Tag Archives: Nate Chuckran

EHL: Knights Storm Back in Game Two Against Applecore

Photo: Jessica Kovalcin

Round one of the Knights EHL playoffs continued Saturday when the team squared off against the New York Applecore for the second-consecutive day. To avoid elimination and force a definitive game three, the Knights would have to win or see their season end.

New York would quickly establish the pace in the opening period, out-shooting the Knights  12-5 in the first 20 minutes. Jared Stahel, taking the pipes for the Knights, and Benjamin Allard-Robitaille, back again for the Applecore, would not allow a goal through the first three quarters of the first.

Joseph Verboys ended the scoring drought when he bested Stahel off assists from Matthew Boring and Brett Reed at 16:10. The Knights responded less than a minute later, with Nate Chuckran burying a goal past Allard-Robitaille to even the game at one. A pair of apples came from Anthony Starzi and Austin Weber on the score.

On the very next shift, the Applecore would re-gain the lead when Brandon Napoli and Thomas O’Brien fed Connor Woolley for his first tally of the postseason.

In  the second, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton offense would start fast and maintain pressure through much of the middle frame. Chuckran would gather his second goal of the contest, following a New York penalty just 1:25 in. On the game’s only power play, Bryan Whelan and Rhett Padgett set the table for Chuckran’s second game-tying goal.

Stahel and Allard-Robitaille would hunker down to stop a combined 21 of 22 shots in the period to keep the score gridlocked after 40 minutes. The pair would continue their hot streak through the first half of the third as well, as each side entered the final 10 minutes of play looking for the go-ahead goal.

Rhett Padgett found such a tally at 10:35, unassisted to give the Knights their first lead of the evening. Insurance less than than three minutes later would be added when Anthony Starzi beat Allard-Robitaille to build a 4-2 Knights lead.

Stahel (35 saves) and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s defense kept a lid on Applecore’s comeback into the final minute of play. As time wound down, Verboys would find the net for a second time, bringing New York back within one at 19:26 (Connor Woolley). Wounded but not beaten, the Knights would rally to defend their net for the final 34 seconds of play, concluding regulation with the 4-3 victory.

The rubber match of the best-of-three series will take place tomorrow, Monday, March 12th at 2:00 pm EST at Brewster Ice Arena. The Knights will look on to move onto round two of the postseason with a win. The game will be broadcast on www.hockeytv.com. Follow along on www.easternhockeyleague.org and at @WBSKnightsEHL on twitter!

 

Knights Forward Nate Chuckran Commits to Stony Brook

One of the most veteran junior players in the Knights Organization, Nate Chuckran has made his decision to go to Stony Brook University starting this fall. The Seawolves are an ACHA division I program that have recorded 20 or more wins in 16 of their last 19 seasons and in the last four years has won four-consecutive ESCHL Championships along with one national championship runner up finish. For Chuckran it wasn’t just the hockey accolades he was focused on.

“What stood out to me is how highly ranked the school is itself. I’m going for biomedical engineering so it narrows down my choices a lot. They have a great program. Their coach Chris Garofalo keeps a tight ship.”

Chuckran has been a long-time veteran of the EHL, having played in his 100th career game (including playoffs) in the Knights regular season finale Saturday. His four-team career has been strong, wracking up 21 goals and 47 points in that span. His 2017-18 season, split between the Philadelphia Junior Flyers and the Knights, has been his most-productive, scoring 13-18-31 in 41 games played.

“The EHL has helped me prepare by helping me grow as a player,” said Chuckran. ” It’s helped me mature as a player. It’s definitely increased my poise with the puck and taught me to not be afraid to get in the corners at all.”

“Chuck is a hard-nose player that puts 100% in to every he does on and off the ice,” said his head coach, Josh Fusco. “He’s very motivated, driven and has a lot passion. From day one, after we acquired him from the Junior Flyers, he’s brought leadership to this team and moved into that assistant captain role nicely for us. As a ’97 He’s brought a lot of junior experience and more importantly he’s brought that winning attitude to our locker room.”

“I think I have a positive impact on the guys,” said Chuckran of what he brings to a team. “Any where I’ve gone that’s the feeling I’ve gotten. As far as on the ice, I think I make a defensive impact and I bring a lot of speed with my game.”

