Knights salvage one point in Alaska finale
In their second meeting of the weekend with the Brown Bears, the Knights were greeted by familiar face. Former Knights goalie Colt Hanks would anchor the Kenai River net in one of his most brilliant performances of the season.
The first period gave Hanks more than his fair share of work. The Knights forecheck peppered their former teammate with 19 shots on goal. He stopped all but one. Before Hanks was bested, Tyler Rock put the Brown Bears on the board with a power play goal at 12:04 (Radetic 16, Butcher 15). The Knights found an equalizer on their own power play when Mike Gelatt (21) Matt Kidney (22) fed Sam Antonitsch his second goal of the weekend at 16:01.
The second period brought shots down to a more reasonable 8-7 Knights tilt and saw each team trade two unsuccessful power plays. Both Grant Valentine and Colt Hanks stood tall with both offenses failing to find the back of the net.
The opening to the third period quickly brought each side’s’ scoring drought to an end. The Knights power play notched their second goal of the evening and fourth of the weekend when Mike Gelatt took his turn at goal scoring in the potent Antonitsch-Kidney line with his 12th goal of the season while the latter two picked up assists. The three forwards have combined for three of the Knights last four power play goals and half the Knights scoring this weekend.
Kenai River would respond seconds later when Luke Radetic collected his second goal in as many days to tie the score at two. There it would settle for the remainder of regulation as each defense buckled down with the support of their netminders. At the end of 60 minutes, Grant Valentine had stopped 23 of 25 to Hanks’ 33 of 35.
3-on-3 time was similarly limited in chances, as the Brown Bears led shots by just a 3-2 margin. The shootout that followed would see both goalies string together three-straight saves before Sam Antonitsch would break through to beat Hanks in round four. Facing the threat of the end of the game and a potential shootout loss, Jack Vincent responded with a clutch goal to force a fifth round. Hanks stoned Mike Gelatt and Anthony Tzveyn put the game to bed by besting Valentine in the bottom of the fifth.
With the shootout loss, the Knights dropped their fifth overtime/shootout game of the season, but salvaged one point. Though the loss is not what they wanted, the team will look to build off one of their strongest special teams’ weekends all season. In their two meetings with Kenai River, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton went a combined 4-11 (36.4%) on the power play and 9-10 on the penalty kill (90.0%). Goaltending continues to be a reliable part of the lead up to the postseason with Grant Valentine saving 44 of 48 shots, good for a steady save percentage of .917 on the weekend, in line with his season total of .912.
They Knights will return home for a week without games before making a day trip up to the New England Sports Village to take on the Northeast Generals on April 4th. Puck drop will take place at 1 pm.