Tag Archives: NAHL

NAHL: Knights Close Alaska Trip with Loss to Fairbanks

On Saturday night, the Knights met the Fairbanks Ice Dogs for the fourth and final time in the 2017-18 regular season, looking for their first victory against a team riding a 20-game winning streak.

The Ice Dogs struck quickly in a relatively quiet first period that saw just 12 combined shots on net. At 6:51 Tanner Schachle continued his successful season by putting his 22nd goal past Knights starter David Tomeo, coming off assists from Grant Ledford and Connor Chilton. Fairbanks backcheck allowed little to develop for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for the remainder of period with Logan Neaton keeping the Knights three shots at bay.

Early in the second, it appeared the Knights would finally get their offense going when Jack Olmstead danced his way into the Ice Dogs zone before setting up Tom Farrell for a backhanded goal. After deliberation, the officials proceeded to disallow the score, stating that the net had come off its moorings.

Fairbanks didn’t blink. Samuel Ruffin came right back down the ice to bury a goal past Tomeo on the ensuing shift (Daniel Haider, Jack Johnston) for a 3-0 lead at 3:12. John Stampohar added to the advantage with another tally just over three minutes later off assists from Robert Blueger and the aforementioned Schachle.

The Knights would finally catch a break when Mike Morrissey would set up Adrian Danchenko who in turn  threaded a perfect, home-run pass to Reed Robinson for a breakaway just under a minute later. Robinson would drive all the way in on Neaton and then put home his own rebound to cut the score to 3-1.

Fairbanks did not allow any further momentum, as their offense came  back on a power play dart from Robert Blueger at 13:09 (Kyle Mayhew, Schachle). Before the Knights could leave the period to regroup, Jack Johnston, set up by Ruffin and Jax Murray, poked a wraparound by Tomeo for the 5-1 advantage.

In the third Connor Chilton would strike early to put a damper on any hopes of a Knights rally. Chilton bested the Knights defense as he shook off heavy traffic in front to flip a puck home at 5:15 (Vanska, Schachle).

Anthony Firriolo wouldn’t go down quietly as he buried a power play goal set up by Jack Olmstead and Curtis Carlson at 6:05, his second of the season. If there was one silver lining on the weekend for the Knights, it was that they were able to turn in a 3/8 (37.5%) performance against the NAHL’s best penalty kill.

Jack Johnston picked up his second goal of the contest just over a minute later with helpers coming from Murray and Ruffin.

At the final horn the Knights left the rink on the wrong end of a 7-2 loss. They’ll look to bounce back with a road series in Johnstown next weekend to close out February before seven of their players and head coach Tom Kowal head to the NAHL’s Top Prospect Tournament to close out the month.

To stay up to date with all Knights news and happenings, stay tuned to www.wbsknights.com, www.nahl.com, and follow Knights social media on Facebook, (WBS Knights Hockey) Twitter, and Instagram (@wbsknights)!

 

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!

NAHL: Seven Knights Named To Top Prospects Tournament

On Monday afternoon, the NAHL announced the rosters for its annual top prospects tournament. Seven of the Knights players made the cut, tied for the second-highest mark in the league, with NAHL Head Coach Tom Kowal being named as assistant to the East Division’s team. That team will carry four Knights players while the at large  White team will have three.

“Our purpose has always been preparing and helping our players onto the next level of hockey,” said Kowal. “Sending seven guys this year feels good. It says a lot about the hard work and talent each of them brings to the rink every day, and it gives us an opportunity to showcase them to college and professional scouts. At the same time it provides a nice incentive to the rest of our guys who are eligible next year as well.”

Team East Division (Orange Color):
#2, Tom Farrell, Defenseman, 3-13-16, 40 GP:

Farrell is the Knights leading point-scorer along the blue line and has secured his place as a regular starter atop the team’s defensive pairs.

“Tom has walked into this organization and has proved to be every bit the player we hoped he was when he tendered with us last year,” said Kowal. “He brings great energy both on the ice and in our dressing room. His top-level skating makes him a really good puck-mover. He has really helped spark our offense this year while also being a steady player on our end of the ice.”

#11 Curtis Carlson, Forward, 15-13-28, 41 GP:

The Knights captain has been an asset to the team this season, using his rare speed to be a threat in all situations. The ‘97 has been present in all phases, particularly on special teams. Carlson leads the Knights, scoring five goals and four assists between the power play and penalty kill.