With his college decision made, Chuckran is now focused on finishing his junior career on a high note.

“Obviously we want to win a championship,” he said. “Not only that, I want to leave the guys here with a positive impact. I want to help them and guide them to a better position for their future as far as junior hockey goes, each of them individually. I’ll miss this team and the fun we’ve had, [laughing] everybody’s saying ‘OH YEAH’ all the time.”

Chuckran’s and his teammates’ enthusiasm will be a welcome sight when the team kicks off their postseason this weekend against the New York Applecore. The playoffs will serve as Chuckran’s final chapter of his junior career, one he’s happy to have had, and aware of those who have made it possible.

“A big thanks to my parents for supporting me through all of this and all the coaches that got me here. I couldn’t have done it by myself. I’m excited for a new beginning at Stony Brook. I’m very optimistic about their program and the school itself.”

“Nate is a kid that is going to succeed in life” said Fusco. “I’m very happy for him on his decision moving forward with his hockey and academic future.”

The Knights organization congratulates Nate on his commitment and thanks him for his contributions to the EHL program’s success.  They look forward to rooting him on in his Stony Brook career and beyond!

EHL: Knights Close Regular Season with Win

Photo: EHL

On Saturday, the Knights took on the Philadelphia Junior Flyers for the teams’ final contest of the 2017-18 regular season. Following their loss Friday, the Knights were determined to finish on a high note before the playoffs kick off next weekend.

A tight first period saw Garrett Stenberg and Jared Stahel trade saves while both offenses searched for their rhythm. The Knights would finally break through in the final second of the first, when Evan Green picked up his first tally of his Knights career. Staying with the puck at the point, Green took a pass from Denys Arkhypenko and fired it past a fooled Stenberg for the 1-0 lead.

The Junior Flyers wouldn’t wait long to answer in the second period. Connor Lenaghan broke free in front of Stahel on a power play as a shot from Kyle Harris deflected off Lenaghan’s blade and into the net. Billy McDevitt was credited the secondary assist on the game-tying goal.

The Knights would strike on a power play of their own just prior to the halfway point of the period. Off Emerson Emery’s point shot, set up by Bryan Whelan, Anthony Starzi deflected the puck past Stenberg to retake the lead.

A physical second half to the period yielded no goals, despite each side taking another try on the man-advantage. Jared Stahel played a key role in preserving the Knights lead as he stood down 22 of 23 Philadelphia shots in the frame.

In the the third, the score remained tight for the first half of the period. The Knights power play could not capitalize on an early Junior Flyers penalty, but their forecheck picked up steam, out-shooting Philadelphia 17-11 over the final 20 minutes. At 9:42 Austin Weber put home his sixth goal of the season, unassisted to establish a 3-1 Knights lead.

The Junior Flyers answered a minute and a half later when Gianni Dini ripped home a Nick Kiemel rebound, set up by Patrick Sullivan. The score brought life to the Flyers legs, but the visitors were kept at bay by Stahel’s steady effort in the pipes.

Despite having the extra attacker on late in the contest, Philadelphia was undone by the Knights strong defense, capped off by Austin Weber’s second goal of the day, an empty-netter set up by former Junior Flyer Nate Chuckran at the horn.

With the win, the Knights head into the postseason locked into the fifth seed and a first-round matchup with the fourth-seeded New York Applecore, a team they beat three times in four meetings during the regular season. The best-of-three series will take place exclusively in the Applecore’s Brewster Ice Arena in New York.

For dates and times for series, stay tuned to www.wbsknights.com, www.easternhockeyleague.org and follow @WBSKnightsEHL on twitter!

EHL: Knights Lose to Revolution, Clinch 5th Seed in Playoffs

Photo: EHL

On Friday, the Knights hosted the Philadelphia Revolution for the pair’s final meeting of the 2017-18 regular season. Both teams entered play looking to leap a spot upward in the South Conference playoff standings. It would be Philadelphia that would hit the ground running in their third-to-last game of the season.

Just 3:30 into the opening frame, Jake Faulkner fired a point shot through traffic to beat Thomas Walker for the game’s first goal (Martin Kapoian). A second Philly tally would appear to be scored several minutes later, only to be disallowed when the play was blown dead for a Revolution penalty as the puck was shot on net.

