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NAHL Recap: Knights Split Weekend with Tomahawks

On Saturday the Knights took the ice against the Johnstown Tomahawks for the fourth-consecutive meeting, and the sixth time in 2017-18. After Friday’s contest, in which the Knights forecheck and power play controlled play, game two of the weekend took a decided, defensive turn.

The first period saw each side exchange a fair number of chances, but goal tenders David Tomeo and Jack Leavy held their ground. The period’s lone tally was recorded at 4:58, when Samuel Solensky won a puck battle along the half wall and fed an open Roman Kraemer in front of Tomeo. Kramer made a quick move around the Knights starter and flipped the puck home to put Johnstown ahead by one. Carter Dwyer picked up the secondary assist.

In the second period the Tomahawks would strike again in the early going. Just prior to the 4:30 mark, Johnstown brought the puck over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton blue line with numbers. Tomeo made a spectacular save off a shot in close, but the effort pulled him out of the net. Samuel Solensky found the puck and flipped it through a scrum of Knights players trying to fill the pipes. Toby Sengvonxay and Roman Kraemer were credited with the helpers.

Though they would again put shots on net, the Knights could not solve Jack Leavy. The East Division veteran stopped all 20 shots he faced through the first two periods. The Tomahawks back check did their part in limiting Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s access to high-scoring areas.

To start the third, the Knights comeback effort appeared to receive a boost when their power play was sent to work just 3:38 into the period. Instead, a mishandling of the puck in front of their own net resulted in Pavel Kharin poking home a shorthanded goal.

The 3-0 Johnstown lead held via the continued strong play of Leavy and his defense. With just under 5:00 to play, the Knights pulled Tomeo for the extra attacker. Johnstown promptly took a penalty with 4:21 remaining to give the Knights a 6-on-4 advantage. Matt Kidney responded with his third goal of the weekend, set up by Anthony Firriolo and Mike Gelatt at 16:10.

Following a short stretch of 5-on-5, the Knights would pull Tomeo again with 3:04 left on the clock. Despite a few chances generated, the Knights could not pull any closer, and at 18:04, Samuel Solensky put the game on ice with an empty net goal (Donovan Ott).

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton wont dwell long on the defeat, as the team will turn around to play the Philadelphia Rebels on Wedensday, November 22nd at 2:30 PM EST. The game can be viewed at www.hockeytv.com. Follow Knights social media and check back at www.wbsknights.com for all news and updates!

EHL Weekend Recap: Knights Split Weekend in Massachusetts

Photo: Jessica Kovalcin

FRIDAY:

Entering play this weekend, the Knights looked to bounce back following two losses in the November EHL Showcase. Their first opponent, the Boston Jr. Rangers, began Friday as the leader of the league’s Boston division.

Things began slowly for the Knights, as the Jr. Rangers carried early play, out-shooting the Knights 20-10. Boston notched their first goal halfway through the opening frame. Zach Norby fired in off the rush to bury the puck, assisted by Filip Steussloff and Daniil Ovchinnikov. Anthony Nikoloplous followed that up by flipping a puck by Knights goalie Thomas Walker off helpers from Bobby Kinsey and Damien Dangueuger to put the Rangers up 2-0. A third Boston goal would be put on the board at 18:26, when John Grealish capitalized just 10 seconds into the Knights first penalty of the game (Jared Bernis, Norby).

The Knights would not quit. Their captain and leading-scorer, Jake Fuss fired a puck past goalie Ben Parker in the 1st period’s final second. The tally was Fuss’ 20th of the season. The lone assist was attributed to Anthony Starzi, as the Knights went to the locker room down 3-1.

In the middle frame, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton found themselves plagued by penalties. After taking just one in the first, the team was assessed four in the second. While serving their second infraction, they received a major boost when Nate Chuckran broke loose to register his first goal since being traded to the Knights. He was assisted by Emerson Emery on Chuckran’s fifth tally of the season to pull Wilkes-Barre/Scranton within one.

The Jr. Rangers reclaimed their two-goal lead just over a minute later when Tyler Gardiner pushed a puck past Walker on the set up from Ryan Tierney and Jared Bernis. The Knights came back in the period’s final minute to trim the score to 4-3 when Alex Morawski found the net off of Chuckran’s assist. Unrelenting, Boston struck a final time before the period closed, when at 19:51, Ryan Tierney picked up his second point to rebuild the two-goal lead to end the second (Gardiner, Danny Dorabella).

