Tag Archives: Nicolas Appendino

Recap: Knights Complete Sweep, Punch Ticket to Minnesota

On Monday, the Knights had a chance to check off a lot of team firsts. First-ever Final Four birth in the Robertson Cup Playoffs was chief among their goals, but to do it, they’d have to sweep a team they’d never advanced beyond in the postseason.

The Philadelphia Rebels have been the team to eliminate the Knights in each of the past two seasons, completing sweeps in both years. To return the favor would not only be poetic, but a huge step forward for a Knights team that has hit their stride at the perfect time.

Monday’s action was slow-building. The tension of an elimination game hung heavy as both teams began the evening in an extended test of each other’s ability to trade space up and down the ice. Through the first period starters Ryan Keane and Christian Stoever faced a combined 20 shots.

An early test was stopped by Stoever in an eerily similar play to the  Patric Hornqvist’s no-goal controversy in Sunday’s Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins playoff game. Like the Penguins did the day before, the Rebels drove around the back of the net on a wraparound. Playing the part of both Sidney Crosby and Hornqvist, Alex Frye found himself alone on the right post trying to fire the puck to the net. Instead, Stoever’s left skate slid over and stopped the puck on the goal line. Unlike it’s NHL counterpart, there was no debate as Stoever’s stretch clearly kept the puck from crossing the goal line, robbing the Rebels of a grade-A chance.

Around a minute and a half later, the Knights made Philadelphia pay for the missed opportunity. Down low in the offensive zone, Jeff Bertrand shouldered a puck out of the right corner to Adrian Danchenko. Curling back-handed to the top of the slot, Danchenko fought through a poke check before flipping the puck to his forehand and finding Tyrone Bronte in front of the net. The Aussie center found the puck with his back turned to Keane. While the Rebels attempted to check him out of the crease, Bronte let go a  perfect backhand under the crossbar to beat the sliding Keane to put the Knights up 1-0 at 15:32.

The Rebels pushed back and earned a power play in the final minute of the first. The Knights, after being gashed nearly 40 percent of the time by the Rebels man-advantage during the regular season, entered play without having allowed a single power play goal in games one and two. The streak nearly came to an end in the final seconds of the period, where Stoever was pulled out of the net to the left post, making a save through a screen. The rebound kicked straight down in front of an open right side of the cage. As two Rebels converged to try and bury the equalizer, Thomas Farrell came crashing down, diving and driving the puck clear to the corner to end the period.

Farrell’s heroics were crucial as the Rebels channeled the frustration into a fast start in the second. After each team failed to capitalize on a power play, Philadelphia tilted the ice. From around the 5:00 mark on, the Rebels consistently won board battles, forced mistakes, and extended long shifts in the offensive zone.

Just past six and a half minutes into  the frame, on their second power play of the game, Alex Frye took an entry pass from Ryan Patrick around a defenseman, right to the netfront where he was stoned on a pad save by Stoever. The rebound kicked right to a crashing Patrick who was miraculously robbed on a lounging save by Stoever’s glove to preserve the Knights 1-0 lead.

The goalie was finally bested on a shot from Carson Moniz at 13:36. Hemming a puck in at the left point of the Knights zone, Brandon Stanley tossed a puck to a pinching Nicolas Appendino on the left half wall. Appendino ripped a pass to the top of the slot for a waiting Moniz. With a screen in front, the defenseman fired a puck under the crossbar to even the game at one.

Weathering the Rebels blitz that continued through nearly the rest of the period, the Knights finally broke loose in its final minute. Coming over the red line, Joey Verkerke dropped a puck in deep to the left wing corner of the Rebels zone. Jack Olmstead beat his man to the puck before turning back up ice and cutting to the slot. There a backhand shot attempt was deflected right back to Olmstead. His spinning, second try found Matt Kidney parked to the left of Keane, where he shoveled the puck to the twine to retake the lead.

The surge of a late-period, go-ahead goal refueled the Knights attack. After being hemmed in their own zone for most of the second period, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton grew stronger as the third period wore on. Ryan Keane kept them at bay, making several grade-A saves, robbing the likes of Curtis Carlson and Tyrone Bronte on chances in close. The Rebels counter attack was limited by a steady Knights back check that refused a repeat of the second period.

With just under two minutes remaining, the Rebels pulled their netminder following their timeout. A Rebels icing forced Keane back in the net while the Knights ate more time off the clock. In the period’s final minute, Keane (27 saves on the evening) was able to trade his services for an extra attacker. Following Joey Verkerke hitting the empty net’s post on a long shot down the ice, the Knights ended up icing the puck on an ensuing try down the sheet. A late push in the Knights zone by Philadelphia never created the grade-A look they needed, and the Knights held on to earn the sweep and a ticket to the final four.

