Friday, January 26- Revolution Ice Centre @3pm
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights (13-20-4, 30pts.)
New Jersey Titans (19-18, 38pts.)
Knights look to continue strong January push.
So Far, So Good
Since coming back from the holiday break, Wilkes-Barre has picked up points in five of their six games in January. They’ve also managed points in three consecutive, and check in at 2-1-3 for the first month of 2019. All six games have come against the Jamestown Rebels (4) and the Johnstown Tomahawks (2). Both clubs sit as the top two in the East Division.
Grey and Blue Feeling Black and Blue
Getting points in the standings can be a cure for sorrows, but it can’t take care of injuries. Unfortunately for the Knights, this is the hand they’re dealt.
After losing defenseman Luke Robinson to the USHL, Wilkes-Barre blue liners Blake Kryska and captain Shay Donovan will also be missing on the weekend, as each deal with injuries. On top of that, Tyrone Bronte has been sidelined with a concussion. The timetable on each player is day-to-day for now.
With the above players out, this puts a dent in the shield of the Knights, especially to their power play, which sits 12th in the NAHL. Of their 26 power play goals, six have come from the combination of Bronte and Kryska. Including Robinson’s departure, a combined 19 points have been scored on the man advantage from the combo of players who will be unavailable against the Titans.
With subtraction comes addition.
In order to solidify a back end for the weekend, head coach and general manager Tom Kowal announced the Knights have recalled EHL Knights defenseman Matt Passaretti and Penguins Elite U18 blue liner Caden Lewandowski. Both are figured to play Friday.
Lewandowski, 18, was tendered by the Knights over the holiday break. The 6’2″ Michigan native skated in one game for Wilkes-Barre earlier this season on November 1st. He has 16 points in 30 games at the youth hockey level this season.
Passaretti, 20, has already made a name for himself in the junior hockey world, playing in the USPHL and EHL. Here, in his first Eastern Hockey League season, Passaretti has led all Knights defenseman in points with four goals and 11 assists. In November, the ’98 defenseman committed to SUNY Canton, where he will play NCAA-Div. III hockey this fall.
In a familiar setting, the Knights and Titans will wage war once again for the start of a home-and-home weekend. New Jersey has struggled of late, going 3-7 over the past 10 games.
With below average special teams and an 18th ranked goals against, the Titans have been able to live with the even strength production of their offense. At 116 goals, the club is a top 10 scoring team in the league. They have five players with 10 or more goals, and are led by Kyle Jeffers with 19. One of those goal scorers is Zach Nazzarett, who should return to aid the Titans after a brief stint in the USHL with Muskegon. A player the Titans do not anticipate returning would be center Thomas Lacombe, who is currently up in the QMJHL. In addition to their losses, goaltender Matt Ladd left New Jersey early to join Canisius College, thus putting an end to his junior hockey career.
For What It’s Worth
This is the eighth of 12 meetings between New Jersey and Wilkes-Barre. The Titans edge the Knights slightly by a 4-3 difference.
In the previous four games played at Revolution Ice Centre, the Titans and Knights have combined for 10 goals. In the three games played in the Garden State, there have been 25 scored.
Davis Pennington is 2nd in the league for goals by a rookie defenseman with six.
Sacha Guillemain will skate in his 90th NAHL regular season game.