In the third, the Knights penalty troubles continued, sapping their efforts to draw even. Both offenses found less success mounting chances on net, as Walker and Parker were tested for just 10 shots combined.

At the final horn, the Knights took a 5-3 loss.

SATURDAY:

Saturday brought with it another road game against a team from the EHL’s Boston Division. The Knights continued their Massachusetts trip with a showdown against the East Coast Wizards.

The Knights offense began on the right foot, when Jake Fuss threw a puck on net off a face-off win. The rebound off of Wizards netminder Korbinian Lutz’s pads found its way to the stick of Anthony Starzi. Starzi poked it home for the game’s first goal at 3:34. Emerson Emery followed with his second of the year, assisted by Alex Morawski just shy of the 7:00 mark, to put the Knights up 2-0.

In the second half of the period, the Knights penalty woes appeared to continue when they found themselves facing 1:27 of 5-on-3 shorthanded play at 13:38. The Wizards promptly took a penalty eight seconds later and another at 14:53. The see-saw swing in penalties eventually put the Knights on an abbreviated 5-on-3 followed by a similarly shortened period of 5-on-4. Through it all, neither team found the net, and the first ended with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton up 2-0.

To begin the second period, the Wizards came out swinging with strong pressure off the forecheck. Thomas Walker turned away all East Coast offerings to keep the Knights up by two. East Coast’s aggressive attack turned against them as they took back-to-back penalties to give the Knights another 5-on-3. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton capitalized when Tyler Nielsen buried a power play offering on the two-man advantage to create a 3-0 lead at 5:21.

Following the expiration of the second penalty at 7:08, the Wizards took another penalty at 7:37. Their penalty kill took matters into their own hands when Michael Namon finished off a shorthanded 2-on-1 with a goal to put East Coast on the board (Devin Panzeca, Mike Bermingham).

Unable to find a goal on the remaining power play time, the tide turned against the Knights. In short succession they took a 5-minute major accompanied by a bench minor to create a long 5-on-3. Just 45 seconds into the disadvantage the Knights took another penalty for cross-checking to extend the 5-on-3 further.

After testing Walker unsuccessfully for an extended span, the Wizards finally broke through on the power play at 10:52 when Mike Bermingham found a rebound off a Josh Loveridge shot. East Coast pulled within one, but the Knights survived the rest of the 5-on-3. As David Pfoestl stepped out of the box to return his team to full-strength, the Knights found numbers on the rush. Anthony Starzi buried his second tally of the game off a feed from Rhett Padgett to regain the two-goal lead.

The Wizards refused to halt their comeback. At 17:37, Devin Panzeca’s bouncing shot found the twine, set up by Matt Fuller and Chase Davenport, again pulling East Coast within one. After the dust settled at the end of the frame, the Knights found themselves still ahead 4-3.

Beginning the third on carryover power play time, the Knights capitalized as Austin Weber picked up his first goal with the Knights with helpers coming from Fuss and Padgett at 1:30. Three minutes later Jake Fuss tacked on the Knights sixth goal of the evening to put his team in front 6-3.

Midway through the period, East Coast was assessed a five-minute major for high-sticking, giving the Knights time to add insurance. A good bounce off a David Pfoestl shot found Jake Fuss on an open post, where the Knights captain promptly notched his second goal of the game at 8:28.

Down 7-3, following their return to full-strength, the Wizards swapped Lutz for Alec Marshall. Marshall stayed steady as East Coast chipped at the Knights lead with an even-strength tally at 13:59 from Alec Deluca (Matt Gulack).

The 7-4 score would hold through to the end of the game, as the Knights earned their eighth win of the year. The team will enjoy Thanksgiving before heading off to Connecticut for a two-game road trip against the Rough Riders on November 25th and 26th. The games will be broadcast on hockeytv.com. Follow @WBSKnightsEHL on Twitter and visit www.wbsknights.com and www.easternhockeyleague.org for updates!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EHL: Knights Fall to Walpole to Close November Showcase

Photo: Jessica Kovalcin

On day two of the EHL’s Novemver Showcase, the Knights took on their second-straight Boston division opponent in the Walpole Express. The Express entered play second in their division with a record of 12-5-3, having lost game one of their showcase to the Philadelphia Revolution.

After a quiet start, both teams began to pick up their pressure as the first half progressed. With Austin Smith in net for Walpole and Jared Stahel anchoring the pipes for the Knights, both goalies faced a high number of chances in the opening 25 minutes. Smith stopped all 13 shots he faced, but the Express bested Stahel and the Knights defense twice in 19 tries.