Christian Stoever’s stellar efforts on a 39-save night, plus an opportunistic Knights offense are emblematic of how hot the team has become after facing elimination in round one. They will await the winners of the remaining three playoffs series, plus a re-seeding of the last four teams before knowing their opponents. You can follow the remaining games this weekend on hockeytv.com, or by following NAHL.com. Stay tuned to Knights social media and www.wbsknights.com for all news and updates!

 

Knights Drop Regular Season Finale in Philly

On Wednesday, the Knights had the unusual task of resuming a suspended game. The contest picked up where it left off: the Knights down 2-0 at the hands of the Philadelphia Rebels, midway through the first period. The two tallies came courtesy of Konur Peterson and Alex Frye nearly three months ago in a game that was suspended due to fog.

On Wednesday, Peterson and Frye looked like they never left the January ice. The pair kicked off Wednesday’s continuation by each adding their second goal of the game within minutes of puck drop. The first of today’s action came from Peterson at 10:54, when he bested Christian Stoever off assists from Noah Finstrom and the aforementioned Frye.

Just over a minute later, Tyrone Bronte would interrupt the 3-0 scoring run by the Rebels with his 15th marker of the season, trimming the deficit to 3-1. Adrian Danchenko initiated the scoring play by digging and flipping a puck out of the left corner back to the point for Joey Verkerke. Verkerke’s point shot was re-directed past Ryan Keane by Bronte for the Knights first goal.

That moment proved to be the high point of the Knights afternoon. Just two minutes later, Alex Frye notched his second of the contest off of helpers from Auggie Moore and Finstrom.

Philadelphia didn’t relent. After drawing a penalty from the Knights a little over a minute after Frye’s second goal, the Rebels power play went to work. Jensen Zerban parked himself on the left circle just in time for a rebound to kick over to the dangerous scorer, following a save by Stoever off a Brandon Stanley shot. Zerban buried his 19th tally of the season to build a 5-1 Philadelphia lead. Kolby Vegara notched the secondary helper, and the Rebels cruised into intermission with a four-goal lead.

That lead grew quickly in the second. Konur Peterson initiated a sequence that saw him swiftly slide a pass to Nicolas Appendino in the Knights zone. Appendino found Noah Finstrom, who buried his first goal of the season.

At 6:18, Jensen Zerban fed the puck to Ryan Patrick who put a heavy shot off Stoever’s pads. Carson Moniz swept in to bury the rebound and build a 7-1 Philadelphia lead.

Christian Stoever, despite the goals against, fought hard throughout the contest, improving as the game wore on. Philadelphia’s pace of play slowed, and the Knights improved in their quantity of shots on goal. They were continually thwarted by Keane (25 saves) in goal. Going 0-for-2 on the power play in the period sapped the Knights chances at any rally.

At the end of 40 minutes, the game was well in hand for the Rebels, who sat back on six-goal lead. As a result, the third period was a fast-moving, yet low-chance frame as the Rebels throttled down and protected their advantage.

The Knights held Philadelphia to just nine shots in the third, but only mustered seven in response. Two penalties slowed the Knights attack, though they were able to nullify both Rebels power play opportunities.

As the clock hit zero, the Knights were bested 7-1. The loss was the team’s final game in the 2017-18 regular season, but they’ll take solace in the fact that they are playoff bound. They’ll be scoreboard watching this weekend as they rest, heal, and prepare for the first divisional round of the Robertson Cup playoffs.

Currently the owners of the East Division’s second seed by single point-ahead of the New Jersey Titans-they can finish no better than second, but no worse than third.

If the currently fourth-placed Northeast Generals sweep the second-place Titans in their two-game series this weekend, with the condition that at least one win must be in regulation, the Knights will clinch home-ice advantage through the opening round of the East Division playoffs.

In the event of two regulation wins for the Generals, the Knights would then play the Generals in the first round, with home-ice advantage going to the Knights.

If the Titans win either game, or lose both in overtime/shootout, they will clinch the second seed, home-ice advantage, and will host the Knights in round one.

If the Titans lose both, but one in overtime/shootout, they will clinch the third seed, making them the Knights first opponent, but with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton controlling home-ice advantage.

The Generals and Titans will meet Friday, April 6th and Saturday, April 7th, both games at 7:00 pm EDT, in New Jersey. They will be broadcast on www.hockeytv.com.

