On Saturday, the Knights took on the Philadelphia Junior Flyers for the teams’ final contest of the 2017-18 regular season. Following their loss Friday, the Knights were determined to finish on a high note before the playoffs kick off next weekend.
A tight first period saw Garrett Stenberg and Jared Stahel trade saves while both offenses searched for their rhythm. The Knights would finally break through in the final second of the first, when Evan Green picked up his first tally of his Knights career. Staying with the puck at the point, Green took a pass from Denys Arkhypenko and fired it past a fooled Stenberg for the 1-0 lead.
The Junior Flyers wouldn’t wait long to answer in the second period. Connor Lenaghan broke free in front of Stahel on a power play as a shot from Kyle Harris deflected off Lenaghan’s blade and into the net. Billy McDevitt was credited the secondary assist on the game-tying goal.
The Knights would strike on a power play of their own just prior to the halfway point of the period. Off Emerson Emery’s point shot, set up by Bryan Whelan, Anthony Starzi deflected the puck past Stenberg to retake the lead.
A physical second half to the period yielded no goals, despite each side taking another try on the man-advantage. Jared Stahel played a key role in preserving the Knights lead as he stood down 22 of 23 Philadelphia shots in the frame.
In the the third, the score remained tight for the first half of the period. The Knights power play could not capitalize on an early Junior Flyers penalty, but their forecheck picked up steam, out-shooting Philadelphia 17-11 over the final 20 minutes. At 9:42 Austin Weber put home his sixth goal of the season, unassisted to establish a 3-1 Knights lead.
The Junior Flyers answered a minute and a half later when Gianni Dini ripped home a Nick Kiemel rebound, set up by Patrick Sullivan. The score brought life to the Flyers legs, but the visitors were kept at bay by Stahel’s steady effort in the pipes.
Despite having the extra attacker on late in the contest, Philadelphia was undone by the Knights strong defense, capped off by Austin Weber’s second goal of the day, an empty-netter set up by former Junior Flyer Nate Chuckran at the horn.
With the win, the Knights head into the postseason locked into the fifth seed and a first-round matchup with the fourth-seeded New York Applecore, a team they beat three times in four meetings during the regular season. The best-of-three series will take place exclusively in the Applecore’s Brewster Ice Arena in New York.
For dates and times for series, stay tuned to www.wbsknights.com, www.easternhockeyleague.org and follow @WBSKnightsEHL on twitter!