The Knights would take advantage of the call to push back against Philadelphia, but despite speed through all zones, they struggled to solve Peter Ciccarelli. The 6’5″ goaltender stood down the Knights early offerings to keep Wilkes-Barre/Scranton off the board in the opening 20 minutes.

Just after the expiration of a penalty late in the first, Philadelphia found their second goal of the afternoon off Hayden Ford’s feed to Justin Meers, who fired a winding puck past Walker for the 2-0 lead.

30 seconds later Ford initiated a successful breakout which Jake Faulkner and Kyle Bradley turned into a fast break to the net. Faulkner slid the puck past the last line of the Knights backcheck to an open Bradley in the low slot, who promptly slammed the puck home for the Revolution’s third goal.

After their even play gave way late in the first, the Knights entered the second with jump in their effort to mount a comeback. Penalties would slow progress as calls piled on top of one another to create multiple power play, 4-on-4, and even 4-on-3 opportunities for each side.

After he was tripped on a breakaway during one stretch of 4-on-4 play, Philadelphia’s Bryce Witman floated a knuckling puck over the shoulder of Walker on the ensuing power play (Brian Lange) to put the Revolution up 4-0.

The Knights would finally crack the scoreboard on a power play of their own just minutes later, when Emerson Emery’s point shot was re-directed to the twine by Nate Chuckran. William Case would record the secondary assist on the score.

The momentum swing would be brief. On the ensuing shift, Tommy Donnelly fired his first goal of his Revolution career through a blocked shot and a screen for the 5-1 lead.

A quick Austin Morgan tally in the opening six minutes of third, combined with Ciccarelli’s stellar play in the crease gave Philadelphia a comfortable cushion through the remainder of the contest. The Knights pushed hard in the final frame, mounting 21 shots and several strong looks on net, but were undone by the Revolution’s steady defense.

Entering play four points behind a possible home-ice advantage through round one of the playoffs, the Knights loss with just one game to play locks them into the fifth seed of the South Conference. They will host the Philadelphia Junior Flyers today at 2:30 pm EST, before preparing for the playoffs and their round one meeting with the New York Applecore.

Catch all the action on hockeytv.com and stay tuned to www.wbsknights.com and @WBSKnightsEHL on Twitter for all news and updates!

EHL: Knights Bounce Back to Split Weekend with Oilers

Photo: EHL

On Sunday, the Knights took their second try at besting the Connecticut Oilers following their 4-2 loss Saturday. In round two, it was Connecticut that would provide the game’s first tally. Ryan Brand hammered a shot through Thomas Walker just shy of the halfway point of the first period (Ryan Kheir, Kieran Kennedy).

In their second showdown in as many days, Walker and Olof Djurberg continued their steady play as the pair fended off extended possessions in front of their respective creases. The Knights penalty kill also flexed its discipline as it failed to allow a goal in three first-period chances. At the first 20 minutes’ conclusion, the Oilers would hold a slim lead in a hard-fought first period.

The Knights were quick to draw even to open the second. After Djurberg denied three solid chances from the Knights, a fourth found the stick of Tyler Watungwa in front of the net for the tip-in equalizer. The goal came as a byproduct of assists from William Case and Tyler Nielsen, but was born out of a strong forecheck and puck-movement by all five Knights in the attacking zone.

Though both offenses created solid opportunities throughout the middle frame, it took most of the period for either attack to finish on said chances. At 18:13, Connecticut re-took the lead on Val Serdlov’s third goal of the weekend, set up by Kennedy and Keegan Lewis.

The lead would last all of 97 seconds, as in the final minute of the second period, Nate Chuckran fired a shot on goal that leaked through the pads of Djurberg to even the game once more.

The late-period score paved the way for more Knights momentum in the third. Just over a minute and a half in, Emerson Emery collected a Chuckran feed and pushed it home to provide Wilkes-Barre/Scranton with its first lead of the game.

