Tag Archives: Wilkes-Barre

Knights Start Final Week of Regular Season with Win

An afternoon of firsts help Knights to 28th victory

Coming off a 10-day break, the final road game of the Knights regular season was an important dress rehearsal for a team bound for the playoffs in under two weeks’ time. With a mixed road trip to Alaska behind them, the Knights next opponent on tap was hardly one to overlook.

Despite their record, the Northeast Generals have proven throughout the 2016-17 season to be a tricky matchup for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. In prior action, the Knights are the only team the expansion Generals have bested twice this season and saw a number of their meetings go right down to the wire. Even more recently, Northeast recorded an impressive east division victory with a 3-2 win over an impressive Johnstown Tomahawks team on March 31st.

A common denominator for the Generals in the challenges they’ve presented the Knights was netminder David Fessenden. Entering Tuesday’s game, the Denver, Colorado-native had played the Knights five times (the first coming with the Minnesota Magicians) recording a 2-2-0 record, with a sterling 0.98 GAA and a .972 save percentage. Never once had the big 6’6” goalie allowed more than one goal in a game against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

With the table set for their final meeting of the year, things got off to a slower start than both the Knights and Generals forecheck’s would have cared for. Making his first NAHL start, Knights goalie Liam Murray went toe-to-toe with Fessenden in the opening stanza, holding the Generals scoreless on eight shots. Fessenden was perfect through 18 minutes before Matt Kidney scored the game’s first tally on crisp passing from Curtis Carlson and Sam Antonitsch.

The second period began with the Knights pressing to build off their momentum gained at the end of the first. Though they were ultimately unsuccessful on a power play that bridged the first and second periods, they began to build their supply of chances around Fessenden’s residence. They were rewarded at 2:58 when Paul Cimilluca scored his third goal of the year (Latimer, Robinson).

The Generals did not fold in the face of mounting chances against, and as the period progressed they began mounting a slew of their own, including a number of 2-on-1 rushes. Finally, at the 11:11 mark, Northeast broke their drought when with the help of Justin Jallen and Christian Thomas, Joe Vingi beat Murray for his first goal of the year.

With the lead trimmed back to one, the Knights pushed back with a tally of their own when Reed Robinson and Jake Fuss set up Vince Marino at 15:06. The secondary helper was Fuss’ first NAHL point, scored in his third game as an affiliate player with the Knights after leading the organization’s NA3AHL team with 65 goals, 64 assists and 129 points in 33 games played this year. The Generals would counter with Anthony Mangano’s sixth goal of the season (Weinstein, Bilek) to close out the period and again trim the lead back to one.

With what appeared to be yet another close finish building heading into the third, the Knights returned to the ice with renewed resolve. Markuss Komuls walked the puck down from the blue line and ripped a wrister past Fessenden to kick off scoring in the stanza at 3:26 (Morrissey, Danchenko). Fed by Joe Schuler and Tim Gelatt, Jimmy Elser fueled a buzzing Knights attack at 5:52 by flipping a back hand shot up over the big goalie to build a 5-2 advantage.

Just a minute and a half later, Matt Kidney followed up with his second tally of the game with setup coming from Cimilluca and Carlson. Tim Gelatt and Mike Morrissey continued the onslaught by feeding the puck to a waiting Jake Fuss who found his first NAHL goal on the power play at 11:37.

One power play goal and one first-NAHL goal would not prove to be enough for a hungry Wilkes-Barre/Scranton attack as Elijah Latimer would add another score for both categories at 13:02 (Mike Gelatt, Kidney) to cap off the Knights eight-goal day. Parker Swanson relieved Fessenden following the score, entering at 14:15 in the third.

The scoring would finally come to a close following Colin Bilek finding the twine for a Generals-best 18th time on the year at 15:21, set up on the power play by Anthony Mangano and Kohei Sato. As the dust from a six-goal third period settled, the Knights found themselves looking fondly up at the scoreboard and the scoresheet on their way to win number 28 on the season. At the end of the day, 15 of the 18 dressed skaters for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton recorded a point, eight of whom recorded at least two. In addition to Fuss and Latimer earning their first goals (and Fuss his first assist), Liam Murray made 21 of 24 saves on his way to his first NAHL victory.

The Knights will have little time to celebrate as they close out the regular season with a home-home series with the formidable New Jersey Titans this Friday, April 7th and Saturday April 8th at the Revolution Ice Centre. Friday will be Hawaiian Night at the rink, with Saturday acting as NAHL Billet Appreciation Night. Both games are set for 7:30 pm faceoff. All fans are invited to come out and support the Knights as they charge toward the playoffs.