The first goal came at 13:57 when Chris Peters poked a George Thurston wraparound rebound home to put the Express on the board. A second Walpole tally came at 19:12, when on the power play, Ryan Campbell ripped a puck from the circle past Stahel off assists from Chris Gratton and Eric Wright. The 2-0 lead held for the Express through the end of the first half.

Coming out of the intermission, Walpole quickly built a 3-0 lead when Peters found the net for a second time, assisted by Bryan Colburn just over two minutes in. Steady play from Smith in net held the Knights at bay until the 9:27. On a power play, Anthony Starzi and Denys Arkhypenko sifted the puck through traffic in front to find Jake Fuss on the back post for the Knights captain’s 19th goal of the season.

The Express responded 28 seconds later when William Lebel put home a 2-on-1 rush started by Peters. Smith and Stahel then engaged in a 10-minute trade of strong saves, with the Express holding the edge in number of chances. The Knights would finally break through Smith’s steady play at 19:49 when JP Natishan picked up his second goal of the season off a redirect of Zach Ouladelhadjahmed’s shot, set up by a Brady Hanson pass.

Within two, the Knights forecheck picked up its pace and intensity but could not solve Smith. Following an unsuccessful power play that expired at 23:42, the Knights pulled Stahel, who finished 36/40 on the day, shortly thereafter. The Express didn’t take long to ice the game, as Tyler Pietrzyk buried an empty-net goal, unassisted at 24:38.

At the horn, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton found themselves on the wrong side of a 5-2 final. They’ll look to get back on track against the Boston Jr. Rangers at the Breakway Ice Centre this Friday, November 17th, at 7:50 pm EST. The game can be viewed on hockeytv.com. Stay tuned to @WBSKnightsEHL on twitter and visit easternhockeyleague.org for updates.

EHL: Knights Drop Close Contest with Seahawks

Photo: Jessica Kovalcin

On Sunday, the Knights traveled to Haverhill Valley Forum for the second EHL Showcase Series of the season. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton went in search of a win to snap a two-game losing streak. Their two-game showcase began with a showdown with the Total Athletics Seahawks out of the EHL’s Boston Division.

In the two-half, showcase format, the first started out with each team trading chances and zones without much sustained offensive zone time. Knights goalie Thomas Walker and Seahawks starter Brandon Collett didn’t make it easy on shooters, as each stayed steady between the pipes. On the Seahawks first penalty of the day, the Knights set up a great shift in which Denys Arkhypenko cycled to Jake Fuss who turned the puck to an open Rhett Padgett. Padgett buried the puck past Collett to give his team a 1-0 lead off his third tally of the season.

Seattle would answer with steady pressure, most evident at the 22:35 mark of the period when they forced an odd-man rush that turned into a breakaway.  In their efforts to get back, the Knights tripped up the puck carrier, resulting in a penalty shot. Ariel Kapulkin took the opportunity and capitalized with a nice goal through the pads of Walker to even the score. A late penalty against the Knights slowed their efforts to regain the lead before the teams went to the dressing rooms.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton finished off the penalty to start the second half, but the Seahawks were aggressive on the attack. They continued to put pressure on Walker, and keep the Knights opportunities limited primarily to coming off the rush.

At 7:40 into the frame, the Knights took a double minor for high-sticking. They killed off 3:54 of the penalty but with six seconds remaining, Austin Roy ripped a shot through to take a 2-1 lead. The assists went to John Banovetz and Korey Muzzy.

The Knights would continue to pressure off the rush, but the Seahawks would still slightly carry play. Both netminders fended off a good number of quality chances to keep the score 2-1 to the game’s final 64 seconds.

With 1:04 left and an offensive zone draw upcoming, the Knights pulled Walker and called a timeout. Though they kept the puck mostly in the attacking zone, survived one chance on the empty net, and generated quality shots from the middle of the ice, the Knights could not solve Collett. Time ran out on the comeback effort, dropping the Knights to 7-12-0 on the year.

Thomas Walker stopped 35 of 37 shots in the loss and the Knights power play was 1-1. They’ll look to build on those positive developments as they take on Walpole Express tomorrow morning at 11:05 am EST.  The game will be broadcast on hockeytv.com. Follow the Knights on twitter at @WBSKnightsEHL and visit www.easternhockeyleague.org for updates!

Knights Streak Ends in Shutout Loss to Tomahawks

Coming off the roller coaster ride of a seven-round shootout Friday, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton looked to extend their winning streak to six games. Two points would go along way in continuing to cement their current home atop the NAHL standings. Johnstown had other ideas. After skating well in game one, the Tomahawks entered play determined to finish this weekend’s series with the Knights on a high note.