Connecticut would force a golden opportunity to answer after their heavy play drew two Knights penalties just past the 5:00 point of the period. With 1:46 of 5-on-3 time, The Oilers were kept at bay by Thomas Walker’s heady play in net and the penalty kill’s sound positioning, moving the Knights to a perfect 5/5 shorthanded performance on the afternoon.

The cancellation of both penalties catapulted the Knights into the period’s final minutes with a one-goal lead. With the net empty, the Oilers applied strong pressure down the home stretch, but could not solve Walker, who made 42 saves on the day. When the clock hit zero, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton skated off with a 4-2 victory.

The team will next be in action on Saturday, February 24th when the Knights play host to the Philadelphia Junior Flyers. Puck drop is at 3:45 pm EST and the game will be broadcast on hockeytv.com. Stay tuned to www.wbsknights.com, www.easternhockeyleague.org, and Knights social media on Facebook (WBS Knights Hockey), Twitter (@WBSKnightsEHL), and Instagram (@wbsknights) to stay up to date with the latest news and happenings!

EHL: Knights Drop Road Contest in Walpole

Photo: EHL.com

On Saturday the Knights took on the Walpole Express for their second head-to-head of the season. The game started slowly, with each side registering single-digit shots through the first. The lone goal of the opening frame came off the stick of Trevor Pray, who buried a rebound past Thomas Walker off the set up Josh Grasson and Bryan Colburn.

In the second, the Express erupted for three goals in just over minutes of play between the 6:00 and 10:36 marks. The first tally came when Pray notched his second goal of the afternoon, when and Josh Grasso came into Knights territory on an odd-man rush set up by Bryan Colburn. Pray bested Walker at 6:03 to build a 2-0 Walpole lead.

Following an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty assessed to the Express following the score, Walpole went right back down the ice on a power play turnover by the Knights. Following a perfect exit pass from Cam Sullivan, Bryan Colburn buried a goal of his own on the shorthanded break, giving his team a 3-0 lead at 6:56. At 10:36 Sullivan wold rotate into the goal column when his shot found its way through traffic to beat Walker. Assists on the tally were credited to Chris Gratton and Colburn.

After regathering themselves in the second half of the second period, the Knights rallied to create some life in the third as they went on to score the next two goals. At 3:45, Jake Nimeh picked up his fifth goal of the year off an assist from Emerson Emery to cut the deficit to 4-1.

The Express buckled down behind the efforts of their goalie Max Flynn, who fended off 11 shots in the period, keeping the Knights comeback at bay for the better portion of the third.

Emery would break through again for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, picking up a power play goal at 17:03, with Austin Weber and Nate Chuckran grabbing assists on the play. With the goal and the earlier assist, Emery has now scored three goals and three assists in his last four games.

Walpole would put any thought of any further rally to bed however when Chris Peters put home the Express’ fifth goal at 18:22 (Tyler Pietrzyk. At the final horn, the Knights would take the 5-2 loss.

The team will look to bounce back against the Total Athletics Seahawks at 2:00 PM EST today. The game will be available on hockeytv.com. Follow @WBSKnightsEHL on Twitter for in-game updates!

 

Knights Blank Bobcats-Royals, Roll to Series Sweep

Friday afternoon kicked off the Knights and Bobcats third meeting of the past two weeks. Winners of the last two exchanges by a combined score of 12-0, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton looked to keep rolling into a three-game weekend.

The game began with the Knights controlling the pace of play. Just shy of the 4:00 marker, Nick Peck flipped a puck to Bryan Whelan, who found Anthony Starzi in front of the net. Starzi pushed his 23rd goal of the season past New York goalie Tyler Shugrue for the opening tally.

A wave of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton chances would continue to bolster a steady forecheck in the first. An 18-shot frame would be capped off by JP Natishan’s snipe at 14:26 off passing from Austin Weber and Jake Nimeh.

In the second, the tempo again belonged to the Knights offense, as the team more than doubled its shot count from the first. Anthony Starzi repaid Bryan Whelan the favor from the first, with the former finding the latter for the 3-0 lead at 8:29. Matt Proski picked up the secondary helper on the goal.

Tyler Shugrue did his part to limit the damage thereafter, but at 16:10 the dam broke open. At 16:10, Tyler Nielsen ripped a rebound past Shugrue for the forward’s 14th tally of the season (Peck, Starzi). Josh Edwards found his first goal of the year exactly one minute later off of a rebound from Matt Proski  set up by a David Pfoestl assist.