Knights Muster Shutout Win

In what has become a defensive-minded weekend, the Knights proved their grit for the second time in the past 48 hours, this time against the Northeast Generals.

Entering Saturday night, the Knights held a 7-2 advantage in the season head-to-head, but with the caveat of a more than few close contests with the first-year Generals. Northeast’s most recent win came against the Knights back on February 11th at the Revolution Ice Centre in a 3-1 affair.

One pillar for the Generals this season has been their goaltending. Saturday’s starter David Fessenden entered play with five games against the Knights between time with the Generals and Minnesota Magicians. In those combined efforts against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, he had a 2-1 record with a lucrative .975 save percentage and a goals against of just 0.92. Standing at 6’6″,  the towering Denver, Colorado native presented the Knights with a formidable obstacle to winning their second straight game.

Matt Kidney stepped to the plate for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in Saturday’s early-going, notching his 15th goal of the season at 7:58 in the first period. The tally was set up on the Knights first power play of the game, off two crisp passes from Paul Maust and Curtis Carlson before Kidney just flipped the puck past a lunging Fessenden.

The goal came just at the right time, following a sluggish start for the Knights and a Generals power play in the game’s first five minutes that forced Grant Valentine to make a number of tough saves. The early work for the Knights workhorse netminder would prove to be a necessary jump start to the team’s defensive efforts.

The game’s first period was ruled by a parade to the penalty box, with each team incurring three minor infractions. The Knights, fresh off a perfect 4-for-4 shorthanded performance against Aston’s third-ranked power play, continued their momentum throughout Saturday to end the first period, going 3-for-3, to hold a 1-0 lead.

Galvanized by a few near misses in the opening frame, the Generals came out with purpose in the second, mounting a number of shots on goal, again testing Valentine repeatedly. Their shot totals would amount to a near 2-1 advantage for the period as they outshot the Knights 15-8.  Their efforts appeared to be rewarded at 6:21 when off a scramble in front, the puck found its way past Valentine. Instead, the goal was disallowed for Northeast making contact with the goalie.

Another penalty per side would again see the Knights emerge unscathed on the PK, but their power play bogged down after its fast start. At 17:03, their kill unit received its most important test of the evening when Paul Cimilluca was assessed a 5-minute major for boarding. Following a successful shorthanded 2:57, the Knights maintained their 1-goal lead heading into the second intermission.

In need of a lockdown start to the third, the Knights received it as the combined efforts of the kill unit and Valentine kept the Generals scoreless for the remainder of the major penalty. In a more even period than the second, the Knights and Generals traded chances at a fairly even pace. The Northeast effort took a blow at 11:03 when David Fessenden was contacted by a teammate in the crease and forced to leave the contest. Parker Swanson came in relief and was quickly tested with a Knights power play just two minutes into his taking of the ice.

On the ensuing man-advantage, the Knights held the puck in the offensive zone for the entirety of the minor, but continual passing around the perimeter resulted in just a few shots on goal. The Generals completed the kill and quickly flipped to the power play at 15:26. The Knights again turned them away, completing a perfect 6-for-6 penalty kill effort on the evening. With the goalie pulled in the game’s final minute, the Generals were unable to maintain the offensive zone long enough to find an equalizer, and the Knights skated away with 1-0 victory.

The 29-save effort on the part of Valentine and the team’s 6-for-6 penalty kill spurred the Knights on to their second straight victory.  They’ll look to make it three and a row this afternoon with 2:00 pm faceoff at home against Northeast.

Knights Win Shootout Thriller Over Aston

Knights back over .500 with dramatic win

Entering Friday, the Knights were in search of a strong start their March campaign-a month that will see them play three games this weekend before a two-week road trip for four games in Alaska. Being just the fourth game in the prior 26 days, the Knights entered their final regular season meeting with Aston on Friday night a well-rested roster. That didn’t mean things hadn’t been hard in recent games. Of the prior three, two were decided by shootout, and one by a three-goal rally by Johnstown in the third. All three ended in losses.

Their luck against Aston has not been much better. Heading into Friday night, the Rebels boasted a league-best 25 wins at home to go along with a just two regulation losses and one in OT. They were a perfect 5-0 against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at the Ice Works Skating Complex.