The game began with both sides looking the part of teams that had skated 65 minutes the night prior. Neither forecheck could find a rhythm in the first period, while the majority of the frame was played with an abundance of transition but a lack offensive chances.

In net again for the Tomahawks stood Britt League. Coming off a tough-luck loss his memory was short as the netminder would again mount an impressive display between the pipes, stopping all eight shots faced in the first. His counterpart, David Tomeo was steady a well, blanking the Tomahawks through the first 17 minutes of the period.

Things finally broke at 17:41, when fresh off a penalty, the Tomahawks climbed the boards quickly, led by the puck handling of Andrew Andary. Just as he did Friday, Andary fed Christian Gorscak on a crisp, cross-ice set up that the latter deflected home for the game’s first goal.

Deja vu was the prevailing theme of the evening as a late period goal came back to bite the Knights again. Assisted by Andy Nedeljkovic, Samuel Solensky buried a power play one-timer past Tomeo to give the Tomahawks a 2-0 lead in the dying seconds of the first.

The second period that followed saw both sides traded chances and a penalty apiece, but neither League nor Tomeo flinched, as both teams were held off the board. Tomeo was especially impressive in a mid-period stretch of minutes in which the Tomahawks hemmed the Knights in their own zone for several straight shifts. The goalie from  West Caldwell, New Jersey would stare down multiple chances through traffic to keep the lead within striking distance.

The Knights would battle back in the third, outshooting and out-chancing the Tomahawks for much of the period, but the attackers could not solve Britt League. Johnstown would put the contest away late in the third when Roman Kraemer found the empty net off a helper from Andrew Quetell. The Tomahawks would go on to win 3-0, the first shutout loss the Knights have sustained this season.

The teams will meet again next Friday and Saturday November 17th and 18th at 3:00 PM and 2:30 PM, respectively.  Both games will be played at the Revolution Ice Centre in Pittston, PA. If you plan on attending Saturday’s game, bring three cans of food or three non-perishable items to earn a free ticket! The game will be broadcast on hockeytv.com. Stay tuned to all Knights social media and www.wbsknights.com for all news and updates!

Knights Jump to First Place with Shootout Win Over Johnstown

On Friday, the Knights entered Johnstown with the NAHL’s and East Division’s second-highest point total. They left the 1st Summit Arena at the Cambria County War Memorial in first place across the board. Getting there wasn’t easy.

A back-and-forth first period saw Wilkes-Barre/Scranton mount 11 shots on Johnstown’s veteran goalie Britt League. He answered them all. The Tomahawks responded with seven offerings on Knights starter Christian Stoever. Tomahawks forward Christian Gorscak squeezed the lone goal of the first past Stoever at 9:08 on the set up by Andrew Andary and Pavel Kharin.

In the second period the Knights would continue to plug away, increasing their shot total to 24 on League, while Stoever turned away all eight shots sent on his net in the frame. The Knights continued pressure was rewarded when at 6:31, when Michael Morrissey found Reed Robinson with space above the circles on a power play. The big-bodied forward continued his stellar season when he walked the puck down, picked his spot and fired a dart past League to tie the game at one with his 10th goal of the season.

The game went to the third period gridlocked 1-1. The Knights broke the tie when Jack Olmstead lofted a long stretch pass to Matt Kidney behind the defense. Kidney marched in on goal alone and ripped a shot by League to give the Knights the 2-1 lead.

It appeared the advantage would be the final score as time ran down to the final seconds with Tomahawks still trailing and their net emptied. Instead, in regulation’s final moments, Samuel Solensky dug a puck out of a pile on the Knights half wall, sent it behind the net, where Andy Nedeljkovic centered it in front to a crashing Toby Sengvongxay. Sengvongxay pushed the puck past Stoever with 0.2 seconds left on the clock to force OT.

In the three-on-three extra time, neither side could solve each other’s netminder as Stoever and League stood down all chances on goal. The game moved to the shootout, and with the transition continued each goalie’s stellar play. Through the first two rounds, neither team scored. In round three, Reed Robinson buried his chance to give the Knights an opportunity to win. Andy Nedeljkovic kept his clutch night going by tying the shootout with a last-chance effort in the bottom of the third.

In hockey’s version of extra innings neither team found the net in the next three rounds. Christian Stoever made two incredible saves in rounds five and six  to rob Sam Solensky and Donovan Ott. Stoever’s save on Solensky came off a great move in front, while Ott was robbed with a mid-air puck deflection off of Stoever’s stick.

