Tag Archives: Tier-II

Paul Maust, Dorian Dawson Selected in Phase II of the USHL Draft

With a combined 231 games played for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the past two years, Dorian Dawson and Paul Maust have been key contributors to the Knights arrival to tier-II hockey. After being selected in phase II of the USHL draft Tuesday, both players will have the opportunity to take their talents to tier-I next season.

In 2016-17 both Maust and Dawson were leading members in the Knights 65-point season and the organization’s second-straight playoff appearance.

Maust, selected yesterday by the Green Bay Gamblers with the 75th overall pick, led the Knights with 28 assists this season. For the second straight year he registered 15 goals, picking up 43 points in 54 games, good for second-most on the team.

“Paul Maust is a hockey player,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal. “He’s not the biggest skater out there, but he plays a big game. He loves mixing it up. He’s a smart player up and down the ice and his skill allows him to be a great threat in the offensive zone. His play sets a tone for his teammates.”

On the blue line, Dorian Dawson led all Wilkes-Barre/Scranton defensemen in scoring, tallying nine goals and 25 assists in 48 games. The Brown University commitment spent his time on Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s top pair, power play, penalty kill and consistently took shifts late in games.

“Dorian’s a guy that is still scratching the surface,” said Kowal. “He continues to improve and that’s been a big factor for us. With the defensemen that moved on after 2015-16, we asked him to take a big step up this past season and he did. He doubled his points and showed he could play in any situation for us.”

Both Maust and Dawson found themselves highlighted for the efforts throughout 2016-17. Dawson earned the distinction of being named the NAHL’s defenseman of the month this past January, while Maust was named second star and twice given honorable mention in the East Division’s Star of the Week award.

At the Knights end of season awards dinner, Maust was named recipient of the Lancelot Award, an accolade given to the player that best represents the character and values of the Knights both on and off the ice. Both players represented the East Division at the NAHL’s Top Prospects Tournament in February.

“It’s a great feeling seeing two guys like Paul and Dorian rewarded for all their hard work,” said Kowal. “They’ve been big parts of our team on and off the ice over the past two seasons. They both have the work ethic to continue their success at higher levels of hockey, and we’re happy to have been a part of their development. We’ll be rooting hard for them every step of the way.”

 

Knights Forward Joe Schuler Commits to Colby College

The 96 birth year will play for the Colby Mules in 2017-18

When the Knights made a trade that brought them Joe Schuler last summer, they were looking for a veteran forward to help bolster a young roster. The Webster, New York native rewarded them by bringing energy and the knowledge gained from already one year spent in the NAHL to their locker room. After a steady regular season, Schuler’s number was called upon often down the stretch to take shifts in some of the team’s biggest moments. In the playoffs, Schuler finished tied for the Knights lead in goals, ending the year on a two-game goal streak.

“First of all, the NAHL, it’s a great league,” said Schuler. “People say tier-II, but it’s extremely competitive. I think it’s made me twice the player I was. It’s helped me prepare for college. Living away from home allowed me to attack my academics more aggressively. I think it made me more independent.”

Schuler will take that dedication to his studies to college when he joins the Colby Mules of the NESCAC next season. The Mules program, located in Waterville, Maine, just completed their 22nd season playing at the division III level of NCAA hockey. Schuler is excited to get to work.

“I think when you visit a place, and it just feels right, that’s what stood out to me about Colby,” he said. “It’s a smaller school that’s challenging academically and they’ve had a hockey program for a long time. In the NESCAC conference, they play a lot of fun, competitive hockey.”

The Mules, once led by Jim Tortorella (brother of John) for their first 16 seasons, are now steered by head coach Blaise MacDonald. His team is coming off a 13-7-4 season in which they finished second in NESCAC’s regular season standings.

“Colby has a great tradition,” said Schuler. “I’m excited to play for a school where hockey and academics are a big deal.”

In reflecting on his final season in junior hockey, Schuler was most sure to talk about his teammates he shared it with.

