Tag Archives: NAHL

NAHL Recap: Knights Split Weekend with Tomahawks

On Saturday the Knights took the ice against the Johnstown Tomahawks for the fourth-consecutive meeting, and the sixth time in 2017-18. After Friday’s contest, in which the Knights forecheck and power play controlled play, game two of the weekend took a decided, defensive turn.

The first period saw each side exchange a fair number of chances, but goal tenders David Tomeo and Jack Leavy held their ground. The period’s lone tally was recorded at 4:58, when Samuel Solensky won a puck battle along the half wall and fed an open Roman Kraemer in front of Tomeo. Kramer made a quick move around the Knights starter and flipped the puck home to put Johnstown ahead by one. Carter Dwyer picked up the secondary assist.

In the second period the Tomahawks would strike again in the early going. Just prior to the 4:30 mark, Johnstown brought the puck over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton blue line with numbers. Tomeo made a spectacular save off a shot in close, but the effort pulled him out of the net. Samuel Solensky found the puck and flipped it through a scrum of Knights players trying to fill the pipes. Toby Sengvonxay and Roman Kraemer were credited with the helpers.

Though they would again put shots on net, the Knights could not solve Jack Leavy. The East Division veteran stopped all 20 shots he faced through the first two periods. The Tomahawks back check did their part in limiting Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s access to high-scoring areas.

To start the third, the Knights comeback effort appeared to receive a boost when their power play was sent to work just 3:38 into the period. Instead, a mishandling of the puck in front of their own net resulted in Pavel Kharin poking home a shorthanded goal.

The 3-0 Johnstown lead held via the continued strong play of Leavy and his defense. With just under 5:00 to play, the Knights pulled Tomeo for the extra attacker. Johnstown promptly took a penalty with 4:21 remaining to give the Knights a 6-on-4 advantage. Matt Kidney responded with his third goal of the weekend, set up by Anthony Firriolo and Mike Gelatt at 16:10.

Following a short stretch of 5-on-5, the Knights would pull Tomeo again with 3:04 left on the clock. Despite a few chances generated, the Knights could not pull any closer, and at 18:04, Samuel Solensky put the game on ice with an empty net goal (Donovan Ott).

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton wont dwell long on the defeat, as the team will turn around to play the Philadelphia Rebels on Wedensday, November 22nd at 2:30 PM EST. The game can be viewed at www.hockeytv.com. Follow Knights social media and check back at www.wbsknights.com for all news and updates!

Knights Streak Ends in Shutout Loss to Tomahawks

Coming off the roller coaster ride of a seven-round shootout Friday, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton looked to extend their winning streak to six games. Two points would go along way in continuing to cement their current home atop the NAHL standings. Johnstown had other ideas. After skating well in game one, the Tomahawks entered play determined to finish this weekend’s series with the Knights on a high note.

The game began with both sides looking the part of teams that had skated 65 minutes the night prior. Neither forecheck could find a rhythm in the first period, while the majority of the frame was played with an abundance of transition but a lack offensive chances.

In net again for the Tomahawks stood Britt League. Coming off a tough-luck loss his memory was short as the netminder would again mount an impressive display between the pipes, stopping all eight shots faced in the first. His counterpart, David Tomeo was steady a well, blanking the Tomahawks through the first 17 minutes of the period.

Things finally broke at 17:41, when fresh off a penalty, the Tomahawks climbed the boards quickly, led by the puck handling of Andrew Andary. Just as he did Friday, Andary fed Christian Gorscak on a crisp, cross-ice set up that the latter deflected home for the game’s first goal.

Deja vu was the prevailing theme of the evening as a late period goal came back to bite the Knights again. Assisted by Andy Nedeljkovic, Samuel Solensky buried a power play one-timer past Tomeo to give the Tomahawks a 2-0 lead in the dying seconds of the first.

The second period that followed saw both sides traded chances and a penalty apiece, but neither League nor Tomeo flinched, as both teams were held off the board. Tomeo was especially impressive in a mid-period stretch of minutes in which the Tomahawks hemmed the Knights in their own zone for several straight shifts. The goalie from  West Caldwell, New Jersey would stare down multiple chances through traffic to keep the lead within striking distance.

The Knights would battle back in the third, outshooting and out-chancing the Tomahawks for much of the period, but the attackers could not solve Britt League. Johnstown would put the contest away late in the third when Roman Kraemer found the empty net off a helper from Andrew Quetell. The Tomahawks would go on to win 3-0, the first shutout loss the Knights have sustained this season.

The teams will meet again next Friday and Saturday November 17th and 18th at 3:00 PM and 2:30 PM, respectively.  Both games will be played at the Revolution Ice Centre in Pittston, PA. If you plan on attending Saturday’s game, bring three cans of food or three non-perishable items to earn a free ticket! The game will be broadcast on hockeytv.com. Stay tuned to all Knights social media and www.wbsknights.com for all news and updates!