“Curtis is a guy who’s been here dating back a few years now, and it’s impressive how he continues to make strides as a player,” said Kowal. “His speed is obvious, but he’s a savvy veteran. His work ethic translates both on and off the ice and is a big reason why he’s developed into one of our best players. He’s our captain because he leads by example. He leaves it all on the ice.”

#12 Mike Morrissey, Forward, 9-11-20, 42 GP:

One of the Knights most tenured players is Bethlehem, PA native, Mike Morrissey. He’ll be heading to his first Top Prospects Tournament after putting together an impressive 42 games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this year.

“Mike Morrissey is a tone-setter,” said Kowal. “He’s a guy who plays with a lot of grit-he takes the blood and sweat part of playing hockey literally-and when we need a big shift or faceoff win, we’re comfortable calling his number. He’s a really smart center who’s worked his bag off to be one our most versatile players.”

#16 Matt Kidney, Forward, 13-24-37, 42 GP:

After leading the team in scoring last year, Kidney finds himself in a familiar position, tied atop the points list with Knights rookie phenom Jack Olmstead through just over two-thirds of the season. The 2018 tournament marks his second trip as an NAHL top prospect.

“We made Matt Kidney our first-round pick in 2016 because of what he brings with to the ice with his hockey sense,” recalled Kowal. “He’s a guy who gets our offense going. He’s quick, he’s got good hands and a knack to find the puck and create chances. He’s not the biggest guy, but he brings a good compete level to the game.”

Team Selects-White:

#7 Adrian Danchenko, Forward, 9-13-22, 36 GP:

Still one of the younger players on the Knights roster, Adrian Danchenko is one of the Knights more tenured players dating back to his 16U days. The dekes and dangles he’s compiled in his time with the program dot highlight reels, but he brings a well-rounded game to any roster.

“Adrian is a ‘99 who’s still just scratching the surface,” said Kowal. “He’s improved every year we’ve had him. He’s been a constant for us this season. He can grind out tough shifts but also pull off some truly special plays. He’s been a threat no matter who his line mates are or what the in-game situation is.”

#27 Luke Robinson, Defenseman, 0-14-14, 37 GP:

After playing in one game with the Knights last season, Luke Robinson returned full time to establish himself among the Knights talented group of defensemen.

“As a 2000, Luke has shown us a lot,” said Kowal. “He’s a big guy who’s steady for us in our own zone, but he’s done a nice job continuing to develop his offensive game. He’s distributing the puck well and consistently making smart plays. He’s added another reliable member to our blue line.

#28 Justin Engelkes, Forward, 8-8-16, 37 GP:

As a 17-year old, Justin Engelkes has broken into the NAHL with a solid rookie campaign. The forward was the Knights second-round draft pick and has already committed to the Miami University of Ohio.

“Justin has established himself as a two-way player who has the necessary toughness to play in this league and beyond,” said his head coach. “I think he’s come along nicely. He’s got good size and likes to go to work down low and on the boards. He’s a guy that’s tough to move off the puck, and he’s shown us the ability to score as well. He’s got even more to offer and it’s exciting to see him unlock his game.”

From NAHL.com

The number of players each NAHL team is sending to the tournament, in which four teams from the four NAHL divisions: Central, East, Midwest and South and two NAHL Selects teams, will each play in two game games, was based on each team’s winning percentage within their group as of February 5, 2018.
One of the things the NAHL does better than any other junior league is seeing their players earn an NCAA opportunity while playing and being showcased in the NAHL.

To date, 153 players have already made NCAA Division I commitments during the 2017-18 season. The NAHL Top Prospects Tournament plays a big role in that success, with over half of the players who played in last year’s Top Prospects Tournament, earning an NCAA Division I opportunity following their participation in the event. The event continues to provide the hundreds of NHL and NCAA scouts in attendance with a look at the best uncommitted players the NAHL has to offer, as well as, some potential NHL Draft picks.

2018 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament Schedule (subject to change, all times eastern)

Tuesday, February 27th
1:00pm: Midwest Division vs. NAHL Selects Red
4:00pm: South Division vs. East Division
7:00pm: Central Division vs. NAHL Selects White

Wednesday, February 28th
11:00am: NAHL Selects Red vs. South Division
2:00pm: Central Division vs. Midwest Division
5:00pm: NAHL Selects White vs. East Division

Can’t make the game? Catch your Knights on www.hockeytv.com where each game will be available via live broadcast! Stay tuned to www.wbsknights.com and Knights social media-Facebook: WBS Knights Hockey, Twitter: @WBSKnights-for all Knights Top Prospect Tournament Updates!

