Tag Archives: Recaps

Knights Cap First Half With Gritty Win Over New Jersey

In their final game before their holiday break, the Knights went to work against the New Jersey Titans Wednesday afternoon. A season series just three games old, the pair of East division foes needed overtime in all but one tilt to come to a decision. Round four would again prove to be a contest that boiled down to the game’s final moments.

In the game’s opening shifts, it was made apparent that both starting goal tenders brought their A-games to the ice. Stingier than Scrooge, David Tomeo and Brandon Perrone took turns wiping would-be smiles off forechecking faces as each goalie sent quality chances anywhere but the net.

The Knights carried play for most of the first period to the tune of 16-10 shot advantage, but could not solve Perrone. In the period’s final two minutes, the Titans maintained pressure for consecutive shifts, culminating in an offensive zone draw in the final 20 seconds. Off a quick faceoff win and cycle, Hunter Alden took passes from Kyle Jeffers and Ryan Naumovski and fired a puck past Tomeo for a 1-0 Titans lead.

The late-period tally did not sit well with a Knights team that has been bugged by slow starts and uneven goal production in recent weeks. Out of the gate in the second came a continued blitz from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton offense as the team continued the prior period’s habit of putting shots on goal from in close.

Perrone’s sterling defense of his net held until 3:17. A sequence that started with Mike Morrissey setting up a heavy Blake Kryska shot ended with Adrian Danchenko showcasing his silky hands once again. The big forward weaved Kryska’s rebound through the crease and past Perrone for the game-tying goal, Danchenko’s sixth of the season.

The remainder of the middle frame evolved into a more aggressive version of the first. Both sides combined for 33 shots on goal, breaking down to a 17-16 New Jersey advantage. Despite this, the Titans could not figure out David Tomeo.

The goalie continued his December to remember with another stellar effort in net. After stopping 74/77 shots in two games in Johnstown last weekend, the New Jersey native backed it up with a 34/35 mid-week performance. In 2017’s final month Tomeo boasts a 1.33 goals against average and an absurd .973 save percentage in three starts.

His play kept the the game tied at one until the late second, when the Knights found themselves on the power play with just under 30 seconds remaining. The man-advantage has been a point of emphasis in Knights practice this week following a weekend in which the power play went 0-10 against the Tomahawks.

The message clearly sunk in. Off a clean faceoff win, Blake Kryska fed a puck to Anthony Firriolo. Just five seconds into the man-advantage, Mike  Morrissey found a Firriolo rebound and put it home to take a 2-1 lead.

The third period brought both forechecks back down to Earth as each side found their shot totals dip into the single digits. Players like Knights forwards Tomas Koblizek and Jeffrey Bertrand and Titans veterans Zach Parrot and Ryan Naumovski imposed their physical will on both ends of the ice to slow the contest’s pace.

Most impressive was the Knights ability to weather the high-paced Titans final push to try and tie the game. While successful in getting pucks up the ice, New Jersey found it difficult to put together many extended shifts in the attacking zone, kept at bay by the Knights crisp exit passing and physical play. When the Titans did break through the defense, Tomeo was there to bail his team out.

As time wound down on the comeback, the Titans pulled Perrone with just over a minute to play in regulation. The Knights back check buckled down and spent much of the final 60 seconds outside their own end. Though they ultimately could not find the empty net, the team did well to skate out the clock and come away with their 18th win of the season.

Now 18-7-3 and for the moment a top the East division standings, the Knights will receive two weeks off before returning for a home series against he Kenai River Brown Bears on December 29th and 30th. Stay tuned to www.wbsknights.com and follow Knights social media for all news and updates!

On behalf of all players and staff, the Knights organization wishes all their fans the very best, healthiest, and happiest of holiday seasons!

Knights Enter the Holidays with an Early Present

December has been a tough month for the Knights, and heading into a home match up with the Aston Rebels Saturday night offered little respite for a team coming off back-to-back shutout losses. Their opponent entered the night with an NAHL-best 47 points, and had rattled off eight-straight wins over the Knights.

