Photo: Jessica Kovalcin
Heading into a Saturday-Sunday series in Long Island, the Knights looked to extend their winning ways that can trace their roots back to mid-December. Winners of seven of their last eight games, the Knights hit the ground running Saturday night.
In what could be considered their most-disciplined win of the season, the Knights were kick-started by Denys Arkhypenko, who scored the opening tally at the 16:00 mark of the first period (Emerson Emery). In a period that they out-shot New York 17-5, the Knights entered the first intermission with momentum, but the scoring was kept in check by the steady play of New York netminder, Timothy Carpenter.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s heavy presence in the attacking zone would not relent in the second. Two early New York penalties would allow the forecheck to get off to a quick start. Though both power plays would be killed off, the pressure would not relent, finally giving way to Bryan Whelan at 8:44. The forward would strike against his former team off assists from Austin Weber and Jake Fuss.
Nick Peck would keep the momentum rolling with his seventh goal of the season at 14:13 (Zach Ouladelhadjahmed, Rhett Padgett). The team’s fourth score was tallied with 24 seconds left in the period, when Cody Rumsey and Tyler Watungwa set up JP Natishan for the 4-0 lead.
In the third, the Knights power play would put the game to bed. Austin Weber struck just past the three minute mark (Arkhypenko, Emery), followed by Tyler Watungwa, set up by Emery’s third assist of the game, and William Case’s secondary.
At the final horn, the Knights would skate away with a 6-0 win, capped off by Thomas Walker’s 16-for-16 performance between the pipes, his first shutout of the season.
In game two, the rematch saw an earlier start but a parallel finish. The Knights struck first on the afternoon after Rhett Padgett buried a shot from the blue line, extending his point streak to four games (Austin Weber, Jake Nimeh). Tyler Shugrue did his part in net for the Bobcats Royals, facing 23 shots in the first period alone, saving all but two.
The second tally came off the stick of JP Natishan, scoring for the second-consecutive game, assisted by captain Jake Fuss. The Knights defense did their part, limiting New York to just four shots on goal. Knights starter Jared Stahel stopped all four en route to another solid start for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
In the middle frame, Nick Peck struck for the Knights third goal (Padgett, Arkhypenko). The game took a decidedly chippy turn as each team traded a grand total of 95 penalty minutes. The Knights penalty kill not only survived, but thrived, killing off each penalty they faced. Top cap it off, in the process of killing off a major penalty, Bryan Whelan added a shorthanded goal (Fuss) in the final minute of the second period. Whelan has now scored points (4-2-6) in all five games he’s played in since being traded to the Knights.
In the third, the Knights thwarted another major penalty and added another shorthanded goal. After assisting the first shortie, Jake Fuss recorded one of his own, finishing off a three-point game. The Knights captain has recorded points in seven-straight games.
In the game’s final minute, fresh off games with the NAHL on Friday and Saturday, Tyler Nielsen hammer a puck through traffic, where Jake Nimeh tipped it home for the score. Brady Hanson picked up the secondary assist.
When the dust had settled, the Knights found themselves with their second-straight 6-0 shutout. For Jared Stahel, his 14 saves on 14 shots marked his second shutout for the season. The special teams excelled as well: the kill was 7-for-7 with two shorthanded goals. The power play went 2-for-7. The 12 total goals were scored by nine different players, and the Knights mounted 107 shots over two games.
With the victory Sunday, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has won nine of their last 10 games. They’ll look to keep rolling with a mid-week match up with the Philadelphia Revolution on Wednesday afternoon at 2:00 pm EST. Stay tuned to Knights social media and www.wbsknights.com for all news and updates!