 

Weekend Recap: Knights Split Series with Kenai River

As the Knights began their two week trip to Alaska, the team went searching for the success that had eluded them for the majority of January and early February. Their third head-to-head with the Brown Bears marked their first trip to the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex this season. It began well: Knights captain Curtis Carlson buried his 14th goal of the season off assists from Matt Kidney and Anthony Firriolo seven and a half minutes into the contest.

The first period carried on without further scoring despite two power plays for the Brown Bears. Knights starter David Tomeo brought his a-game to the crease as he stopped all shots sent his way in an evenly played first.

It would be Kenai River to come out swinging in the second. Filip Karlsson tied the game at 6:59 with assists from Gil Garcia and Lukas Millen. Gavin Enright hunkered down in net for the Brown Bears, as the ’99 birth year kept the Knights off the board for the better part of the period.

Sutton McDonald would score next for Kenai River, supplying their first lead at 16:43, with Michael Spethmann and Luke Posner credited with the helpers on the score. The Knights would get the goal back less than two minutes later when Tomas Koblizek found Gabe Temple for his fourth marker of the year.

In the third, Mike Gelatt would find the back of the net to retake the lead for the Knights just 2:27 in. Kenai River would redouble their efforts to try to find the equalizer, mounting 16 shots on goal in the period, but David Tomeo didn’t blink.

Through two penalty kills and a chippy finish to game one, the Knights held on to kick off their road trip with a win. Elemental to the victory were the Knights strong penalty kill and Tomeo’s steadiness in net, recording 32 saves on 34 shots.

In Saturday’s rematch, the Knights would again jump out to a quick start. Luke Robinson and Curtis Carlson would find Matt Kidney, who bested former Knights goalie Kevin Lake at 1:01. The Brown Bears wouldn’t rest easy with the deficit, scoring just one minute later when David Kaplan fired a heavy wrist shot by Knights starter David Tomeo to even the score (Markuss Komuls, Cameron McDonald). The Carlson line struck back at 4:02, when Carlson drove in and fired a puck past Lake for the 2-1 lead (Engelkes, Kidney).

An eventful first half of the opening period would be capped off by Joe Rosa’s power play goal at 8:02. After killing off all six power plays in game one, the Knights penalty kill struggled to get back on track Saturday. Former Knight defenseman Markuss Komuls made a nice play to keep the zone before firing the puck to the net. Michael Spethmann pushed a puck off Tomeo’s pads before Joe Rosa put the bouncing puck home to tie the game at two. The goal brought Christian Stoever on in relief of Tomeo.

Early in the second, the Knights forecheck would begin dictating tempo and forcing odd-man rushes. Two and a half minutes into the period, Jack Olmstead handed the puck to Tyrone Bronte who fed a perfect stretch pass to Mike Gelatt to create an odd-man break. Gelatt finished the rush by burying the puck by Lake for the 3-2 lead.

Again the Brown Bears would answer quickly, and again on the power play. Cameron McDonald and Filip Karlsson created a rebound in front of Stoever that Gil Garcia eventually shoveled home to once again even the score.

For the remainder of regulation, the Knights would continually force the issue in the offensive zone and off the rush. Again and again they would be turned away by Lake, who made 24 saves on 25 shots over the final two periods of play, staring down multiple odd-man rushes in the process.

Stoever, for his part, turned away 29 of 30 through the remainder of the contest. As regulation proved inconclusive, 3-on-3 overtime brought with it an abundance of chances on the Soldotna’s Olympic-sized sheet. Both Stoever and Lake traded grade-a saves to force the shootout.

Lake stopped Justin Engelkes and Curtis Carlson in rounds one and two, while Stoever denied his first challenger in Emils Ezitis. Sacha Guillemain squeezed a puck through in round two, forcing the onus on Matt Kidney to try and force a bottom of the third. Lake stopped him to secure the shootout win and the second point.

With the weekend split, the Knights did come away with three out of four points. They’ll look to continue their recent success with a road trip to Fairbanks next weekend. Stay tuned to www.wbsknights.com and Knights social media (Facebook: WBS Knights Hockey, Twitter and Instagram @WBSKnights) for all news and updates!

