Tyler Nielsen, the 18 year old forward for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights Eastern Hockey League team, was pleased with his team’s performance in the 2017-18 season. Despite an early exit in the first round of the playoffs, Nielsen spoke highly of the team’s talent and personalities.
“I think it was a great year,” said Nielsen. “This was a great group of guys, and I had a lot of fun being apart of it.”
The Knights, who had previously won and lost one game apiece against the New York Applecore, suffered an overtime loss after opposing forward Kyle Warren was able to score on a breakaway about six minutes into the finale back in early March.
“It made it hard to lose that way, just one bad bounce and they took it the other way in OT,” added Nielsen.
Looking back at the series, Nielsen said that he still thought that the team’s three games against the Applecore were arguably the team’s three best of the year.
“It’ll be hard to say goodbye to the guys,” said the forward. “I definitely miss the boys already.”
Some of Nielsen’s EHL teammates are looking sharp headed into the 2018-19 season. Two players Nielsen mentioned to look out for were goalie Thomas Walker and forward Denys Arkhypenko. Walker had 14 wins in the season and saved over 850 shots on goal.
“I thought [Walker] had a really good middle part of the year, and he really brought his game up to another level,” said Nielsen. “Hopefully he can carry that through until next year and be a really good anchor for the team.”
Arkhypenko totaled 22 points in 44 games with five goals and 17 assists. Nielsen attributed those points to the forward’s speed and skill.
“Denys put up a lot of points this year, and should be really good for the team next year too. It should be a lot of fun to watch.” he finished.
Nielsen, however, isn’t quite finished with the 2017-18 season. He’ll suit up for the Knights North American Hockey League squad as an affiliate player this weekend, and is excited for the opportunity.
“I think the team had a good week in practice, and we finished last week on a high note versus the Titans.” said Nielsen.
Nielsen also added that he thought it was a good sign to see the NAHL team put so many pucks in the net versus the Titans last weekend. The Knights were able to score four goals in the third period of their last game on March 17th including two goals from Matthew Kidney.
This week, Nielsen says the team is going into their games with a chip on their shoulder. “I think they feel like they’ve got something to prove to the league.” he added.
As far as his own contributions to the team, Nielsen says that he thinks he just wants to keep things simple in his upcoming NAHL games, “I’m just looking to help any way I can. I want to keep it simple and move the puck to guys who can score,” he finished.
The Knights will play three games this weekend against the Northeast Generals, the first of which will be tonight at 8:30 p.m.