Tag Archives: Thomas Farrell

NAHL: Seven Knights Named To Top Prospects Tournament

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Team Selects-White:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From NAHL.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Knights Finish Showcase with Shootout Thriller

Kidney, Morrissey, Goaltending the way as the Knights leave Minnesota with three more victories.

The Knights final showdown in Blaine saw an 9:30 am start against the Corpus Christi Ice Rays. For the Knights, the game was their sixth in nine days. Goalies Dave Tomeo and Chad Veltri exchanged saves in a scoreless opening period that saw both teams struggle to consistently attack from the middle of the ice.

The following period saw more of the same, until Matt Novo fired a puck past Tomeo (Moncovich, Osmundson) to put the Ice Rays on the board. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was given a break when it appeared that Corpus Christi scored a third goal not long after Novo’s score, but the officials deemed that the net came its moorings prior to the puck crossing the goal line. In response, the Knights mounted shots but couldn’t solve Veltri until 16:55, when Thomas Farrell found a streaking Matt Kidney behind the defense, and the forward potted the breakaway equalizer.

The gridlock returned for the first 10 minutes of the third, but the Knights took their first two penalties of the game to aid the Ice Rays offensive presence. They were finally rewarded at 10:21, when on a power play, Angus Scott flipped a slick backhand shot to beat Tomeo and regain the lead.

Following the score, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton pushed their way back into the attacking zone but still found issue in finding the spaces around Veltri. With time winding down in the final minutes, tensions flared on a pile up in front of Tomeo. In the ensuing scrum, Tomeo removed his helmet and was assessed a game misconduct. The remaining penalties created 4-on-4 hockey for the rest of the third, but the Knights were forced to put Christian Stoever in off the bench with just over a minute left in regulation.

Stoever’s stay was brief as the Knights quickly pulled him in favor of the extra attacker. All appeared lost as a turnover near the Knights net looked all-but destined to result in a Corpus Christi empty-net tally. Instead, Matt Kidney made a last-second stick lift and pulled the puck back to his possession. His exit pass started a rush back to Corpus Christi’s end of the ice where Curtis Carlson rang a shot off the post. In the ensuing tangle for possession, Mike Morrissey planted the game-tying goal past Veltri with 46 seconds left on the clock.

Headed for overtime, the Knights were called for tripping with just two seconds left in the third, giving Corpus Christi the 4-on-3 for an extended period in the extra time. The Knights, led by Stoever’s excellent work in net, were able to kill the penalty and rob the Ice Rays of several grade-A chances. Once play returned to 3-on-3, Veltri stood tall to turn away a handful of quality Knights chances to force a shootout.

In the best-of-three shootout Stoever stopped the first two shots for the Knights, while Veltri fended off Olmstead. In the Knights second attempt, Matt Kidney ripped a shot top shelf to gain the lead. On Corpus Christi’s last chance, Stoever went all the way to the ice and stonewalled Matt Novo to lock down the win.

The Knights move to 5-1 on the year, finishing 3-1 in Blaine. They are now 1-0 in games settled by both overtime and shootout. Dave Tomeo was stellar in 58:51 before his removal. Stoever was a perfect 4-4 in relief and then 3-3 in the shootout. They are currently tied for first place in the NAHL East division with 10 points. The two goalies have combined for a  .932 save percentage through six games. They’re next game will come at home against the Philadelphia Rebels on October 6th at the Class of 1923 Arena at 7:10 pm.

Knights Roster Breakdown III: Back End Reinforced by New Arrivals

With more than half the back end turned over from last season, the Knights excited by defensive additions

Continuity has been a theme for the Knights and the players protecting their defensive zone over the past two years. Names like Dorian Dawson, Tim Gelatt, Elijah Latimer, and Grant Valentine have been regular since the start of the Knights arrival to the NAHL. That’s all set to change as Gelatt, Latimer, and Valentine head to college, while Dawson attempts to make the USHL.

That list of names includes the team’s number one goalie for the past two years, last season’s top defenseman, its most recent captain, and one of the Knights program’s original players.

Needless to say, the team has an important task ahead in replacing some of its core defensive players. With expectations high, the staff is confident that the players that can are among those they’ve brought in this offseason.

“We’re really happy with some of the defensemen we’ve added to the roster this year,” said Knights assistant coach Andrew Whiteside. “This year, I think the biggest thing we wanted to improve on is size. I think we have some bigger, stronger defensemen this year.”

The International Pool

Cory Ellerton is the lone defenseman from abroad vying for one of the four import spots on the Knights roster.

From Pointe-Claire Quebec, Ellerton is a big-bodied, left-handed shot with an interesting blend of speed and strength. The 20-year old is coming off a season in the NOJHL where he scored two goals and 11 assists in 46 games with the Espanola Express.

