After scoring the game’s first goal, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights fell to the rallying efforts of the first place Johnstown Tomahawks by a 2-1 decision Friday night at Revolution Ice Centre.
Carson Briere scored during a five-on-three power play for the Tomahawks in the third, serving as the game winning goal.
Wilkes-Barre drops to 5-6-1 on the season, while Johnstown improves to 9-4, separating themselves from the Knights by seven points for first in the North American Hockey League East Division.
In a one goal per period contest, the Knights were granted the opening mark off a face-off won by Jake Fuss. The center got tangled in the dot, but was able to feed the puck back to Davis Pennington who found the net through traffic on a point shot.
The Knights ended the first having killed 1:12 off a minor penalty to Gabe Temple for tripping. While the penalty did officially expire in the opening minute of the second, the Tomahawks managed to set up Samuel Solensky for a bullet in the right circle past goalie Zach Stejskal to tie the contest just as play returned to even strength.
Stejskal finished his night with 31 saves on 33 shots. Often the star of the show so far this season, the Knights’ net minder was bested by Carter McPhail, who tossed aside 42 of the 43 shots he faced for Johnstown in the win.
Penalties in the third period would be the difference maker Friday night. After Max Klanow was spotted for hooking, Adrian Danchenko retaliated on a play by Briere and cross-checked the forward, giving the Tomahawks a two man advantage for 1:13.
Just 12 seconds into the five-on-three, the son of former NHL player Danny Briere parked himself in front for the back door shot thanks to a pass from Cam Hebert to give Johnstown the 2-1 lead with 13:07 left in regulation.
Two more penalties would be dealt, and both against Johnstown, but the defense of the Tomahawks, combined with McPhail’s performance in goal kept the Knights at bay. Head Coach Tom Kowal pulled Stejskal with under two minutes to play, but the keep away game of Johnstown was successful in preventing opportunities.
A rematch between the Knights and Tomahawks comes Saturday, October 20th at 3:30pm back at the Revolution Ice Centre, where the Knights will wrap up one of their two season-long five game home stands.