 

 

 

NAHL: Knights Beaten by Rebels at Wells Fargo Center

On Saturday, the Knights took the ice at the Wells Fargo Center, home of the Philadelphia Flyers (and Philadelphia 76ers), in a match up with the Philadelphia Rebels.

Following their 3-0 loss the evening prior, the Knights were in search of a strong response with standings tightening in the East Division. The contest quickly saw the Rebels establish control, out-shooting the Knights 9-1 in the opening period. The Knights were able to mount several more chances that would go wide or be blocked just prior to reaching the net of Ryan Keane.

At 6:23, Rebels second-round pick Brandon Stanley notched his 15th goal of the year on Philadelphia’s first power play of the game. Following a set up from Jensen Zerban and Aaron Maguyon, Stanley pushed a loose puck past Knights starter David Tomeo to build a 1-0 lead.

In the final seconds of the first period, the Knights nearly tied the game on a 2-on-1 rush to the net, only to see their shot just miss high over the crossbar.

In the middle frame, play picked up where it left off, with the Rebels again pushing the pace. The Knights would find the net more frequently in the period, but were time and again turned away by Keane. On the Rebels second power play of the contest, they would again find the twine, this time courtesy of Carson Moniz, off assists from Eric Olson and Ryan Patrick.

Tomeo (30 saves) would not back down from Philadelphia’s continued pressure. The netminder’s efforts were key in keeping the score within striking distance, as the Knights offense continued to try and claw their way back. At the end of 40 minutes, the score held at 2-0.

In the third, the shots advantage again swung heavily in the Rebels favor. The Knights had a handful of chances off the rush, but struggled to sustain offensive shifts. The Rebels would put home the games’s final tally just prior to the halfway mark of the final period. German defenseman Nicolas Appendino picked up his first NAHL goal, pushing a marker home off assists from Jensen Zerban and Ryan Patrick.

At the end of play, the Knights were shutout 3-0 for the second-consecutive game. Though the outcome was not they wanted, the Knights and their staff were happy to have the opportunity to play at an NHL arena. They extend their thanks to the Philadelphia Flyers and Rebels organizations for organizing the event.

The Knights will next take on the Rebels on Thursday, March 16th at home at the Revolution Ice Centre at 5:30 pm before a re-match on Friday at 7:30 pm. They’ll close out the weekend with a road game in New Jersey against the Titans on Saturday at 7 pm EST. All three games will be available on hockeytv.com.

Stay up to date with all Knights news and happenings at www.wbsknights.com and on Twitter and Instagram (@WBSKnights), Facebook and Youtube at WBS Knights hockey.

NAHL: Knights Fall 3-0 to Rebels

Friday night saw the Knights travel to Philadelphia for the first of two showdowns with the Rebels this weekend. The game got off to a quick start as the Knights controlled the jump off the opening faceoff. Their efforts were kept at bay by Rebels goaltender Ryan Keane, who came up with difficult saves early and often to keep the game scoreless.

Keane’s equal in net was Christian Stoever (39 saves) who likewise stonewalled multiple quality chances in the opening twenty minutes. The Knights were given the benefit of a power play with 28 seconds remaining in the first. Their first rush into enemy territory was thwarted only by Keane and a lone Rebels defenseman who combined to block a shot in close and deflect a bouncing puck just wide of the crease to close the frame.

The tables would turn in the second as Philadelphia nullified the remaining time on the kill before quickly re-establishing their quick forecheck upon their return to full strength. Around the 4:00 mark, Konur Peterson win the puck down low and circle the net before finding Peter Zhong in front. Zhong would fire home his first goal of the season to give Philadelphia a 1-0 lead. Alex Frye collected the secondary assist on the score.

Backed by continue steady play from Keane, the Rebels would force a power play opportunity just past the halfway point of the period. 30 seconds later Aaron Maguyon would push past the last line of Knights penalty kill and rip a shot past Stoever for the 2-0 lead (Jensen Zerban, Kolby Vegara).

In the third, the Knights push back was kept in check by steady Rebels play in their own end. On their third power play try of the contest, Ryan Patrick re-directed Nicolas Appendino’s shot to the twine to build a definitive 3-0 advantage.

Time ran out on the Knights and their effort to erase the deficit, giving Ryan Keane a 24-save shutout. The pair of teams will meet again tomorrow on NHL ice at the Wells Fargo Center at 7:05 pm EST. Follow along on Knights social media and www.nahl.com!