame, Shay Donovan tallied his first goal of the year on a top-shelf snipe during 3-on-3 play (Reed Robinson). The Tomahawks came right back with a 4-on-4 goal from Joe Kile, giving him a team-best 6 on the season (Chris Trouba, Brendan White) to take a 4-3 lead to close out the period.

Facing a one-goal deficit entering the third has become an all-too-familiar scenario for the Knights, but while they’d like to face it far less-often, the team has become accustomed to finding the equalizer. Justin Engelkes did just that 43 seconds into the period, following a deflected shot off the stick of Tomas Koblizek which found its way straight to the aforementioned Miami University commit, who fired it past Purpura to even the game at 4. Anthony Firriolo earned his first point with the Knights on the secondary assist.

After a back-and-forth 15 minutes, it appeared the the Tomahawks re-gained the lead following a Hunter Carrick shot from the right circle that bested Stoever. Instead, the goal was disallowed after it was ruled that Stoever kicked the net off its moorings, resulting in a 2:00 delay of game penalty but no goal. The Knights killed the ensuing penalty and moved to the attack.

Jack Olmstead completed a hat trick in dramatic fashion after Tyrone Bronte set him up on a 2-on-1, putting the Knights ahead 5-4 at 18:47. Before the Tomahawks could pull their goalie, Adrian Danchenko forced a turnover inside Johnstown territory and ripped a shot past Purpura to provide the game-sealing insurance.

With the 6-4 win, the Knights keep pace in the third spot of the East division, moving to 7-3-2 on the season. They’ll play the Tomahawks again tonight at 7:30 pm. The game will be broadcast on hockeytv.com, while in-game updates will be provided via Knights social media:

Twitter and Instagram: @wbsknights

Facebook: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights Hockey

 

NAHL: Knights Trade for Defenseman Mick Heneghan

The Knights kicked off the week with a transaction, picking up defenseman Mick Heneghan from the Lone Star Brahmas. Heneghan, a ’99 birth year from Niles, Illinois stood out last season as a member of the Chicago Young American 18U  program. In 64 games at the midget level, he produced 10 goals and 30 assists.

“I’ve watched his game for some time now,” said Knights Assistant GM, Justin Schreiber. “He’s a good two-way defenseman. He’s a smart puck-mover with good vision and adds a mean streak to our blue line.”

Knights head coach Tom Kowal added to the sentiment, praising the balance his new blue-liner brings.

“You look at our defensive corps right now and we have a bunch of right-handed defensemen,” he said. “He brings a left shot to our blue line. He brings a little bit of experience with junior hockey coming from the Lone Star Brahmas.”

In five games with the defending Robertson Cup champions, Heneghan scored one goal, a game-winner, in his NAHL debut against the Shreveport Mudbugs on September 15th. He also picked a goal in preseason action for the team.

“It’s a little bit of a shakeup-we’re a little light on our defense right now and this adds a seventh defenseman. Our scouting department has very good things to say about Mick. We’re looking forward to seeing him battle this week in practice and hopefully earn a spot in our lineup Friday night.”

The Knights defense currently ranks in the top ten in the NAHL with a goal’s against average of 2.80 through eight games played. Heneghan will have the opportunity to lend his talent to the cause this weekend as the Knights will take on the Northeast Generals on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in a three-game home series. Stay tuned to Knights social media and www.wbsknights.com for more info on all three contests throughout the week!