He flashed at both ends of the ice at camp, but added a few productive shifts in the offensive zone tallying a goal and an assist.

The Tendered Defensemen

The Knights tender class continued its strong showing as Tom Farrell and Blake Kryska both turned in strong performances at main camp.

“Two guys who have really stood out this camp are Thomas Farrell and Blake Kryska,” said Whiteside back at main camp. “They’re exceeding our expectations right now, and we’re looking forward to big things out of them.”

“I’d say I’m more of a two-way defenseman,” said Farrell when asked about his skillset. “I’m more offensive-I like to join the play a lot. I just try to shut the opposition as much as possible.”

Farrell affiliated with the team last season. His playing time included valuable minutes in the Robertson Cup playoffs in which he did not look out of place. The big righty looks to make himself a regular in the Knights line up.

“Thomas’ elite skating ability and vision are his best attributes,” said Whiteside. “We feel his game will translate extremely well at the NAHL level and above.”

Kryska started off quickly at camp, scoring three goals in his first three games. His size, strength, and past NAHL experience will make him a strong candidate to push for a roster spot in 2017-18.

“Blake’s a steady presence on the blue line and his decision-making skills with the puck are beyond his age,” said Whiteside. “We expect Blake to log a ton of minutes on our back end this year.”

Luke Robinson wasn’t at main camp, but affiliated with the Knights last season, playing enough to warrant a comfort level with the Knights staff over his abilities.

“Luke is a big, physical presence in his own zone and has the skating ability to jump in and join the rush if the opportunity presents itself,” said Schreiber. “Luke’s hockey IQ is probably his biggest strength as he keeps it simple and minimizes mistakes.”

Robinson displayed his consistency in his prior league, playing in a total of 72 games over his past two seasons in the T1EHL U16, scoring 3-7-10 in 2015-16 and 1-8-9 in 2016-17, supporting the offensive dimension he has, accompanying his intelligence and physicality.

Camp Invites

Across the board, the Knights staff consistently praised the depth of their camp roster as more than a handful of invites will make their way back to compete at training camp.

Paul Luebke will be among those returning. The Wisconsin-native contributed two goals and an assist at main camp and has been a consistent performer in the USPHL prior to this season.

Hunter Macy was another steady defender throughout camp. With the Delbarton School in the USHS he scored 10 goals and 28 assists in 59 games over the last two years.

2000 birth year Jake Sandomeno was among the more productive defensemen in camp, scoring three goals and playing in the maximum of five games. In addition to a steady shot, the right-handed defender showed speed and a willingness to pinch hard from the blue line.

Goalies

With all goalies from the 2016-17 roster now departed, the Knights are taking all applications to take charge in net for the upcoming season.

Their most familiar choice is the former first overall pick from the 2016 NAHL Entry Draft. With the Northeast Generals last season, Dave Tomeo stood out in a late-season contest against the Knights in which he made a handful of dazzling saves.

Now a tender for the Knights, Tomeo flashed again flashed his abilities at main camp. His most spectacular moment came on a leaping effort from his knees, deflecting a puck wide of the net while tangled amongst several bodies in the crease. His habit for regularly making saves ‘he’s not supposed to be able to make,’ highlights his name as one to watch moving forward.

“David is a goaltender that comes with junior experience in both the USHL and the NAHL,” said Whiteside. “He has won at every level and we expect him to have a significant impact in our crease right away.”

Morgan Kelly, a ’98 who played in the T1EHL and BCHL last year, performed admirably through five games at camp-including both all-star games-as the California native looks to stick in Pennsylvania on his cross-country voyage.

Kevin Lake is from either further west than Kelly, and likewise would like to make the most of air miles by finding a home with the Knights. The big, 6-4 netminder is coming off an NA3HL season in which he appeared in 27 games for two separate teams.

USHL

Two players the Knights could add to their defense are third-round netminder Christian Stoever, who was taken in the 2016 USHL Futures Draft by the Des Moines Buccaneers, and fourth-round defenseman Mason Klee, a 2016 USHL Entry Draft selection by the Lincoln Stars.  Both will attempt to make their respective USHL teams in their camps in the coming weeks. Should they be released, the Knights would have the right to add them to their NAHL roster.

As a ’99 birth year who’s played the last two years in the T1EHL, Klee’s drawn attention for his ability to play a 200-foot game.

“Mason is a versatile defenseman that can make plays at both ends of the ice,” said Schreiber. “We valued his skating ability and his poise to keep things simple and not make mistakes under pressure.”

With the aforementioned job openings in the Knights crease, Christian Stoever has the talent to make a strong case for the position. Standing at 6-3, 165 pounds, the 17-year old showed athleticism and sharp reflexes over four games at Knights main camp, impressing the staff with his consistency and poise, and most importantly, his immense upside.