“I like our guys,” he said. “We had a great group. We had a lot of fun together. Whether we were filling a teammate’s car with packing peanuts, going on long road trips or just hanging out in our hotel, we really enjoyed our time together.”

In parting, he had a few final words of gratitude.

“I just want to thank my parents,” he said.

The Knights organization thanks Joe for his contributions and wishes him all the best moving forward in his career!

Dawson Commits to Brown University

From NAHL.com

 From his first step onto the ice at the Revolution Ice Centre in Pittston, PA, Dorian Dawson has displayed nothing but high-end potential for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights. As one of the members on the organization’s inaugural NAHL roster, the sturdy 6-2 200-pound defenseman has been through all manner of tests in his 103 NAHL games.

Through the first year of the Knights existence in the North American Hockey League, Dawson emerged as one of the team’s minute-eaters on the back end, playing in 62 of 63 possible games between the regular and postseason. In that stretch the defenseman recorded four goals and 13 assists, while growing into a steadying, two-way presence on the ice.

“Dorian has been a big part of this team since the start,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal. “He’s grown a lot in the past year and a half and it’s been rewarding to see that play out both on and off the ice.”

In the wake of departed NHL draft-pick Dmitriy Zaitsev, Penn-State commit Paul DeNaples and Union-commit Joseph Campolieto, there existed a great opportunity for a defenseman to rise to the top of the Knights defensive corps. Now bearing an assistant captain’s patch on his sweater, Dawson has seized the role as the team’s proverbial #1.

“He’s been a top defenseman for us and this season he has grown into a leader in our locker room,” said Kowal. “He’s an extremely versatile, hard-working piece of our blue line that we use in all phases of our game. Power play, penalty kill, ahead on the scoreboard or behind-you name it, he’s out there.”

In 41 games played this season, Dawson has doubled his point total from the last, picking up seven goals and 23 assists while owning a +/- of +14. Through a stellar month of January, Dawson maintained a December-born point streak for nine games and posted a line of 1-10-11, +8 in nine games played. His efforts saw him named NAHL January Defenseman of the Month and secured his spot on the East Division’s Top Prospects Team at this year’s showcase. In his first game for the East on Monday, Dawson was +3 with one assist.

As it turns out, division one college hockey didn’t need too much more convincing. After two days at the Top Prospect Showcase, it has been announced that Dawson has committed to Brown University of the NCAA’s Eastern College Athletic Conference. The 1997 birth year will be a freshman for the Bears beginning in the 2018-19 season. The Brown Program has turned out a number of NHL alumni like, but not limited to, Tim Bothwell, Curt Bennett, Todd Simpson, and Ryan Garbutt.

“We’re excited for Dorian’s future and we are devoted to helping him continue to grow even further as a player,” said Kowal. “I’m very confident that Brown is going to be very happy with the player and the person they’re getting in Dorian Dawson.”

Knights Earn Hard Fought Win

Knights take third straight on night honoring Boy Scouts

written by Allif Karim

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights started a two series on Saturday against the Fairbanks Ice Dogs, donning alternate jerseys to honor Scouts Night at the Revolution Ice Centre. Honored those attending, they did as the Knights jousted Fairbanks, skating away with a 4-1 victory. The win marks the first time the Knights have reached the .500 mark in their NAHL existence.

This series also marked the end of a month-long road trip for the Ice Dogs. On a frustrating night for Fairbanks, it seemed fitting that the game was capped by an empty net goal, symbolic of the lack of any good bounces going their way.

The first period started off shaky for both teams as neither the Knights nor the Ice Dogs could make use of chances they had. An early Ice Dogs powerplay in the first proved futile following a disallowed goal. The Knights were also held off the board on the man advantage, as they struggled to establish any rhythm in the offensive zone. With 1:49 left in the period, the Knights would finally find a spark when Sam Antonitsch took an off-the-glass pass off the stick of Joey Kubachka the length of the ice to open the game’s scoring.