Jake Fuss Advances to the NAHL

Jake Fuss has been made a permanent member of the Knights NAHL roster this week, as the team prepares for its Alaska road trip. Fuss, the former captain of the Knights EHL team, is fresh off scoring his 100th goal with the Knights organization this past weekend.

“It’s a testament to Jake and the Knights program,” said NAHL head coach Tom Kowal. “I have a front row seat to seeing the EHL team practice each and every day. It gives the players an opportunity to climb the junior hockey ladder. Jake’s a great example of that.”

Fuss and several EHL teammates have been regulars in NAHL practice this year, and both he and forward Tyler Nielsen have played in games at the Tier-II level with the Knights.

“Whenever we get the chance to improve we take it,” said Kowal. “It’s really gratifying, and something we strive for when we can promote someone from within our own organization. We have a great staff here. Josh Fusco does a great job not only putting together a winning hockey team, but also preparing his players for the next level.”

“I feel pretty good,” said Fuss after being told of his promotion. “I was up here a bit last year and this year. From training camp on, a lot of hard work went into getting to this point. It’s good to be up here with the boys.”

Fuss has been a member of the Knights for the past two seasons, playing tier-III in both the NA3AHL last season, and the EHL this year. He’s played in seven NAHL game’s as an affiliated player in that same span.

“The NAHL’s different from the EHL,” said Fuss. “Guys prepare more, it’s a lot faster. I think it’ll take a bit to adjust to the speed, but it’s going to be a good test for where I’m at.”

Fuss will be departing an EHL Knights team that has hit its stride over the past two months, going 10-2-1 since mid-December. He’s confident that they won’t miss a beat.

“They’re in good shape,” he said. “I want to thank them for helping me get to this point. They’re going to be fine without me, they just have to keep working. I think me making it up to the next level is a positive for them. Anthony Starzi and I have both made the jump up this year. It shows that the sky’s the limit if they buckle down and work hard and do the right things. I really want to thank coach Fusco for all the coaching he’s given me over the last two years to help get me to this point.”

“Jake’s a special player,” said Knights EHL head coach Josh Fusco. “All the stats, awards, and recognition he gets-a lot of guys would get cocky-he doesn’t. I’ve coached him for nearly two years now; he’s a very humble person and one of the nicest kids you could ever meet off the ice. He’s brought outstanding leadership as the captain of our team. He motivated our guys to follow our game plan and led by example both in and out of the rink. He’s really stepped up.”

With his full transition to tier-II underway, Fuss is excited to get to work, but focused on his new team, and helping them to achieve their ultimate goal.

“I think the most satisfying thing is just knowing this isn’t just a call up, it’s not just a taste,” he said. “I know I’m up here now as a member of this team. It’ll let me be more comfortable around the guys. My main goal, just like everybody is to make run for a Robertson Cup. I’m focused on doing my best at working hard and helping to get us out of this little bit of a slump we’re in.”

Fuss joins the Knights in their next NAHL action as the team heads to Alaska for the next two weeks. They’ll look to snap a four-game skid that’s seen them go 0-2-2 as they try to maintain 2nd place in the NAHL’s competitive East division.

“Jake does things the right way,” said Kowal. “He adds talent to our line up, but more importantly he brings the right mindset. He’s impossible not to notice. Our organization’s purpose is to advance players to the next level of hockey, and when a player goes out and works his bag off and helps his team every day, that’s impossible for us to ignore. We’re here at the rink, and we’re always looking for standout performers. Jake Fuss proved that to us, and that’s what being a Knights is all about. We’re happy to have him aboard.”

”At the end of the day, that’s what we’re here for,” added Fusco. “Jake came here with a goal. He’s a competitor and hockey player. He wanted reach the top level of this organization.  He stuck to the grindstone and worked hard every day to make it happen. What’s great about it is that he’s still a Knight. He’s still just down the hall. I’ll still see him out at practice, I still get the chance to work with him, and at the end of the day, I couldn’t be happier for Jake. He and I have become pretty close, and to see him succeed puts a smile on my face. He’s a guy I’ll tell stories about for the rest of my life.”

Catch Fuss and the Knights in their next action on Friday, February, 9th against the Kenai River Brown Bears! Puck drop is 11:30 pm EST and 7:30 pm AKST with the game available online at hockeytv.com!

Stay tuned to Knights Social Meida-Facebook (WBS Knights Hockey), Twitter and Instagram (@WBSKnights)-and visit www.wbsknights.com for all news and updates!