In the top of the 7th round, Knights first-round pick Gabe Temple ripped a puck past League to again move his team into the lead. Faced with another last-chance, down the ice came Tomahawks captain Cade Groton to attempt to tie the contest once more. He drove hard to the front of the net, but Stoever went down and turned the puck away for the Knights victory.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s fifth-straight win, and 10th-straight game with a point or more, now moves the team to 13-3-3. Their 29 points leads the East Division and the NAHL. They’ll look to keep their hot streak going with another competition in Johnstown tonight. Puck drop is at 7:00 pm EST. The game can be viewed on http://www.hockeytv.com. Stay tuned to Knights social media and nahl.com for updates!

 

 

Weekend Preview: Knights Set for Two-Game Showdown with Tomahawks

The Knights are riding high entering this weekend’s competition with the Johnstown Tomahawks. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has won four-straight games and has recorded a point or better in nine consecutive contests. Following last weekend’s sweep of the division-leading Generals, the Knights are one point behind Northeast for first place in the East  and the highest point total in the NAHL.

Across the ice this weekend stand the Johnstown Tomahawks. The blue-collar team may be in the midst some early season struggles, but that does not diminish their talent nor their competitive, physical style of play. Following two, one-goal defeats and an overtime point earned in their last two meetings with the Knights, the Tomahawks went on to beat the Philadelphia Rebels and New Jersey Titans in two of their next five games.

“Half our team are newcomers-getting in there and getting into that first period is a main goal of the staff right now,” said head coach Tom Kowal in the latest edition of Coach’s Corner. “It’s that first road trip to Johnstown. You can tell all your players all about the atmosphere and the rink, the history of Slapshot being there, but until you get there and get them into the first period-I think the staff will relax a little after the first period Friday night. Even when Johnstown is struggling, they’re tough to play against.”

In order to succeed this weekend, the Knights will have to slow down Sam Solensky and Joe Kile, the Tomahawks top two scorers this season. Solensky and Kile have each  scored a single goal in both of the prior two meetings between the teams. Johnstown is also bolstered by the East Division’s second-best power play, converting chances at a steady 21.3%.

For their part, the Knights would like to bolster a power play that has been inconsistent this season. While it has improved of late, it currently ranks last in the division at 16.1%. It will be faced by a Johnstown penalty kill that nullifies 70.9% of its penalties.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has had few issues scoring in all other circumstances, as the team is tied for the lead league in goals for per game at 3.61, and is third in shorthanded scores with 4.

Leading the Knights offense is Jack Olmstead, fresh off being named Eastern Division Star of the Week for his five points in three games against the Generals last weekend (2-3-5, 1 GWG). His 10 goals and 11 assists in 16 games played is tied for the fifth-most points scored in the league. His 1.31 points-per-game and +/- of +15 are best in the NAHL among qualified skaters.

He’s joined in the pont-per-game or better club by Reed Robinson, who’s second on the Knights with nine goals and 10 assists in 18 games. Matt Kidney is close behind with 5-12-17 in 18 games, as are Curtis Carlson 7-9-16 in 18 gp and new Bemidji State commitment Tyrone Bronte with 5-7-12 in 13.

Along the blue line, the Knights will continue to look for offense from Tom Farrell, who leads Knights defenders with nine points in 16 games, and Anthony Firriolo, who has seven assists in as many games since being traded to the Knights.

In goal, the Tomahawks can turn to recently acquired, East Division veteran Jack Leavy, or long-tenured Tomahawk Britt League. The duo have combined for 44 games played and record of 24-8-6 over their past two seasons in the NAHL.

The Knights will have a choice between 2017 third-round draft pick Christian Stoever and 2017 tender David Tomeo. Stoever went 2-0 last weekend, stopping 52 of 56 shots on goal against the other top-ranked offense in the NAHL. He’s 2-0 against Johnstown this year with an overtime victory. Tomeo’s  numbers have been steady when in the net this year as the 18-year old has a 4-1 record to go along with a 2.56 goals against and a .918 save percentage.

The Eastern Division clash will start tonight at 7:30 pm EST. :The game can be viewed at hockeytv.com. Stay tuned to Knights social media and www.wbsknights.com for updates!

 

Knights Alumni Khristian Acosta and Paul DeNaples Sign Letters of Intent

Congrats to Knights alumni Khristian Acosta and Paul DeNaples on signing their letters of intent today. Starting next season, Acosta will play for UMass Hockey while DeNaples will skate for Penn State Men’s Hockey.

