Knights Get Solid Goaltending in Disappointing Weekend

Both Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goaltenders made a combined 71 saves over two games on the weekend, but the team fell short in both games, losing 2-1 and 3-1 to the Jamestown Rebels.

Samuel Vyletelka got the call in goal and played arguably his best game as a member of the Knights. The Slovakian net minder made 27 stops in a 2-1 loss for Wilkes-Barre.

Special teams played a critical factor in this one. The Rebels scored their first goal on the power play in the opening period when defenseman Alex Roy shot an absolute bullet from the center of the blue line. Vyletelka dealt with traffic in front, and only saw the puck one it ricocheted out of the net.

Jacob Badal would continue his play as one of the top producers for the Knights over the last dozen-plus games when he scored to tie the game 6:53 into the second period. The goal came with a two man advantage for the Knights. After Nate Clark was charged for holding, fellow Rebels player Nick Petruolo was assessed a high sticking penalty, sending the Knights to a five-on-three.

Just over a minute later, Badal crashed the net to slide the puck past Jamestown goalie Ryan Keane, making it 1-1.

Afterwards, Vyletelka remained solid in the second period to keep the score tied for Wilkes-Barre, as Jamestown outshot the Knights 26-14 through two periods.

A third period surge allowed the grey and blue to post 15 shots on the Jamestown goal, but the game’s final tally¬†came off leading scorer Alex Frye’s stick for the Rebels at the 3:32 mark. The Knights had multiple power plays after Frye’s go-ahead goal, but Jamestown managed to play shut down defense, forcing the Knights to finish one-for-seven on the power play in Friday’s 2-1 loss. Vyletelka kept his team in it throughout, earning the game’s third star.

Similar to Friday, a lack of scoring hurt the Knights in the 3-1 loss despite another quality performance in goal from Zach Stejskal. The Minnesota-Duluth commitment made 44 saves, including a save of the year candidate.

Connor Linton intercepted a Knights player in the defensive end, leading to a two-on-one with Jake Felker. The forward Felker received the pass after entering the Knights zone, then cut to his backhand right in front of Stejskal only for the goaltender to absolutely rob him with the left glove. The save came shortly after Jamestown scored the go-ahead goal and with three minutes left, Stejskal kept his team’s hopes alive.

Knights forward Anthony Mastromonica scored the lone goal for Wilkes-Barre on Saturday, marking his first in the North American Hockey League. With a little over five minutes to play in the first, Mastromonica was fed from Adrian Danchenko, who took a nasty hit immediately following the pass. Mastromonica stood directly in front of Keane (who made consecutive starts for Jamestown) and stuffed home a five-hole goal for his first and for the 1-0 Knights lead.

Wilkes-Barre remained in front until the final minute of the second period. Jamestown’s Nick Stuckless fired a shot towards Stejskal from the right wing boards, connecting with the stick of Felker for the Rebels rookie to tip home the tying goal with 41 seconds to play in the period.

Jamestown’s Jim Glynn got the eventual game-winner with Frye dishing to Glynn in the slot for a powerful wrist shot that beat Stejskal with 4:06 to play in regulation. The Knights would remain hemmed in their zone until under a minute left when they pulled Stejskal for the extra attacker, but Alex Frye buried the empty net goal to make it 3-1.

The Knights finish the first half of the NAHL regular season with an 11-18-1 record. The club begins the second half with game 31 on Tuesday at home, hosting the New Jersey Titans before the team departs for holiday break.