The second period saw Fairbanks strike first when at 3:06 in, Marc Sullivan, with helpers from Tanner Schachle, Hampus Eriksson and a delayed penalty, cashed in with a gorgeous snipe for the Alaskan visitors. The tie would be short-lived as three minutes later, Michael Morrissey scored a terrific goal with backhand-forehand deke in the middle of the low slot, set up off the give and go from Reed Robinson. Joe Schuler added to the lead with his first career Knights goal, working the puck from the far corner, playing it along the goal line and taking a shot from a sharp angle at 18:38.

With the score favoring the Knights, the Ice Dogs opened up the third with a power play but couldn’t capitalize against an aggressive Wilkes-Barre/Scranton penalty kill. Ample changes of possession and battles along the boards wore the Fairbanks comeback effort down, and with the goalie pulled late in the game Vince Marino put away any hope of a rally by finding the twine at 18:33.

With the win, the Knights improve to 5-1 since the end of the holiday break, 18-18-1-1 on the season and extend their winning streak to three. They’ll look to close out the weekend with a sweep when they face the Ice Dogs once again at the Revolution Ice Centre today at 12:30 pm.

Knights Cruise to 5-0 Win

Team Bounces Back with Dominant Victory

For as flat as the Knights began the New Year Friday, they were as equally imposing on Saturday. An added wrinkle to the Knights lineup for the middle game of a three-game series was the debut of new acquisition Matteo Esposito in net.

The Knights quickly provided their rookie netminder with some support, when just 4:23 into the first Keenan Sabatini kicked off the scoring with a power play tally with assists coming from Khristian Acosta and Sam Antonitsch.

Markuss Komuls tacked on another goal at 9:56 in what would be a banner day for the blue line. Sabatini lit the lamp again at 13:22 on the set up from Acosta and Matt Kidney. Kidney’s assist was his first point since his return to the Knights.

A minute later Antonitsch redirected a Dorian Dawson shot from the blue line to build a 4-0 lead. A relentless forecheck coupled with solid play from Esposito, who stopped all 11 shots he faced, would hold the advantage for the Knights heading to the first intermission.

Gabe Vinal, who had stymied the Knights Friday with 38 saves on 40 shots, was pulled late in the first in favor of David Fessenden. The latter goalie who help slow the bleeding in the second as the Knights would continue to mount chances on goal and spend extended periods in the offensive zone.

Fessenden was finally bested at 15:43 into the 2nd when Khristian Acosta potted the Knights second power play of the game. Matt Kidney and  Keenan Sabatini continued their strong offensive showing with assists. Esposito would again stand tall against 11 offensive chances, denying each and every one.

With the 5-0 lead, the Knights continued pressuring in the third but were unable to find the twine as Fessenden settled in. Esposito would be the one to close the door on the Generals as he stopped another 11 shots, smothering any chance for Northeast to ignite any kind of rally.

At the final horn, the Knights were 5-0 victors having played well in all phases in the game. They’re power play was an impressive 2-4 and their penalty kill was a perfect 5-for-5. Shots were decidedly in favor of the Knights who finished with a 42-33 advantage.

The Knights will look for the series win today with their third and final meeting of the weekend with the Generals at 1:30 pm today at New England Sports Village.

 

Knights Rally Falls Short to Generals

Slow start on the road proves too much to overcome

 

Stats, records, and prior meetings can’t strip away the relevancy of one of the oldest adages in sports: there’s a reason they play the game. Entering Friday night, the Knights were riding a four-game win streak against the Northeast Generals-a perfect 4-0 on the season-as well as a three-game winning streak overall. The Generals were still searching for their first franchise win at the NAHL level. When the puck dropped in Attleboro all such stats were rendered moot.

The Knights began the contest with a few forays into the offensive zone coupled with a few solid chances, but all were turned away by Generals netminder Gabe Vinal. Slowly as the period progressed, Northeast began to turn the tide. Their breakthrough occurred at 16:23, just 11 seconds into a powerplay, when captain Colin Bilek notched his third goal of the season against the Knights, giving his team the lead. With wind in their sails, Northeast skated well to close the period, limiting the Knights to 7 shots.