Knights Jump to First Place with Shootout Win Over Johnstown

On Friday, the Knights entered Johnstown with the NAHL’s and East Division’s second-highest point total. They left the 1st Summit Arena at the Cambria County War Memorial in first place across the board. Getting there wasn’t easy.

A back-and-forth first period saw Wilkes-Barre/Scranton mount 11 shots on Johnstown’s veteran goalie Britt League. He answered them all. The Tomahawks responded with seven offerings on Knights starter Christian Stoever. Tomahawks forward Christian Gorscak squeezed the lone goal of the first past Stoever at 9:08 on the set up by Andrew Andary and Pavel Kharin.

In the second period the Knights would continue to plug away, increasing their shot total to 24 on League, while Stoever turned away all eight shots sent on his net in the frame. The Knights continued pressure was rewarded when at 6:31, when Michael Morrissey found Reed Robinson with space above the circles on a power play. The big-bodied forward continued his stellar season when he walked the puck down, picked his spot and fired a dart past League to tie the game at one with his 10th goal of the season.

The game went to the third period gridlocked 1-1. The Knights broke the tie when Jack Olmstead lofted a long stretch pass to Matt Kidney behind the defense. Kidney marched in on goal alone and ripped a shot by League to give the Knights the 2-1 lead.

It appeared the advantage would be the final score as time ran down to the final seconds with Tomahawks still trailing and their net emptied. Instead, in regulation’s final moments, Samuel Solensky dug a puck out of a pile on the Knights half wall, sent it behind the net, where Andy Nedeljkovic centered it in front to a crashing Toby Sengvongxay. Sengvongxay pushed the puck past Stoever with 0.2 seconds left on the clock to force OT.

In the three-on-three extra time, neither side could solve each other’s netminder as Stoever and League stood down all chances on goal. The game moved to the shootout, and with the transition continued each goalie’s stellar play. Through the first two rounds, neither team scored. In round three, Reed Robinson buried his chance to give the Knights an opportunity to win. Andy Nedeljkovic kept his clutch night going by tying the shootout with a last-chance effort in the bottom of the third.

In hockey’s version of extra innings neither team found the net in the next three rounds. Christian Stoever made two incredible saves in rounds five and six  to rob Sam Solensky and Donovan Ott. Stoever’s save on Solensky came off a great move in front, while Ott was robbed with a mid-air puck deflection off of Stoever’s stick.

In the top of the 7th round, Knights first-round pick Gabe Temple ripped a puck past League to again move his team into the lead. Faced with another last-chance, down the ice came Tomahawks captain Cade Groton to attempt to tie the contest once more. He drove hard to the front of the net, but Stoever went down and turned the puck away for the Knights victory.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s fifth-straight win, and 10th-straight game with a point or more, now moves the team to 13-3-3. Their 29 points leads the East Division and the NAHL. They’ll look to keep their hot streak going with another competition in Johnstown tonight. Puck drop is at 7:00 pm EST. The game can be viewed on http://www.hockeytv.com. Stay tuned to Knights social media and nahl.com for updates!

 

 

Weekend Preview: Knights Set for Two-Game Showdown with Tomahawks

The Knights are riding high entering this weekend’s competition with the Johnstown Tomahawks. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has won four-straight games and has recorded a point or better in nine consecutive contests. Following last weekend’s sweep of the division-leading Generals, the Knights are one point behind Northeast for first place in the East  and the highest point total in the NAHL.

Across the ice this weekend stand the Johnstown Tomahawks. The blue-collar team may be in the midst some early season struggles, but that does not diminish their talent nor their competitive, physical style of play. Following two, one-goal defeats and an overtime point earned in their last two meetings with the Knights, the Tomahawks went on to beat the Philadelphia Rebels and New Jersey Titans in two of their next five games.

“Half our team are newcomers-getting in there and getting into that first period is a main goal of the staff right now,” said head coach Tom Kowal in the latest edition of Coach’s Corner. “It’s that first road trip to Johnstown. You can tell all your players all about the atmosphere and the rink, the history of Slapshot being there, but until you get there and get them into the first period-I think the staff will relax a little after the first period Friday night. Even when Johnstown is struggling, they’re tough to play against.”

In order to succeed this weekend, the Knights will have to slow down Sam Solensky and Joe Kile, the Tomahawks top two scorers this season. Solensky and Kile have each  scored a single goal in both of the prior two meetings between the teams. Johnstown is also bolstered by the East Division’s second-best power play, converting chances at a steady 21.3%.

For their part, the Knights would like to bolster a power play that has been inconsistent this season. While it has improved of late, it currently ranks last in the division at 16.1%. It will be faced by a Johnstown penalty kill that nullifies 70.9% of its penalties.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has had few issues scoring in all other circumstances, as the team is tied for the lead league in goals for per game at 3.61, and is third in shorthanded scores with 4.

