Kaljian nets first game-winning goal.
Two goals in 54 seconds helped start a strong third period, leading to a 4-2 Knights win over the Maryland Black Bears Saturday night.
Having won the previous night in overtime, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton remains unbeaten by Maryland, owning a 6-0 season series advantage. The four point weekend elevates the Knights to within a point of the Northeast Generals for the final playoff spot in the division. Both teams have 16 games left in the regular season.
The grey and blue are now 17-23-4. Maryland falls to 14-28-6. They sit five points out of a playoff spot with only 12 left to play.
Maryland got an early start to this game when Jack Rudin scored on a rebound less than three minutes in. Wilkes-Barre was given two power plays to operate with in the first, but failed to produce. That trend wouldn’t carry over in the second, as their man advantage tied the game at one a piece with Jake Fuss netting his eighth of the season.
A shot to the net from Gabe Temple led to a mad scrum in the crease. Fuss was able to emerge from it and tuck the puck past Maryland keeper Anthony Del Tufo. The goal was the only tally registered in the middle period, despite Wilkes-Barre playing one of their best frames of the season, registering 17 shots on goal.
Head coach Tom Kowal would see his group get rewarded for their efforts to start the third period. With Maryland shorthanded again, rookie defenseman Davis Pennington slid a point shot through Del Tufo for his seventh goal of the season 1:10 into the frame. Pennington ranks second in goals by a rookie blue liner across the NAHL. The tally came on the power play, where the Knights went two-for-eight in the contest.
Their game-winning-goal came just 54 seconds later from former Brookings Blizzard forward John Kaljian. The 19-year-old scored the first game winner of his junior hockey career and ninth goal of the season. Kaljian caught a neutral zone pass from Pennington on the right side. The winger took a shot in the circle, then caught his own rebound for the 3-1 lead.
Maryland would score with the goaltender pulled in the final minute, but Adrian Danchenko followed that with an empty netter to ice it. The goal was Danchenko’s ninth of the year.
Zach Stejskal has been in goal for every Knights win this season. The former USHL net minder took credit for 29 saves on the night.
Maryland and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton don’t see each other again until the very end of the season, when a pair of games come at Revolution Ice Centre in Pittston, PA. With the way things appear, that weekend could be a battle for a playoff spot right to the finish line of the 2018-19 NAHL campaign. Before then, the league takes a few days off from its regularly scheduled matchups to partake in the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament. Following this, the Knights come home to host New Jersey Friday evening.