With a shuffling of the Knights lineup things got underway true to Knight-Rebels form. The first twenty minutes was spent largely exchanging zones, with Aston possessing the bulk of the opportunities. The Rebels 16 shots were all turned away by an active Colt Hanks who got the start in net for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Aided by Hanks’ solid work and the continued success of their penalty kill, the Knights thwarted two Rebel power plays to build momentum heading into the first intermission.

The second period began with similar play its predecessor, but the Knights steadily began to build and sustain time in the offensive zone. They were rewarded for their efforts when Joey Kubachka surged down the wall on a zone entry and from deep in his offensive zone, flipped a puck perfectly in front of the oncoming Khristian Acosta. In alone on goal, Acosta put the puck past Mareks Mitens for the game’s first goal at 5:59.

While the iron was still hot, the Knights would strike again with Reed Robinson firing a perfect outlet pass to Andrew Jackson. Jackson would streak in over the right side of Aston territory and rip a perfect snipe under the crossbar to beat Mitens and build a 2-0 lead.

The Rebels would finally get one past Hanks when on a faceoff win, Adam Peck drove straight to the net with the puck, and in the process of falling to the ice flipped the puck up and over the shoulder of Mitens. Hanks would stop the remainder of the 14 shots sent his way and the Knights would hold a 2-1 lead heading to back to the dressing room.

The Rebels would enter the third with renewed vigor, peppering Hanks with another wave of shots, and were given three more chances on the man advantage. All opportunities were turned away. With the extra attacker on the ice with just under two minutes to play, the Rebels were held high in the zone long enough for Reed Robinson to jump a point-to-point pass and bring it back for the clinching, empty-net goal.

The win for the Knights snaps a five-game losing streak and brings them to 2-3 against the Rebels at home. Colt Hanks made 45 of 46 saves earning his fifth win of the year in what was his easily his biggest performance of the season. The Knights will head into the holidays with a big win and a boost of confidence. They will return on December 30th to play host to the Kenai River Brown Bears.

The entire Knights organization would like to wish all their fans, families, players and staff a very happy holidays and we look forward to meeting again for the new year!


Knights Shut Out by Rebels

Despite a strong showing by netminder Grant Valentine, the Knights dropped their fifth straight matchup with the Aston Rebels Friday. The most recent recipient of the East Division Star of the Week stopped 29 of 31 shots (.935) in a losing effort, but continued his strong play.

In each of his last four games, Valentine has registered save percentages north of 90 percent. This was the first loss in that stretch.

The early going was typical of a Knights and Rebels matchup this season.  The first twenty minutes were defined by a lot of zone exchanges and not too much established possession. For the Knights it was their best shots tilt of the contest, as they won the battle 9-5 but could not solve goalie Mareks Mitens.

The second period would see an increase in shot volume but the Knights luck would stay the same. It was Aston who would break the scoreless streak in the second during four on four play.

Set up on a Knights turnover in their own end, Evgeny Yakovlev would skate the puck under the goal line before flicking it out in front to a waiting Dustin Manz. Manz, unchecked would fire one past Valentine to give the Rebels a 1-0 lead at the 9:29 mark in the period.

A recurrent theme throughout the contest were self-inflicted wounds. Twice on the man advantage, the Knights cut their time on the powerplay short with penalties. It was one such occurrence that resulted in the Manz goal.

Down one heading into the third period, the Knights would try to turn around what had been a rocky frame in previous matchups with Aston. But on this night the drum beat would continue for the Rebels as in typical fashion they would close the game with a strong third period.

The Knights would muster just three shots on goal to Aston’s 12. Andrew Bellant would add insurance for the Rebels at the 6:01 mark on a quick power play cycle and shot that barely maneuvered on and past Valentine’s pads.

The score would remain the same for the rest of regulation, as Mitens fended off the last of the Knights efforts on his way to his fifth-straight shut out and the Rebels fifth-straight win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

The pair will renew acquaintances Saturday night at 7 pm in Aston.

