Tag Archives: New York Applecore

EHL: Knights Fall in OT to End Season

Photo: Jessica Kovalcin

On Monday, the Knights returned to Brewster Ice Arena to play high-stakes hockey against New York Applecore. For both sides, a victory meant moving on to the second round of the EHL postseason. A loss would mean the end of the 2017-18 campaign.

With that as the backdrop to the matinee affair, both teams came out with speed to begin Monday’s contest. No one had more than Knights forward Anthony Starzi. The lightning-quick skater-known around the league for his 26 goals and 26 assists in 52 games-scorched through every line of New York’s defense plus Benjamin Allard-Robitaille to give the Knights a 1-0 lead, 3:51 into the first.

The pace of play would keep up for both teams, as the pair traded quick rushes into the opposite zone, testing each Allard-Robitaille and Jared Stahel with snap shots and re-directs toward the net. Neither goalie would blink through the remainder of the first, as 18 of 19 combined shots never made their way home.

The second period followed suit, with both teams active and aggressive in transition. With a 1-0 lead, the Knights knew better than to sit back against Applecore’s potent offense. Their best efforts led them to slightly carry play and the shot count, but ultimately they could not solve the ever-challenging Allard-Robitaille. The Quebec native stopped all 14 shots he faced in the middle period, keeping his team alive and well.

The Knights first mistake proved to be a costly one, taking a 2:00 minor with just under three minutes to play in the period. After 1:56 of disciplined penalty kill, Applecore finally broke through with a heavy crash to the net. After Stahel made an impressive initial save, a rebound kicked out just enough through a scrum to find a waiting Joseph Verboys, who buried the puck for the game-tying goal (Eliot Friedow, Matthew Boring). Stahel would finish the period standing on his head to deny a surging Applecore attack.

Play remained even in the third. Stahel and Allard-Robitaille stood on their respective heads to continually turn away two humming forechecks. Through the 20 minutes, the Knights and Applecore each traded an unsuccessful power play, and at period’s end, the score remained locked at one.

Five-on-five, 20-minute, sudden-death overtime followed. A game that saw one shot separate the teams in each period continued on its even track in the extra time. Each side took heavy, fast rushes down the ice with excellent goaltending extending the game. Stahel (33 saves) and Allard-Robitaille (35) were both deserving of wins, but in the end there could of course only be one team moving forward.

Just shy of the 6:00 mark of overtime, Kyle Warren grabbed hold of a loose puck at his own blue line. Much as Starzi had done in the first, Warren burned through neutral ice, past the last line of defense, before cutting sharply in front of Stahel to put home the game-winning goal (Ryan Lieth, Daniel Fleischman).

The score brought about a tough end to the Knights hard-fought season. In the coming days ahead there will be time to process just how much was accomplished and how much growth was made between the starting and end points to the season. For now, the loss stings, cutting short what looked to be a special run for a special group, but it does not diminish what a strong return to the EHL the organization made.

The Knights would like to offer a sincere thank you to all our players, their families, our billet families, staff, volunteers, and all our fans for their hard work and support this season!

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!

 

EHL: Knights Thwarted by Revniaga, Allard-Robitaille in Game 1

Photo: Jessica Kovalcin

Friday marked game one of the Knights EHL postseason, the first of a best-of-three series with the New York Applecore. A pitched first period saw starting goalies Thomas Walker and Benjamin Allard-Robitaille trade a flurry of saves, while each offense could only muster a goal per side.

The first tally came at the 15:45 mark of the opening frame, when Tyler Watungwa and William Case combined to set up Emerson Emery on a power play goal.

The early Knights lead would prove to be short-lived, as on a 5-on-3 power play, New York drew even off the efforts of Tanner Dalton, from Mark Revniaga and Kyle Warren.

The stalemate would continue into the second where Walker and Allard-Robitaille would again stymie the opposition, with the pair making a combined 42 saves in the first 40 minutes of play.

Though the Knights would own the larger share of chances on net, leading shots 27-18 after two, it would be Applecore that would secure the only score of the second period. At 16:24, Joseph Verboys cleaned up the loose change from Mark Revniaga’s crash to the net to give New York their first lead of the game. Elliot Friedow would collect the secondary assist on the tally.

Revniaga would continue to be a catalyst for the Applecore, as he scored the game’s next goal early in the third period. His third point of the night came off the inverse of the prior goal where Friedow supplied the primary with help from Verboys’ secondary to best Walker at 6:24.

The Knights efforts to climb back were continually stunted by Allard-Robitaille in net, as the ’99 from Quebec carried his team with 35 saves on 36 shots.

Matthew Boring put home an empty-net goal (Race Bennett) in the final minute of play to give the Applecore the 4-1 win in game one. The two teams will meet again Saturday at 5:40 pm EST. Tune in on hockeytv.com and follow along at www.easternhockeyleague.org!

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!

Fuss Scores 100th Career Goal as Knights Win Slugfest with Applecore

Saturday’s meeting of the Knights and Applecore brought with it plenty of EHL playoffs implications. After each team lost their first contest of the week, the onus was placed on this weekend’s two-game series to influence the 4th and 5th seeding in the South conference.

After a stint in the NAHL with the Philadelphia Rebels, Anthony Starzi returned to the Knights Saturday. Also back was Nate Chuckran, returning after serving a one-game suspension for butt-ending.

The offense, rolling since mid-December, saw early benefits from Starzi’s return when the lightning-fast forward collected his own rebound and fired it past Applecore’s netminder Mark Siegel 17:26 into the first period (Jake Fuss, Emerson Emery).

Riding the momentum into the middle period, Jake Fuss kicked off a dominant stanza for the Knights with a milestone. Just prior to the 3:43 marker, Bryan Whelan and Tyler Nielsen pushed a puck to the net front, where through a scrum, Fuss willed the puck over the goal line. The score marked his 100th goal with the Knights program, a monumental achievement for one of the organization’s hardest-working players.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton would go on to control a good portion of the period, taking 12 shots and generating their fair share of high-quality chances. Tyler Nielsen would add his 13th goal of the season at 8:39, set up by Cody Rumsey and Tyler Watungwa, building a 3-0 lead.

Matthew Boring snapped the Knights momentum at 15:20, when the Kings Park, NY native powered his 18th goal by Knights starter Thomas Walker (Connor Woolley, Chaz Rometty).

The pendulum swung swiftly to Applecore’s attack, as New York came out in the third with a blistering pace. Brendan Conway and Mark Revniaga would set up Brandon Napoli to cut the lead to one just prior to the 2:00 mark of the period.

Applecore would draw even with their third-straight goal at 6:26, when Brett Reed fed Tanner Dalton on a successful 2-on-1. Brandon Napoli picked up the secondary assist on the score.

The Knights responded at 12:51 when Denys Arkhypenko generated a healthy rebound in front of Siegel that was buried by Emerson Emery for his third goal of the year.

Starzi set up Bryan Whelan less than 30 seconds later to build the Knights a two-goal lead. The Applecore didn’t blink, as Boring picked up his second goal of the night, set up by Logan Scarlotta and Ben Freatman just over a minute later.

New York pushed hard on the Knights backcheck and Thomas Walker in the final minutes including over thirty seconds with the reinforcement of an extra attacker. Walker stood on his head to seal the contest for the Knights, who skated away with the 5-4 win. The victory puts them just one point behind Applecore for fourth place in the conference.

The pair will meet again tomorrow for the finale of the two-game series at 9:30 am EST! Tune in at HockeyTV.com or follow @WBSKnightsEHL and easternhockeyleague.org for in-game 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!