Leading the Knights offense is Jack Olmstead, fresh off being named Eastern Division Star of the Week for his five points in three games against the Generals last weekend (2-3-5, 1 GWG). His 10 goals and 11 assists in 16 games played is tied for the fifth-most points scored in the league. His 1.31 points-per-game and +/- of +15 are best in the NAHL among qualified skaters.

He’s joined in the pont-per-game or better club by Reed Robinson, who’s second on the Knights with nine goals and 10 assists in 18 games. Matt Kidney is close behind with 5-12-17 in 18 games, as are Curtis Carlson 7-9-16 in 18 gp and new Bemidji State commitment Tyrone Bronte with 5-7-12 in 13.

Along the blue line, the Knights will continue to look for offense from Tom Farrell, who leads Knights defenders with nine points in 16 games, and Anthony Firriolo, who has seven assists in as many games since being traded to the Knights.

In goal, the Tomahawks can turn to recently acquired, East Division veteran Jack Leavy, or long-tenured Tomahawk Britt League. The duo have combined for 44 games played and record of 24-8-6 over their past two seasons in the NAHL.

The Knights will have a choice between 2017 third-round draft pick Christian Stoever and 2017 tender David Tomeo. Stoever went 2-0 last weekend, stopping 52 of 56 shots on goal against the other top-ranked offense in the NAHL. He’s 2-0 against Johnstown this year with an overtime victory. Tomeo’s  numbers have been steady when in the net this year as the 18-year old has a 4-1 record to go along with a 2.56 goals against and a .918 save percentage.

The Eastern Division clash will start tonight at 7:30 pm EST. :The game can be viewed at hockeytv.com. Stay tuned to Knights social media and www.wbsknights.com for updates!

 

Knights Alumni Khristian Acosta and Paul DeNaples Sign Letters of Intent

Congrats to Knights alumni Khristian Acosta and Paul DeNaples on signing their letters of intent today. Starting next season, Acosta will play for UMass Hockey while DeNaples will skate for Penn State Men’s Hockey.

Knights Sign Jeffrey Bertrand to NAHL Tender Agreement

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights are happy to announce they’ve signed forward Jeffrey Bertrand to a tender agreement. Bertrand, a 2001 birth year from Anchorage, Alaska already owns an impressive hockey resume.

“I’m a skilled, power forward,” said the 6-2, 170 16-year old. “I like to play a very intense style of hockey: fast and aggressive. I like skating down deep, putting pucks on net, and setting up my teammates.”

After standing out for the Alaska Oilers U15 AAA Midget program in 2016-17 (10-19-29 in 32 GP), Bertrand landed a roster spot with USA Hockey’s U17 team for their Five Nations Tournament in the Czech Republic this past August. Jeffrey was a key part of a gold-medal finish for the U.S. in the tournament.

“To play for team USA, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” he said. “I was proud to play for my country. They took really good care of us. We had a good group. It was a different experience playing in the Czech Republic. The game’s played a little bit differently there. They have different street signs and handshakes, but it was really special.“

Bertrand continues to play for the Alaska Oilers in 2017-18 at the U16 level of their organization, but he’ll have his chance to preview junior hockey.

“We’re happy to have Jeffrey as a tender for our NAHL program,” said head coach Tom Kowal. “Keep an eye on the roster, as he’ll have an opportunity to be an affiliate player for us later on this season. We’re excited to see what he brings to the NAHL level.”

The role of affiliate player will allow Bertrand the opportunity to play in a select number of games for the Knights in their 2017-18 NAHL campaign.

“I’m just excited,” he said on his feelings following his tender. “I’ve heard nothing but good things about the Knights. I’m pumped to play for them and I’m looking forward to playing junior hockey.”

Having scouted and evaluated the forward personally, Knights Assistant GM Justin Schreiber is fully aware of the potential Bertrand brings to the table.

“Jeff is one of those rare players that can take over a game with his high-end skill and physicality,” said Schreiber. “He’s consistently one of the hardest workers on the ice, a guy you hate to play against. He is an exciting addition to our organization.”

 

NAHL: Knights Finish 3-Game Sweep to Close Weekend

Following a strong pair of wins to open a three-game weekend, the Knights took the ice Sunday in Attleboro looking for a clean sweep of the lone team ahead of them in the East Division Standings.

After a scoreless first half of the first period, the Knights got on the board at 11:30 when Jack Olmstead found Matt Kidney off a turnover, after which Kidney ripped a puck by Generals goalie David Fessenden. All nine Northeast shots on goal were snuffed out by Knights starter Christian Stoever. At the end of the frame, the Knights held a decided advantage in shots and control of play.