NAHL: Knights Swept By Titans, Salvage Point in OT

Entering Friday night, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights were looking to get off a three-game losing streak and bounce back from a home loss to New Jersey. They would have their opportunity for revenge with a road trip to the Titans home at the Middletown Ice World Arena.

Following a lopsided, high-scoring affair Thursday, tempers were high in a testy first period of play. Six power plays were assessed-four for the Knights and two for the Titans, but neither side could take advantage as David Tomeo and Brandon Perrone did their part to put goose eggs on the board.

Following a slow start that saw the Titans take the lion’s share of shots to begin the game, the Knights used their power plays to draw nearly even on offensive chances in the first period. The team used the momentum to come out with a fast pace in the middle frame.

In a period that they out-shot New Jersey 14-8, the Knights forecheck was finally rewarded at 8:54.  Generating a two-on-one rush, Mike Gelatt led Jack Olmstead to the net, where Olmstead buried his 19th tally of the season to put his team up 1-0.

After dictating the second, the Knights saw play even out in the third. Tomeo and Perrone traded strong saves in a hotly contested period. Though each side would go 0-6 on the man advantage on the evening, the Titans would find gold at the expiration of their fifth power play.

Set up by Jimmy Dowd Jr. and Ryan Naumovski as the Knights returned a man to the ice, Ryan Wheeler ripped a puck from the top of the slot, past Tomeo to tie the game at one at 12:48.

The Knights would have their opportunities to re-take the lead, but would be foiled late in the frame. The first was a three-on-one, even-strength rush stopped by Brandon Perrone. On the Knights final penalty kill with under 2:00 to play in regulation, the Titans netminder would again stymie Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, this time on a shorthanded two-on-one.

Three-on-three overtime would follow 60 minutes of play, as the Knights attempted to avoid being swept by a division opponent for the second consecutive weekend.  After a brief trade of zones David Tomeo (35 saves on the night) would come up with the save of the evening on a glove robbery of Ryan Naumovski on a breakaway.

The victory was short-lived however, as on the ensuing faceoff, Naumovski won the draw, charged ahead around the back of the net, and stuffed a backhand wraparound home for the New Jersey win.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s search for a bounce back will resume next weekend in Alaska when the team travels to Kenai River for a two-game set on February 9th and 10th. Both games will be played at 11:30 pm EST/7:30 pm AKST and will be available on hockeytv.com. Stay tuned to www.wbsknights.com and Knights social media for all team news and updates!

NAHL: Knights Drop Home Contest Against Titans

Matinee hockey came to the Revolution Ice Centre on Thursday, as the Knights hosted an intra-division game against the  New Jersey Titans. Both teams entered play on losing streaks, looking to start February off on a better foot.

New Jersey would be the first to find their ground on the afternoon as Hunter Alden fired a puck by Knights starter Christian Stoever at 10:07. Todd Goehring and Holden Biebel recorded assists on the game’s first goal.

Less than a minute later Matthew Cameron corralled a bouncing puck in the slot and ripped it home to build a 2-0 lead (Spencer Stanley). At 15:49 Cameron Kuhl found Tyler Antonucci at the top of his own zone where the latter fired a breakaway pass to Ryan Naumovski. Naumovski broke free to bury the Titans third goal.

In the second, Naumovski continued rolling when he and Nick Boyagian came into the Knights zone on an odd-man rush. Keeping the puck, Naumovski buried his second goal of the game at 11:04. The score brought about a change in net for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton as David Tomeo came on for Stoever.

The Titans would score their fifth tally at 15:38 when Kyle Jeffers found a rebound off Tomeo’s initial sprawling save for the tap-in goal (Naumovski, Antonucci).

Anthony Firriolo finally put the Knights on the board, firing a puck from the corner off a body in front of Titans goalie Brandon Perrone. The puck deflected to the net with 2:30 remaining in the period, marking Firriolo’s first goal with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Matthew Kidney and Jack Olmstead would pick up helpers on the score,

Justin Engelkes would keep the Knights alive at the start of the third when he picked up his eighth goal of the year just 2:08 into the frame (Firriolo, Bronte). Engelkes hammered a rebound off Perrone’s pads, and before the goalie could reset, Engelkes flipped the puck to the twine.

The Titans would get the tally back at 7:07 when Todd Goehring, after quick passing from Hunter Alden and Kyler Head, raced in off the rush and fired a wrister past Tomeo.