Tyrone Bronte Commits to Bemidji State University

On Monday evening Knights forward Tyrone Bronte announced his decision to commit to Bemidji State University, an NCAA division one hockey program out of the WCHA conference. Bronte, a ’99 forward, has been a key part of the Knights success this season tallying five goals and seven assists in 13 games.

“We’re very proud that Tyrone had made his commitment to play for Bemidji State,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal. “He has worked very hard to turn into a gifted forward with and without the puck and maximizes his talent with his effort on and off the ice. He’s a smart and skilled player who consistently elevates the play of his teammates. Our numbers and our record this year are a lot better with him than without him.”

In the 13 games that Bronte has played for the Knights, the team is 11-1-1. They’re 1-2-2 without him.

“Tyrone’s heading to a good program with a history of winning hockey. He’s going to help continue that trend. Bemidji is getting a good one.”

The Bemidji State Beavers are coming off a season in which they won the MacNaughton Cup, awarded to the team that finishes with the best record in the WCHA conference at the end of the regular season.  The program has made several long runs in the NCAA tournament since jumping up to Division I level in the 1999-2000 season. Notable program alumni include current Philadelphia Flyers forward Matt Read along with former NHL players like Calgary Flames standout and US Olympian Joel Otto, forward Andrew Murray,  and defenseman Gary Sargent.

“Bemidji’s hockey program is exquisite,” said Bronte of his future home. “They have really great facilities. Their rink is gorgeous, the locker room is as well. From the beginning, their coaching staff was up front and honest with me about their interest. They made it a point that they really wanted me. They came to me after only the first few games to let me know. Their interest in me sparked my interest in them.”

A native of Australia, Bronte has transitioned well since coming to the US. His play at the midget and junior level has consistently turned heads, enough to earn him the right to play at the highest level of college hockey.

“It’s a dream for me. I came to America to play division one hockey,” he said. “My goal is to one day play in the NHL. Playing DI is a step in that direction. It helps me and helps my family.”

As for the rest of the current season, Bronte is focused on continuing the Knights recent success and continuing to develop his own game.

“Right now we’re doing well. We’re playing well as a team and as individuals. My motto has always been to put the team first, because I believe that team success brings about individual success.”

Through all his success, Bronte hasn’t lost sight of those who’ve helped him along his way.

“I’d like to thank my parents and my brother for their support through this,” he said. “I’d like to thank God for granting me my talents and blessing me on this journey.”

Knights Sign Jeffrey Bertrand to NAHL Tender Agreement

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights are happy to announce they’ve signed forward Jeffrey Bertrand to a tender agreement. Bertrand, a 2001 birth year from Anchorage, Alaska already owns an impressive hockey resume.

“I’m a skilled, power forward,” said the 6-2, 170 16-year old. “I like to play a very intense style of hockey: fast and aggressive. I like skating down deep, putting pucks on net, and setting up my teammates.”

After standing out for the Alaska Oilers U15 AAA Midget program in 2016-17 (10-19-29 in 32 GP), Bertrand landed a roster spot with USA Hockey’s U17 team for their Five Nations Tournament in the Czech Republic this past August. Jeffrey was a key part of a gold-medal finish for the U.S. in the tournament.

“To play for team USA, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” he said. “I was proud to play for my country. They took really good care of us. We had a good group. It was a different experience playing in the Czech Republic. The game’s played a little bit differently there. They have different street signs and handshakes, but it was really special.“

Bertrand continues to play for the Alaska Oilers in 2017-18 at the U16 level of their organization, but he’ll have his chance to preview junior hockey.

“We’re happy to have Jeffrey as a tender for our NAHL program,” said head coach Tom Kowal. “Keep an eye on the roster, as he’ll have an opportunity to be an affiliate player for us later on this season. We’re excited to see what he brings to the NAHL level.”

The role of affiliate player will allow Bertrand the opportunity to play in a select number of games for the Knights in their 2017-18 NAHL campaign.

“I’m just excited,” he said on his feelings following his tender. “I’ve heard nothing but good things about the Knights. I’m pumped to play for them and I’m looking forward to playing junior hockey.”

Having scouted and evaluated the forward personally, Knights Assistant GM Justin Schreiber is fully aware of the potential Bertrand brings to the table.

“Jeff is one of those rare players that can take over a game with his high-end skill and physicality,” said Schreiber. “He’s consistently one of the hardest workers on the ice, a guy you hate to play against. He is an exciting addition to our organization.”