Following an overtime win Thursday, the Knights were setback by a Trevor Smith hat trick for the Northeast Generals, helping them roll to a 5-2 decision over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Friday night.
Both games on the week were played at historic Ingalls Rink on the campus of Yale University. The Knights can say they won the more dramatic game with Sacha Guillemain’s overtime win Thursday, but the Generals get the last laugh, earning three points on the weekend opposed to Wilkes-Barre’s two.
Six points now separate the Knights from the playoff-positioned Generals.
Two of Smith’s three goals for Northeast came less than seven minutes into the opening frame. After Brady Gaudette fed Smith in front of the goal for his first, the 17-year-old went end-to-end before beating Zach Stejskal high for the 2-0 lead.
Shortly after, head coach Tom Kowal would utilize his timeout for the Knights in the hopes of triggering a response. It took some time, but the message finally came though late in the first when Svet Kuchynski took a slashing penalty, giving Wilkes-Barre a power play. Captain Shay Donovan’s point shot found the sticks of Jake Fuss and Gabe Temple in the paint, with the latter of the two able to punch it home for Temple’s 12th of the season. While he didn’t score a goal in this game, Fuss was able to keep a point streak alive at five straight games with an assist on the goal.
After the Generals added another goal in the second, Smith would start the third period by completing the hat trick just 1:08 in. A two-on-one allowed for Smith to walk the puck in on the right side and nail home his fifth goal of the season in what was just the rookie’s 11th game at the NAHL level.
Having grabbed an assist earlier, defenseman Donovan tried again to help rally his club by scoring his second goal of the season and first in 14 games. Tyrone Bronte found Donovan drifting toward the slot with his pass for the veteran blue liner to get Wilkes-Barre back within two, however an empty net goal against would finish the scoring and give Northeast the 5-2 decision.
Gabe Temple and Shay Donovan both scored goals just hours after being named to the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament that takes place later this month. The event will be hosed by the Northeast Generals. After the loss, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton sees their record at 14-23-4, while Northeast goes to 15-19-8.
The Knights are back in action at New Jersey on Tuesday morning for a rare 11am puck drop.