In his first NAHL game, goaltender Jacob Urban suppressed the Northeast Generals with a 26 save shutout, helping the Knights earn a 2-0 win they desperately needed against a club they chase for playoff positioning.
Sunday’s afternoon victory was the 20th win Wilkes-Barre/Scranton earned this season and the first where Zach Stejskal did not start in goal. After making the previous nine starts, Stejskal was given the day off in favor of rookie Jacob Urban, who finished his youth hockey season only a few weeks back with the 95 Giants.
Entering the day, the Knights sat three points back of Northeast having lost the night before. They needed a win to stay close, and Urban gave them the opportunity to do so with a stellar performance to push Wilkes-Barre one point from tying the Generals for the east division’s fourth and final playoff spot. 12 games remain in the regular season for the Knights.
The matinee contest started with an early goal from Tyrone Bronte to give the Knights a 1-0 lead five minutes in. After the officials blew play dead and granted the Knights an offensive zone face-off, Bronte centered the dot, won the draw, then played it to himself and chipped the puck past David Fessenden in goal. Bronte finished the weekend with three points, having notched two assists in Friday’s game. The goal was his ninth of the season.
Afterwards, neither team managed much for the next period and a half. Wilkes-Barre’s stout defense limited Northeast to just four shots in the second. It’s the fewest number of shots the Knights have allowed in a period this season. This also includes the four power plays given to the Generals in the middle frame. Overall, the man advantage went scoreless in six opportunities.
Fast forward to the height of this game occurring in the final minute. After John Jaworski was sent to the box, the Generals faced being shorthanded for the remainder of the game. Still down 1-0, they elected to pull their goaltender and roll the dice five-on-five. With just under a minute to play, leading scorer Louis Boudon cut through the slot and marched down the lane towards Urban. The net minder gave Boudon a point-blank, stone wall save, robbing a player who sits top 10 in league scoring.
Just seconds later, the Knights managed to clear the zone and hand it to Gabe Temple for the empty net goal from center ice, ending this tilt in dramatic fashion.
Three dates between the Generals and Knights still remain later this month. Before then, the grey ands blue head to the other side of Pennsylvania, where they’ll tangle with the powerhouse of the east in the form of Johnstown this coming weekend.