Things had a familiar feel when just six minutes into the first, Evgeny Yakovlev deflected a puck past Grant Valentine to give the Rebels a 1-0 lead. The Knights however, did not falter. Through a low-shot, back and forth period, the Knights were presented with a power play opportunity when Yakovlev was sent to the box with just over three minutes left in the frame. With 15 seconds left on the man advantage, Mike Gelatt would respond with the equalizer on his 10th tally of the season from Robinson and Dawson.

The second period would follow a similar script. Shot totals again failed to crack double digits for both teams as defense dictated the game’s tempo. The Knights penalty kill was able to fend off two power play chances in the period’s first six minutes, providing frustration to the Rebels 3rd-ranked power play unit. After being granted an opportunity on the man-advantage at 14:46, the Knights were again able to capitalize. Following a cycle and shot from Matt Kidney and Elijah Latimer, Curtis Carlson scooped up the loose change in front and beat Jack Leavy inside the post at 16:26.

Entering the third, the Knights found themselves with a rare lead over the Rebels. After being frustrated by Grant Valentine and the Knights defense and penalty kill, Aston finally broke through at 6:06 into the third when captain Dom Garcia scored off helpers from Brennan Kapcheck and Dustin Manz. The final 14 minutes saw each team fail on a power play and both goalies standing tall enough to force overtime.

Having already played a total of 10 minutes of overtime in two of their last three games, the Knights were no strangers to the prospect of 3-on-3. Perhaps that is why Aston managed just one shot in the extra frame, as the Knights did well to limit grade-A chances on goal. That being said, the Knights managed just one shot of their own, punctuated by a dramatic breakaway by Adrian Danchenko in the final seconds of OT. Though he was ultimately denied by a last-second hooking by Kapcheck, the resulting nine-second power play, also unsuccessful, provided the Knights a shot of momentum transitioning into the shootout.

Sam Antonitsch began Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s third shootout effort in their last four games by ringing a shot off the post. Carter Wooley responded with a goal to put the Rebels up 1-0. Paul Maust answered with his second shootout tally in as many tries. Grant Valentine’s stop of Andrew Hart set the score even at 1 heading into a pivotal round three. Both Valentine and Leavy stopped their challengers in Reed Robinson and Jensen Zerban, respectively to force a round four. Adrian Danchenko, given his second chance in alone and this time unencumbered by a trailing defenseman, drew Leavy out of the net and maneuvered around the falling goalie to flip puck home and the Knights ahead 2-1. Valentine then stoned Brennan Kapcheck to close out the regular season series against Aston with a dramatic win.

Now back over .500 at 24-23-1-3, the Knights will return to the Revolution Ice Centre Saturday for a home-and-home series with the Northeast Generals.

Little Knights 2017 Tryout Schedule Announced

Wednesday, 3/29/17

Revolution Ice Centre, 12 Old Boston Road, Pittston, PA 18640

5:30 pm to  6:30 pm – Squirt Tier 1 Tryout

6:30 pm to 7:30 pm – Pee Wee Tier 1 Tryout

 

Friday, 3/31/17

Revolution Ice Centre, 12 Old Boston Road, Pittston, PA 18640

5:30 pm to 6:30 pm – Squirt Tier 1 Tryout

6:45 pm to 7:45 pm – Pee Wee Tier 1 Tryout

8:00 pm to 9:00 pm – Bantam Tier 1 Tryout

 

Monday, 4/3/17

Revolution Ice Centre, 12 Old Boston Road, Pittston, PA 18640

5:45 pm to 6:45 pm – Mite Tryout

 

Wednesday, 4/5/17

Revolution Ice Centre, 12 Old Boston Road, Pittston, PA 18640

5:45 pm to 6:45 pm -Mite Tryout

 

Monday, 4/10/17

Revolution Ice Centre, 12 Old Boston Road, Pittston, PA 18640

5:30 pm to 6:30 pm – Squirt Tryout

6:30 pm to 7:30 pm – Pee Wee Tryout

7:45 pm to 8:45 pm – Bantam Tryout

 

 

Knights Fall in 8-Round Shootout in Johnstown

Knights drop final regular season meeting with Tomahawks in yet another nail-biter

Basking in the awe of the 40th anniversary of the hockey epic Slapshot, the rink it was filmed in and a ceremonial puck drop featuring the film’s legendary Hanson brothers, one could reasonably expect two star struck teams on the ice for Saturday’s matinee action. Instead fans were treated to a typical Knights-Tomahawks matchup; speed, lead changes and an abundance of physicality.