The Knights would pull Tomeo for an extra attacker with under 5:00 to go to try and spark some momentum in the attacking end. After Perrone and the Titans defense were able to keep the Knights forecheck at bay for a pair of shifts, Holden Biebel cleared the zone to Matthew Cameron. Cameron would get down the ice to pick up his second goal of the contest to put the game to bed at 17:53.

With a 7-2 final, the Knights will look to bounce back with another contest this evening in New Jersey. Puck drop is set for 7:45 pm EST, and the game can be viewed on hockeytv.com. Visit the Knights twitter account @WBSKnights and check www.nahl.com for in-game updates!

Knights Agree to Tender with ’01 Defenseman Greg Japchen

Greg Japchen became the latest in a line of talented prospects to sign on for the Knights 2018-19 campaign. The 2001-born defenseman agreed to a tender that was finalized today. Already committed to the University of Nebraska-Omaha (NCAA DI-NCHC) Japchen has drawn the attention of the hockey world for his highly-valued skillset.

“I’m a puck-moving defenseman,” said Japchen of his playing style. “I can skate the puck up ice and and I have the speed to make plays.”

“Greg is a highly-skilled defenseman that sees the ice extremely well,” said Knights assistant coach Andrew Whiteside. “His stick and mobility make him one of the top 2001 birth year defensemen in the nation. We are very excited to have Greg part of the Knights organization.”

A native of Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Japchen has already given the Knights a preview of his high-ceiling. The left-handed defenseman joined the team for a road contest against the Philadelphia Rebels in mid-January. He didn’t disappoint.

“I thought he played well,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal. “I think he showed us why he’s such a sought-after talent. In a game against one of our better opponents, it was exciting to see that he didn’t look out of place out there.”

“Playing with the Knights, it was easy to see they’re a quick, skilled team,” said Japchen. “They have some really fast forwards up front, and strong goal tending. The Rebels were a fast team too. They skate to the puck hard, they play a good game. Being able to play junior hockey has given me a good idea of the pace of that level. You have to be able to pick your head up and make decisions with the puck quickly. It’s helped me to get faster and improve my overall skillset.”

Japchen will finish 2017-18 with the Philadelphia Junior Flyers 16U program before preparing for next season. Through 31 games, he has recorded three goals and six assists. That does not include his game with the Knights, as well as one game in the USHL with the Omaha Lancers. The 16-year old is confident he’ll be ready for whatever opportunity comes his way.

“Over the summer I plan on getting bigger, stronger, and faster,” said the 5-11, 175 lbs defenseman. “I want to focus on skill and stick-handling-things of that nature as I work to improve my game.”

The Knights are excited to welcome Greg to the organization and look forward to following his hockey career!

NAHL: Late Rally Comes Up Short Against Tomahawks

In their return to home ice, the Knights played host to the Johnstown Tomahawks and the Boy Scouts of  Northeastern PA on the organization’s annual Scout Night. In front of a packed house, the Knights and Tomahawks put forth another gritty edition of East Division, NAHL hockey.

The Knights opened the first period by dictating the early pace. Near the 5:00 mark, Mike Morrissey fired a puck at the net of Tomahawks starter Kade Phipps. The puck found its way through for what appeared to be the game’s first goal. After an officials’ conference, the net was ruled to have come off prior to the puck crossing the goal line.

Undeterred, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton continued to supply a steady dose of chances through the first 15 minutes of play. Phipps remained up to the task as the ’98 netminder turned away all 15 shots he faced in the opening frame.

At 13:01, the Knights drew the game’s first power play. They began the advantage with good zone time in the attacking end, but fortunes turned quickly, after a blocked point shot turned into an odd-man rush for Johnstown.

Joe Kile slid a cross-ice feed, past the crease of Knights starter David Tomeo and onto Pavel Kharin, who put home a shorthanded goal at 14:24. Not content with a 1-0 lead, just over a minute later, Andy Nedeljkovic and Roman Kraemer buzzed around the Knights net, before Kraemer pushed a loose puck home to build a the Tomahawks a two-goal lead.

The middle 20:00 saw no let up in Phipp’s play in net. Along with his reflexes that robbed both Matt Kidney and Curtis Carlson of grade-A looks, Phipps was bolstered by a Tomahawks defense that blocked shots and kept the netfront clear throughout the night. Tomeo and the Knights responded in kind, limiting high quality chances, while stopping all 15 of the Tomahawks shots to keep the score locked in at 2-0.

