Just 40 games remain in the 2018-19 season for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights (6-13-1, 13pts.). Their next features a rematch from the day before, with the Jamestown Rebels
(10-8-2, 22pts.) at Revolution Ice Centre Friday afternoon.
Takeaways From The First Third
It’s easy to point at the record and say it’s been a tough go for the Knights this season. The team hasn’t picked up from where they left off making it to the Robertson Cup Final a year ago, but there are still positives to look at for this squad when evaluating all 20 games thus far.
First (and probably the easiest one) is the play of goaltender Zach Stejskal. The Knights lost goalie David Tomeo to the Maryland Black Bears in the offseason. Tomeo helped carry the team through a bulk of their 30 win season in the 2017-18 campaign, but Stejskal has come in and been the best player for Wilkes-Barre so far this season. With USHL experience under his belt, Stejskal has played in 14 games so far. He is fifth in the North American Hockey League with a .930 save percentage. The Minnesota-Duluth Commitment also has a 53 save shutout from a week ago on his resume.
Special teams have also been something the Knights can be happy about. Though their penalty kill has cooled off a bit, their power play is third best in the league at 23.1%. The Knights have scored eight man advantage goals in the past four games.
They’ve also received National Hockey League attention, with both forward Jeffrey Bertrand and goalie Samuel Vyletelka named to the NHL Central Scouting List’s “Players to Watch” in October, becoming the only East Division team to have made the NHL radar.
So yes, things have not been all sunshine and rainbows in Pittston, PA, but there are still numerous positives to look at amidst tough times for the gray and blue.
Thursday’s game against Jamestown resulted in a 4-2 Knights’ loss, but forward Sacha Guillemain was a bright spot for Wilkes-Barre. The ’99 winger notched a pair of goals to keep the contest close. His first came in the second period on a four-on-three power play. Defenseman Jordan Strand fed Guillemain for a one-timer under the right circle to beat Rebels’ goalie Ryan Keane.
Goal number two for #16 came early in the third when he centered a pass to the front of the net that ended up bouncing off the goaltender and in. After a three point night in New Jersey last week, Guillemain has six goals and 16 points, taking over Gabe Temple as the scoring leader for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
For What It’s Worth
Friday’s 3pm puck drop marks the 11th day game (starts of 3:30pm or earlier) for the Knights this season. It is also the ninth matinee at Revolution Ice Centre so far. Overall, the Knights will play 19 of their 60 regular season games with puck drops scheduled before 4pm.
Guillemain has five points in his last two games. After scoring twice Thursday, Guillemain became the third Knights’ player to have back-to-back multi-point games this season. Adrian Danchenko and Gabe Temple are the other two.
Jamestown’s Alex Frye scored the game wining goal Thursday afternoon over the Knights. Frye had two on the day and 10 overall this season. The Michigan native leads his club with 17 points, and has found the scoresheet in seven of his last eight games.
Knights’ center Gabe Temple is in a three way tie for fourth in the NAHL for power play goals with five.
Puck drop is set for 3pm at Revolution Ice Centre. Broadcast coverage for all NAHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights games can be found live on HockeyTV!