Sensing a chance to breakaway in a one-goal game, the Knights opened up their attack in the second period. Reed Robinson scored early at 1:48 off assists from Tyrone Bronte and Michael Morrissey. Matt Kidney picked up goal number two of the afternoon at 6:32 with helpers from Olmstead and Anthony Firriolo. Mike Gelatt capped off the period’s scoring at 7:28, unassisted to build a commanding 4-0 lead.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton did not relent on either end of the ice, as the team killed off two penalties, while Stoever stopped all 10 shots sent his way in the second.

Entering the third, the Knights left the door slightly ajar with a slew of penalties in the opening half of the period, serving three in the first eight minutes. The Generals capitalized on the second when Luke Perunovich notched his second goal of the season off assists from Mike Egan and Matt Demelis.

From there, the Knights buckled down. They were out-shot 14-13 in the third, but maintained a steady presence on the attack, forcing an eye-popping total of 45 shots on Fessenden on the afternoon. Stoever didn’t finish the day with a shutout, but held the NAHL’s top scoring offense to just one goal, stopping 32 of 33.

With the win, the Knights move within one point of the first-place Generals. They’ve won four in a row and haven’t lost in regulation since October 13th, resulting in a nine-game point streak. They’ll head to Johnstown next weekend for a two-game road trip on November 10th and 11th in their efforts to keep climbing the divisional ladder.

 

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!

Knights Take Series Opener vs Generals

The Knights opened a three-game series with the East-leading Northeast Generals on Friday. The Knights were 1-1-1 entering play against Northeast, and have recorded a point or better since the teams’ second meeting of the year.

In round four of twelve of the regular season, the opening period was dominated by defense. Goaltenders Christian Stoever and David Fessenden matched each other with 8 saves, while neither forecheck was allowed much sustained zone time.

The middle 20 saw both sides kick their attacks into high gear. The Knights struck first, just 0:36 into the period, when Reed Robinson tipped a Mike Morrissey feed past Fessenden. A few minutes later, nearing the end of a penalty, Curtis Carlson swept a puck up the right wing while the Generals were stuck in a change. Carlson fed Mike Gelatt on a shorthanded 2-on-1, where the latter was able to finish off the chance with the Knights second goal.

The Generals kicked off their response when Mike Egan shot through  a pair of Knights on the backcheck, appearing to begin a breakaway. The Knights were able to catch Egan, but in the process of doing so, the puck was dropped back for an open Matt Wiesner. Wiesner buried it to cut the Knights lead to one. Fresh off the IR, Matt Rutigliano buried his first goal of the season to tie the game at two, set up through the slot by Joseph Mancuso off the half-wall.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton responded. Mike Morrissey sent the puck up the right wing to the streaking Adrian Danchenko. Danchenko gained the Northeast line and then put on a dangle clinic, going outside, inside, and outside his man, before finding the crashing Reed Robinson at the net for his second goal of the game. Not finished, Danchenko, set up by a Mike Morrissey tip pass at center, ripped a snipe past Fessenden to put the Knights up 4-2.

Late in frame, Joseph Nagle fired a perfect home run pass from deep in his own zone to Mike Egan, streaking over the Knights line. Egan shoveled it to the front of Stoever’s net.  Crashing hard in perfect step with the lofted puck was Matthew Rutigliano, who re-directed it past Stoever for his second goal of the evening. The tally narrowed the score to 4-3.

The third period saw a return to the first’s pace of play. Both teams traded zones and mounted a few decent chances, but both Stoever and Fessenden maintained their discipline in net. Down one with under three minutes left, the Generals pulled their goalie for the extra attacker. The Knights were able to withstand a fair amount of zone time before Mike Morrissey turned the puck up ice to Jack Olmstead. Olmstead skated it down to the mouth of the vacant crease before tipping home the game-sealing score.

With the win, the Knights improved to 10-3-3 on the season and have recorded a point or better in seven-straight games. They maintain their third place standing in the East division and now trail the second-place Philadelphia Rebels by just one point. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will take on Northeast again at the New England Sports Village Saturday afternoon at 5:30 pm EDT. The game will be broadcast on www.hockeytv.com, follow Knights social media for live updates.

Knights Sign Tender Zak Currie

The Knights have signed their first tender this season in forward Zak Currie from Meijer AAA hockey. Currie is a 1999 birth year from Grand Rapids, Michigan. In 27 games this year, the right-handed shot has scored 20 goals and recorded 13 assists for Meijer AAA 18U.

“Zak is an electric, skilled forward capable of putting up points in bunches as made evident by his stats this year,” said Knights assistant GM, Justin Schreiber. “He has had a great start to the year and we are excited to add a player of his caliber to the organization.”

“I picked the Knights because I like the staff and I think the organization is a good fit for my style of play,” said Currie. “I play a fast and skilled game. As far as the rest of this season, I just want to continue to improve areas of my game and continue to contribute to my team’s success.”