The gridlock carried into the third, where the Knights quickly picked up two power play opportunities in the first 5:13 of the frame. Both chances were turned away with limited opportunities generated on net. The Tomahawks received a power play of their own just shy of the 13:00 mark only to be stymied by Tomeo standing on his head on three separate occasions.

Down two entering the final two minutes, the Knights relieved their goalie in favor of an extra attacker. With the added pressure supplied, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was finally able to put bodies in front of Kade Phipps. With 29 seconds to go, Matt Kidney swatted a puck out of the slot to Jack Olmstead, who rotated to the top of the zone before firing a puck off the stick of Kidney and past Phipps to pull the Knights within one.

After taking their timeout, the Knights came on the ice again with six skaters and an empty net. Though they mounted one last push in the offensive zone, blocked shots would cause the rally to fall just short as the final horn sounded.

With the win, the Tomahawks now hold a 4-3-2 record against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (5-4-0), giving both teams 10 points in the season tilt. The pair will meet again tonight at 7:30 pm EST inside the Revolution Ice Centre.

The Knights would like to thank the Boy Scouts of Northeastern PA for their outstanding attendance and passionate fanfare throughout the night, making this season’s Scout Night a resounding success. Despite the outcome on the ice not being what the team wanted, the Knights are proud to play for their local community and will look forward to continuing to support the Boy Scouts of America and the many other worthy organizations in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton region!

For all Knights news and updates, follow the Knights on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube, and visit www.wbsknights.com!

 

NAHL: Knights Settle for Weekend Split with Titans

Coming off a 5-3 win Friday night, the Knights looked to travel to New Jersey for a weekend sweep of the Titans. They were welcomed rudely by Tyler Antonucci who pushed a goal past Knights starter Christian Stoever just 27 seconds into the first period (Tate Singleton, Wade Novak).

Knights first-round pick and Michigan Tech commitment, Gabe Temple responded under three minutes later when EHL affiliate player Tyler Nielsen fed him the puck to even the score and give Nielsen his first point in his NAHL career. Tomas Koblizek recorded the secondary assist.

A trade of saves between Stoever and Titans starter Matt Ladd lasted until 14:05, when Andrew Husted scored off the set up from Gavin Gulash and Jimmy Dowd Jr. to give the Titans back the lead. The teams headed to the dressing room with 20 combined shots on goal.

In the second, the shot count would climb to 22 as each side cracked double digits, but sound penalty-killing, and solid goaltending led to a scoreless 17 minutes. Ryan Wheeler would end the drought at 17:09 with Todd Goehring serving him up his third goal of the season, building the Titans a 3-1 advantage. Wade Novak wouldn’t let the period conclude quietly, scoring unassisted with 20 seconds remaining in the middle-stanza.

Entering the third, the Knights lost a key piece of their lineup after Reed Robinson was served a five minute major and a game misconduct for checking from behind penalty just 4:21 in. The Knights would rally on the ensuing shift to score a shorthanded goal when Luke Robinson found Michael Morrisey for the score, trimming the deficit to two.

A Titans penalty halfway through the major would result in most of the remaining penalty time being spent playing 4-on-4. The Titans were able to push their fifth goal home at 7:27 when Jimmy Dowd Jr. scored via assists from Andrew Husted and Chris Garbe.

Jack Olmstead would keep the Knights afloat with his 17th goal of the season at 12:51, as Matt Kidney found his fellow winger for the duo’s fifth and sixth combined points of the weekend series.

The Titans would put any hopes of a comeback to rest less than a minute later when Kyle Jeffers scored to rebuild New Jersey’s three-goal lead (Hunter Alden, Holden Biebel).

The rest of regulation wound down without another score, handing the Knights their 11th regulation loss of the season. The team did go without allowing a power play goal on the evening, blanking a New Jersey power play unit that recorded a pair of scores the night prior. Jack Olmstead and Matt Kidney each extended their point streaks to three games, while Mike Morrissey has an active, two-game streak of his own.

The Knights will look to bounce back next weekend when they host the Johnstown Tomahawks at the Revolution Ice Centre starting Friday, January 26th at 7:30 pm for Scouts Night. Check out details for the evening devoted to the Boy Scouts of Northeast Pennsylvania here. The second game of the series will be Saturday, January 27th at 7:30 pm. Tune into both games on myhockeytv.com! Follow Knights social media and visit www.wbsknights.com to stay up to date on all news!