Pfoestl decided to join the scoring parade 45 seconds later, when he carried the puck over the blue line, dropped it back to Proski, and then put Proski’s ensuing rebound by for the 6-0 advantage. Cole Wenner was credited with the secondary helper on the score.

In the third, Nate Chuckran tacked on goal number seven, coming off of assists by Tyler Watungwa and Zach Ouladelhadjahmed, putting the contest’s scoring to rest.

At the final horn, the Knights came away with both a 7-0 victory and a series sweep of the Bobcats Royals. The win also brings the Knights back to .500 and keeps them within two points of the New York Applecore for the 4th seed in the South Conference.

Jared Stahel’s steady play between the pipes earned him his third shutout of the season, his second in his last five starts.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will look to keep the momentum going with a road contest today against the Walpole Express at 4:50 PM EST. Tune in on HockeyTV.com and follow @WBSKnightsEHL on Twitter for in-game updates!

EHL Recap: Knights Split Weekend with Shootout Loss to Applecore

The dust didn’t even get the chance to settle on the Knights thrilling, 5-4 win Saturday before the team rolled back out to Brewster Ice Arena for a 9:30 am rematch Sunday.

The Knights and Applecore met for round two of two with fourth place on the line in the South Conference. Sunday’s affair picked up slowly. Shot totals were abundant for each side-including an 11-0 run for New York in the last four minutes of the first period. Starting goalies Thomas Walker and Benjamin Allard-Robitaille did their part stop a combined 32 shots, good for a scoreless first period.

The scoring drought continued well past the midway point of regulation, with the game’s first goal finally being scored 16 minutes into the second period. On his team’s second power play, William Case was fed the puck from Emerson Emery and Nate Chuckran before he fired a puck by Allard-Robitaille for the 1-0 lead.

The advantage would prove to be short-lived when Applecore, shorthanded just over two-minutes later, would cash in on a Knights power play breakdown. Allard-Robitaille would connect with Tanner Dalton, who out-raced the Knights back to Thomas Walker, who was beaten for the shorthanded equalizer.

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton power play would redeem itself on its next trip down the ice, when Jake Fuss pushed an Anthony Starzi rebound through to regain the lead. Nick Peck picked up the secondary helper on the Knights second power play goal of the contest.

The Knights lead would last through the final 24 seconds of the middle frame, as well as the duration of the second intermission. Connor Woolley decided that was long enough. Just over a minute into the third period, the New York forward continued his strong weekend with his second goal of the season, set up by Chaz Rometty and Brandon Napoli, once again evening the score.

A similarly dissatisfied Austin Weber would hand the puck to red-hot Knights defender Emerson Emery at 6:21, where he ripped a quick shot past Allard-Robitaille to reclaim a one-goal lead. The strike marked Emery’s fourth point of the weekend, his seventh in the last five games.

The see-saw would even out yet again at 13:57, when the big-bodied Race Bennett would find the back of the net, assisted by Woolley and Patrick Sullivan. Despite New York out-gunning the Knights by 10 shots in the third, the 3-3 tie would hold through the end of regulation, sending both teams to play in overtime.

Each second of overtime would provide an opportunity. A Knights goal would mean a tie in points for fourth place in the South. A New York score would preserve a two-point cushion for the Applecore. Neither goalie would oblige.

Allard-Robitaille stood down seven shots, while Walker made five saves, including a robbery of a late New York breakaway. The Knights would ring three posts but could not bury the puck. With overtime failing to produce a winner, both teams moved onto the shootout.

In the best-of-three setup, neither side found the net through rounds one and two. Allard-Robitaille stopped the Knights in round three. Matthew Boring came down the ice and fired the game-winner past Walker.

At the end of the series, the Knights were able to pick up three out of four possible points, but the two points won by New York Saturday keeps them ahead by two in the South. They’ll look to bounce back with a contest against the New York Bobcats Royals at home this Friday at 3:00 pm EST. The game will be broadcast on hockeytv.com. Stay tuned to Knights social media and www.wbsknights.com for all news and updates!

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!