Like Klee, Stoever is a veteran of the T1EHL and spent last season as a teammate to Knights first-round pick Gabe Temple.

The Knights report to training camp at the beginning of September and will open their season against the New Jersey Titans at the Revolution Ice Centre at 7:30 pm on Friday, September 15th. Tickets can be pre-ordered by calling (570)-883-1100.

 

Knights Open Main Camp Excited by Prospects

With eyes ahead, team enjoys productive, competitive opening to camp

The Knights took the Pennsylvania heat to the ice Wednesday afternoon as they forge ahead to write their next chapter in the NAHL. The talent that took the ice on Wednesday mixed speed and grit with NAHL tenure and fresh legs.

“It’s very evident that our assistant coach Andrew Whiteside and head scout Justin Schreiber, two guys who head our scouting program and our recruiting, along with all the others that have helped us, that they’ve really done a great job this past year,” said Knights NAHL head coach Tom Kowal. “They pounded the pavement. We have eight teams with a lot of great talent and that’s a good problem to have.”

Over the course of the past year, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton staff has been scouring the hockey world for talent to bring to the 2017-18 season and beyond. Main Camp not only brings together the subjects of their search, but tests their scouting through competition.

“It is big week for us,” said Knights head scout Justin Schreiber. “Andrew Whiteside and I spent a ton of time on the road, and this week is kind of the culmination of everything. It all comes together-draft picks, tenders, and returners. This week is big. That being said, the games today were really high-paced. I’m pretty impressed with the level of play. I’m excited to see what carries over to day two.”

Formed from a massive pool of Knights veterans, tenders, draft picks, and invitees, eight teams played four games this afternoon. They’ll play eight more games tomorrow before the camp roster is trimmed into two all-star teams. Those teams will fill out the remaining available spots on the Knights roster.

“We want guys who play with grit, said Schreiber.” It’s important for us to find forwards that mix that skill and grit together and defenseman that are both gritty and mean-guys that have a little gravel in their gut. We want guys who bring the lunch pail and their boots to work every day and at the end of the day, we want our team to be really hard to play against. I think that showed itself here on day one.”

Returning veterans wasted little time in making an impression. As last season’s leading scorer, it only was only fitting that Matt Kidney would punctuate his team’s game one victory by burying a shot top shelf from just inside the blue line. Mike Gelatt rattled the boards down low, Paul Cimilluca potted a goal off a 2-on-1 rush, Mike Morrissey consistently inhabited his opponent’s crease, Curtis Carlson blazed through back-checkers to create chances, while Paul Maust and Reed Robinson took turns putting pucks in the twine. When they weren’t on the ice, the same players were engaged off of it, attentively following each game, eagerly surveying each potential new team mate.

“They’re the ones that get us going,” said Kowal. “They set the bench mark. It’s their job right now. I told them, that veterans have to be veterans. They’re not rookies anymore. Those are the guys that have to lead the charge. If we don’t have good leaders, we’re not going to have a good hockey team. I’ve really been pretty hard on my veterans this past summer to make sure they’ve been working out, to make sure they’re ready. So far I’m pretty happy with the way they are looking right now. Even walking in, they look bigger. They’re buying into the organization’s standard right now. Just making the playoffs isn’t good enough anymore. We’re going into our third season-round one isn’t good enough. We need a round two-we need a round trip to have a successful season.”

While the veterans set an early tone, newer players made their impacts known. Tendered defenseman Blake Kryska notched two goals in his first game. Tom Farrell, a big blue-liner who, like Kryska, spent a few games with the Knights last season, tallied a goal in his first game as well. Goalie Dave Tomeo, once a Knights opponent, was calm and steady in between the pipes.

Draft pick Lincoln Hatten showed off an impressive combo of size and speed, creating a few odd-man advantages by streaking past the last defender. First round pick Gabe Temple displayed impressive stick handling as he appeared unrelenting in attacking the offensive zone.  Christian Stoever, the lone goalie selected by the Knights in this year’s draft, impressed with several acrobatic saves.

All newcomers and veterans will get another chance tomorrow to make an impression as the Knights take further stock of their new roster. For the players that in camp only by invitation, Kowal offered encouragement.

“They should just be who they are,” said Kowal, “We can only draft and tender so many guys. There’s a lot of great hockey players out there. It seems like every year-and I’ve been doing this for 15 years-a kid that we didn’t draft, didn’t tender, a kid who hasn’t played a game for me in his life makes the team. It’s just that blue-chipper that no one knows who slips through the cracks, that comes out here and has a really good weekend, impresses our staff, and ends up being a Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knight.”

Game one begins at 8:30 am as Navy takes on Purple.