As they did the night before, the Knights struck first in game’s opening period when Reed Robinson notched his 10th tally of the year on assists from Michael Morrissey and Joey Verkerke. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton went to the dressing room with the lead in both shots and goals, leading 1-0 and 13-9, respectively.

The second period saw the Tomahawks bounce back, mounting more sustained offensive pressure to the tune of a 14-6 shot advantage and an equalizer at 13:14 from Riley Doyon set up by Hayden Rowan and Evan Somoza. Both teams’ penalty kill units proved sturdy once again as both went a perfect 2-2 through the first 40 minutes of play.

Through a pitched third period of play, Donovan Ott was first to find the net for the 25th time on the year at 9:34. The 2-1 Johnstown lead held for just under five minutes before Paul Maust scored for the second straight game, tying the contest at two. Both netminders would stand tall with Vinnie Purpura stopping 12 of 13 and Valentine saving 9 of 10 to send the game to overtime.

The Tomahawks would take the initiative in the extra frame, mounting a slew of chances on the Knights net. Things only became more difficult for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton when they were assessed a double-minor for high-sticking for the final 2:52 of OT. Through it all, Grant Valentine would prevail, stopping all seven shots he faced including a breakaway and a handful of chances from in close.

In the shootout, the Knights were given the first shot. Round one saw Michael Morrissey turned away by Purpura and Dalton Hunter stoned by Valentine. Round two would feature a beautiful deke and score from Paul Maust only to be answered by Nick Bruce beating Valentine up high under the crossbar. Both teams’ sticks would go silent for five rounds before Josh Norman buried the game-winner in the eighth round.

The final meeting between the Knights and Tomahawks for the 2016-17 regular season was a perfect representation of the competitive nature of the season series. Despite the Tomahawks taking the total tilt by a 9-3 margin, the head-to-head consistently played down to the wire. Of their 12 matchups, nine were decided by one goal. Four games went to overtime with two having to be settled in the shootout. The Knights won both games decided in overtime, while Johnstown took both games that went to the shootout.

Now at 23-23-1-3, the Knights will have a nice layoff to regroup before the next competition on the road in Aston on March 10th.

Johnstown Rallies Past Knights for Win

Tomahawks score three goals in 2:35 to pull off comeback victory

Coming off a week and a half of rest, the Knights looked to bounce back Friday night from a shootout loss in their prior contest against the New Jersey Titans. Instead they were served more hard knocks against the Tomahawks, a measuring stick game against one of the league’s more potent rosters.

Things started at a fast pace for the Knights when at 4:29, Curtis Carlson ladled a slick pass to Vince Marino who fired it past Johnstown goalie Drew Hotte. The Tomahawks were quick to reply, when Nick Bruce tipped a Dalton Hunter shot past Grant Valentine to tie the game at one.

At 14:44 The Knights would regain the lead when Paul Maust would crash the net and bury a rebound created by Jimmy Elser from Reed Robinson. The 2-1 lead would hold not only into the second intermission, but into the beginning of the third.

The second stanza saw the Knights open the period with a flurry of shots, with their forecheck controlling tempo. Around the 12:00 mark the Tomahawks would flip the ice and start pouring on offensive pressure and chances of their own. Both Valentine and Hotte would prove worthy adversaries to offenses building steam.

It would be the Knights forecheck that broke the scoreless stretch first. Just 56 seconds into the third, Mike Gelatt would deflect a Matt Kidney shot home to build a 3-1 Knights lead. Again the Tomahawks were quick to answer. At 2:52, with helpers coming from Rowan and Somoza, Mitchell Hale scraped a hard-fought goal off a pile in front of the net to trim the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton lead to one.

Just 35 seconds later, Logan Stork tacked on the equalizer set up by Brandon Young. The surge would continue just two minutes later when Reagan Wortz would score his first NAHL goal in his first NAHL game. The tally would also prove to be his first game-winner as the Tomahawks would hold for the game’s final 14:33 to skate away with the 4-3 win.

The loss puts the Knights record at 23-23-1-2. They’ll get their chance to bounce back tomorrow in Johnstown with puck drop set for 12:00 pm.

Four Knights to Attend Top Prospects Tournament

Quad

Paul Maust, Matt Kidney, Vince Marino and Dorian Dawson have been named to the NAHL’s annual Prospects Tournament. 

Four Knights will be making the trip to Plymouth, Michigan to represent the team and their division in the NAHL’s annual Top Prospect Tournament. The event will take place February 27th and 28th at the USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth in front of NCAA and NHL scouts.