The carryover from the first frame was momentum for the Generals into the second. Spurred on by an excellent performance by Gabe Vinal, the Generals tacked on two more scores to build a 3-0 lead. The first came on an Anthony Mangano tally at 8:39. The Generals followed that up just over a minute later with Evan Somoza’s eighth goal of the year. Curtis Carlson would finally get the Knights on the board putting home a back-door offering past Vinal on a feed from Reed Robinson at 11:56.

The third period would begin with the Knights having recaptured momentum following a late-second period increase in chances that would ultimately be turned away by Vinal. The Knights pressure would eventually produce, when Jimmy Elser cut the deficit to one, netting a goal at 6:28. Aided by two Northeast penalties, the Knights wound continue to mount pressure for the duration of third. Vinal stood tall throughout, including when facing the Knights extra attacker for just over the game’s final 1:30 of play. He stopped 18 of 19 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton chances in the period and 38 of 40 for the game, on the way to securing his team’s first ever victory in the NAHL.

All totaled, the Knights went 0-5 on the powerplay and allowed one goal on three penalty kills for the evening proving that no matter the opponent, the room for error is small. Lost in the defeat was the return of first-round draft pick Matt Kidney from Cedar Rapids. Though he did not register a point, the talented forward will be a welcomed return for the Knights forecheck. Kidney had lead the NAHL in points with nine goals and 12 assists in 19 games at the time of his departure.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will look to get back on track when they again take on the Generals tonight at 5:30 pm and again tomorrow at 4:30 pm.

Jake Fuss Earns Weekend Call Up to NAHL Knights

The NA3AHL leader in points is earning some time at the next level this weekend as Jake Fuss will travel with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights NAHL team in their upcoming series with the Northeast Generals.

Fuss, who ranks second in all of tier 3 junior hockey in goals (45) scored and third in total points (96),  has scored multiple points in all 23 games he’s played this season.

“Jake being called up is another thing to add to our success as a team this season,” said head coach Josh Fusco. “He deserves this opportunity both by his numbers, but also and more importantly by the drive he brings to the table. I am very proud and very happy for him to be heading off to Boston wearing an NAHL sweater.”

RELATED: Know Your Knights: Jake Fuss

Fuss has been an offensive asset in all phases for the Knights this season, scoring three goals on the power play and three goals shorthanded. His eye-popping seven hat tricks are a testament to his ability to relentlessly finish the opportunities he’s given. Again and again the recurring theme when speaking to those who coach Fuss is his relentless effort.

“From main camp on Jake has impressed us with his work ethic,” said Knights Director of Hockey Operations and NAHL GM/Head Coach Tom Kowal. “His stats and awards speak for themselves. He leads his league in points, he’s on a 23-game point streak, and he was an NA3AHL all-star. He’s earned the a chance to show us how he’s progressed and that’s a chance we’re excited to give him.”

 

Matt Kidney Traded to Cedar Rapids RoughRiders

Following a stellar October that earned him the NAHL Forward of the Month Award, the rookie winger will head to the USHL.

Kidney scored 6 goals and 10 assists in 11 games played last month. In that time he posted a ridiculous shooting percentage over 20 percent and a solid +5 rating. On the season, Kidney scored 9 goals and 12 assists, good for 21 points in 19 games. In that stretch he scored three game-winning goals to lead the team.

Kidney was the 5th overall pick in the 2016 NAHL Entry Draft from the North Jersey Avalanche program in the T1EHL. He made an immediate impact for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and has improved in his short time in the North American Hockey League.

The Knights would like to take this opportunity to congratulate on his well-earned success and wish him the best of luck moving forward!

Knights Shut Out by Rebels

Despite a strong showing by netminder Grant Valentine, the Knights dropped their fifth straight matchup with the Aston Rebels Friday. The most recent recipient of the East Division Star of the Week stopped 29 of 31 shots (.935) in a losing effort, but continued his strong play.

