Looking to snap a four-game losing streak, the Knights took the ice on Saturday for their second-straight meeting with the Johnstown Tomahawks.
Riding off victory in Friday’s game, the Tomahawks came out swinging in the first. Just as they did in game one, Ben Scmidling and Roman Kraemer scored the contest’s first two goals, only in the inverse order. Schmidling struck first at 8:56, beating Knights starter David Tomeo unassisted for the 1-0 lead. Kraemer’s 16th goal of the season created a 2-0 advantage for the Tomahawks, set up by Andy Nedeljkovic at the 13:16 marker. Tomeo and Johnstown’s starter Jack Leavy allowed no further scores in a period controlled by the Tomahawks.
In the second, the Knights awoke. After being out-shot 11-3 in the first period, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was boosted by an early tally from Reed Robinson. The Niagara commitment picked up his 15th goal of the season off of Adrian Danchenko’s 15th helper. Trailing by only one, the Knights offense rallied to wrack up 17 shots in the middle frame-including the first 11 of the period.
Unfortunately for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the Tomahawks first shot of the second proved to be their eventual game-winner. At 6:53, Pavel Kharin notched his fourth goal of the season, assisted by Andrew Andary and Karim DelPonte to re-establish the two-goal lead. A cascade of penalties in the second half of the period sapped both teams of momentum as each side’s penalty kill and goal tending held firm.
Looking down a 3-1 deficit to start the third, the Knights did not relent in their effort to grind their way back. Neither did Jack Leavy in his crease. Though the Knights again dominated shots and chances, they were time-and-again turned away by the ’97 goaltender despite a shot tilt that favored them 17-4 in the third.
With just over a minute remaining, Adrian Danchenko broke through the Leavy dam with his 10th goal of the year (Anthony Firriolo) to trim the Johnstown lead to one. Despite the advantage of the extra attacker on in place of Tomeo, the Knights could not find the equalizer in the game’s final minute of play. The 3-2 loss drops them to 22-17-6 on the season and keeps them in third, one point behind the New Jersey Titans in the East Division.
Before the Knights next game on Friday, March 2nd, seven players and head coach Tom Kowal will be heading out to the NAHL’s Top Prospects Tournament on Tuesday, February 27th. Tune into hockeytv.com to watch the Tournament and stay tuned to www.nahl.com, www.wbsknights.com, and Knights social media for all news and updates regarding the Knights performance!