As the current occupants of fourth place in the east, the Knights had three players selected to the all-division team. The addition of Vince Marino as a fourth player was via the NAHL Selects Roster.

Dorian Dawson, the team’s current assist leader and co-leader in points will be one of the east’s blue liners. Dawson was just named the NAHL’s defenseman of the month for January after scoring one goal and 10 assists, with a +7 mark in nine games played. On the year, the Ontario native marks 4th amongst all NAHL defensemen with 30 points (seven goals and 23 assists).

Joining Dawson is the other co-leader in points on roster, Paul Maust. Maust, after returning to the Knights in mid-September has been a tone-setter in his second year with the NAHL team. In 39 games played, the Butler, PA native has scored 12 goals and 18 assists. In that time he’s scored three game-winning goals, two power play goals and holds a +12 mark. His most impressive performance was on December 30th when he scored four goals and an assist against Kenai River.

Matt Kidney rounds out the Knights heading to Michigan. After being selected with the fifth overall pick in the 2016 NAHL Entry Draft, Kidney lit up the league, scoring 9-12-21 in 19 games played. In that stretch he was awarded the East Division Star of the Week the week of October 24th, before being named the League’s Forward of the Month for October. Since returning to the Knights at the beginning of 2017, he’s recorded four goals and five assists in 10 games played.

UPDATE: Vince Marino has been added to the NAHL Selects team. The Selects will be coached by  Karlis Zirnis of the Shreveport Mudbugs and Craig Doremus of the New Jersey Titans. For his part, Marino has compiled six goals and nine assists through 29 games in the 2016-2017 NAHL season. After missing some time with injury, the ’98 birth year has been a versatile piece and big-bodied forward for the Knights in his first NAHL season.

“We’re excited for Dorian, Paul, Matt getting an opportunity to perform on a stage in front of scouts from college and the NHL,” said head coach Tom Kowal.  “Of course we are also excited that Vince Marino will be joining the tournament with the NAHL Selects team. As I’ve said before, the hard work each of these players has placed into their career development is evident and now being rewarded. This is their chance to take advantage of the spotlight that’s being turned their way. That’s what we want for all of our players, and we’re thrilled when we can work with them to get these valuable opportunities.”

For the official rosters of each team in the upcoming tournament click here.

 

Knights Fall to Aston at Home

Box Score

On Tuesday, the Knights and Rebels met for the 11th time on the season. The Knights had won their last encounter back on December 17th, but the Rebels still controlled the head-to-head series with an 8-2 advantage.

The game started well enough for the Knights when Joey Kubachka registered his first goal of the season on assists from Andrew Jackson and Sam Antonitsch at 7:31 in the first. Antonitsch’s assist extended his point streak to 10 games, currently the best such mark in the NAHL.

Gvido Jansons would respond for the Rebels at 12:06 with his 14th goal of the season (Bellant, Garcia). Three minutes later Aaron Maguyon would tack on another when, following assists from Evgeny Yakovlev and Jensen Zerban, he fired a rebound over the shoulder of Matteo Esposito to give Aston the lead heading into the first intermission.

The Knights would draw even in the second when Joey Verkerke would send a  cross-zone pass to Tim Gelatt who found Joe Schuler with open space in front of Aston goalie Jack Leavy. Schuler ripped his fourth goal of the season home to tie the game at two.

Following a trade of offensive chances but the conclusion of a scoreless second, the Rebels would retake the lead when Gvido Jansons buried a power play goal (Kapcheck) just under four minutes into the third. Jensen Zerban scored just 16 seconds later when he took a pass from Auggie Moore, rolled off the half wall and fired a shot past Esposito to build a two-goal, Aston lead.

As the clock progressed, so too did the penalty minute totals. In the following five minutes, two fighting majors, two game misconducts, three roughing penalties, an unsportsmanlike penalty and a headbutting minor were dolled out between the two teams. Despite the heavy traffic in and out of the penalty boxes and the Knights hitting two posts, the penalty kills held firm.

In the game’s final two minutes, the Knights pulled their goalie for an extra attacker. At 18:59, with a flick of the stick, Gvido Jansons was able to find the empty net from his own end, unassisted to record the hat trick and put the game to bed.

With the loss, the Knights fall to 22-21-1-1. Their next opportunity to climb back up the East Division standings will come Saturday at 7:30 at home against the Northeast Generals.