In each of his last four games, Valentine has registered save percentages north of 90 percent. This was the first loss in that stretch.

The early going was typical of a Knights and Rebels matchup this season.  The first twenty minutes were defined by a lot of zone exchanges and not too much established possession. For the Knights it was their best shots tilt of the contest, as they won the battle 9-5 but could not solve goalie Mareks Mitens.

The second period would see an increase in shot volume but the Knights luck would stay the same. It was Aston who would break the scoreless streak in the second during four on four play.

Set up on a Knights turnover in their own end, Evgeny Yakovlev would skate the puck under the goal line before flicking it out in front to a waiting Dustin Manz. Manz, unchecked would fire one past Valentine to give the Rebels a 1-0 lead at the 9:29 mark in the period.

A recurrent theme throughout the contest were self-inflicted wounds. Twice on the man advantage, the Knights cut their time on the powerplay short with penalties. It was one such occurrence that resulted in the Manz goal.

Down one heading into the third period, the Knights would try to turn around what had been a rocky frame in previous matchups with Aston. But on this night the drum beat would continue for the Rebels as in typical fashion they would close the game with a strong third period.

The Knights would muster just three shots on goal to Aston’s 12. Andrew Bellant would add insurance for the Rebels at the 6:01 mark on a quick power play cycle and shot that barely maneuvered on and past Valentine’s pads.

The score would remain the same for the rest of regulation, as Mitens fended off the last of the Knights efforts on his way to his fifth-straight shut out and the Rebels fifth-straight win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

The pair will renew acquaintances Saturday night at 7 pm in Aston.

Knights Rally for Win Over Northeast Generals

On a Thursday afternoon road game in Massachusetts, it’s entirely possible the Knights were feeling a little nostalgic, even if they didn’t like the reason as to why.

For two periods they watched as the Northeast Generals built a 2-0 lead and a strong case for their first victory in the NAHL. The veterans of both the Knights roster and coaching staff no doubt remember the clamor and struggle it took for their own program to achieve the same feat just under 13 months ago.

Still, as the third period started and time began winding down, the Knights didn’t lose sight of their focus in year two; win in all circumstances.

The context of the 2-0 hole they found themselves in wasn’t overly complicated. Generals captain Colin Bilek had found the back of the net twice in the first period and Central Scouting Watch List member Gabe Vinal had been perfect through 40 minutes of play.

He would remain that way through the first 12 minutes of the third. Finally at 12:22 the Middletown line that had spurred the Knights to victory on Sunday, initiated the comeback effort Thursday. Matt Kidney beat Vinal on assists from Mike Gelatt and Khristian Acosta.

The Gelatt name would be re-entered on the scoresheet twice more a minute and a half later as Mike then set up his brother Tim to tie the game at 2 at 13:52. The goal was Tim’s first on the season.

The score would hold for another six minutes, where again the memories of the Knights first NAHL victory had to be swimming somewhere in the consciousness of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton bench. It was in early October of 2015 that the Knights, winless for an extended stretch in their inaugural season in tier-II hockey, topped the Johnstown Tomahawks at home and in overtime to secure their first victory.

With 59 seconds to play, Sam Antonitsch snapped any chance at a deja vu, with a goal to put the Knights ahead for good with the assist off the stick of Jesse Anderson.

The Northeast first victory celebration will have to wait once again, despite the team getting closer and closer to surmounting that first major hurdle.

For the Knights, they earned a much needed road-win and two points. The win was their second straight and sets the table for another road face off with Northeast today at 1 PM EST.

Top Performers:

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton:

Mike Gelatt: 0-2-2, +2

Matt Kidney: 1-0-1, +2

Khristian Acosta: 0-1-1, +2

Tim Gelatt: 1-0-1, +2

 

Grant Valentine: 30/32, 2.00 GAA, .938 sv%

Northeast Generals: 

Colin Bilek: 2-0-2, +/- 0

Gave Vinal, 38/41, 3.00 GAA, .927 sv%