Knights Swept by Rebels

In an eerily similar game to the contest the night before, the Knights once again found themselves playing even early only to find themselves chasing late.

Things got off to a decent enough start. Much like Friday’s game, the first period saw both teams trade unsuccessful rushes up and down the ice. With just over one minute left in the first stanza, Khristian fed a puck to Matt Kidney who then placed an on outlet to a streaking Braden Brown. Brown barrelled down the left wing and tossed a puck off and over the shoulder of Aston goalie Mareks Mitens. The fluttering puck landed neatly behind the goal line to give the Knights a 1-0 lead heading to the dressing room.

In the second, a  galvanized Rebels team hit the ice and began their forecheck in earnest. Just 2:03 into the second period Aston got on the board after Justin Smith ripped a shot off a body in front which ricocheted past Grant Valentine.

Carter Wooley followed that up at the 7:54 mark with a goal off an assist from Brennan Kapcheck. The goal sparked an increased flurry of offense for the Rebels as they mounted an impressive 18 shots on the period, doubling the Knights 9.

A third goal found twine for the Rebels a second before the expiration of a power play when Gianluca Esteves poked one by Valentine on the near post to increase his team’s advantage. At the conclusion of 40 minutes of play, the Rebels led 3-1 on the  scoreboard and held a 10 shot advantage heading into the second intermission.

The 3rd period mirrored its predecessor 24 hours earlier  with Aston putting the game decidedly in their favor on the back of a blistering forecheck. For the majority of the final 20 minutes, the Knights bogged down repeatedly in neutral ice, as the Rebels had little trouble keeping them out of the offensive zone. Again, the Knights found themselves chasing the puck in their own zone too often, and finally Andrew Bellant put the game away at 15:07 in the 3rd period, hopping on a rebound and stuffing it on the near post to give the Rebels a 4-1 lead.

On the season, the Knights fall to 5-8, while the Rebels improve to 12-2. The Knights will look to get back in the win column when they travel to New Jersey to play the Titans in an 11:30 am game on Wednesday, October 19th.




Knights Fall in Weekend Opener

The two-game series with Aston got off to a rocky start last night as the Rebels took the first contest in convincing fashion.

The first shift of the game for the Knights was spurred along by the return of centreman Braden Brown, and for an extended stretch, the Knights held and created a few quality chances in the offensive zone. The Rebels survived the early onslaught and quickly settled in defensively.

For the next 10 minutes thereafter both teams locked in a pitched defensive affair. Finally, following a collision in neutral ice that freed the puck, Ryan Solomon collected the loose change and fired one through the five-hole of Colt Hanks.

The Knights didn’t take long to respond. Five minutes later, Khristian Acosta continued his quick start in the NAHL with a snipe that beat Mareks Mitens to tie the game at one.

The first period came to close in a one-to-one draw, and shot totals weighing in at a low 7-6 in favor of Aston.

The second period began in a similar fashion, again with both teams having trouble setting up on the puck in each other’s zone. A boarding penalty assessed to Andrew Jackson allowed a potent Aston powerplay its second opportunity of the evening.

Just 22 seconds into the chance, Andreas Maier took a slick offering from Brennan Kapcheck and rifled a shot under the crossbar to give the Rebels a 2-1 lead. It was one they would not relinquish.

The Knights would muster just eight shots on goal in the final 40 minutes of play. The chances they placed on net were stopped by the red-hot Mitens, who continues to lead the league in most goaltending categories.

In the third, the Rebels opened with a blistering pace and physical forecheck that kept the Knights hemmed in their own zone for a good portion of the game’s final 20 minutes.

Adding insurance to the Aston lead first was Ryan Patrick. At the 9:37 mark he followed up a rebound and poked it around Colt Hanks to give the Rebels a 3-1 advantage.

A little less than five minutes later Gianluca Esteves bested Hanks again after Evgeny Yakovlev fought and won the board battle and fed Esteves in front.

The Knights would respond with pulling their goalie with a little more than four minutes to play. They’d gain valuable zone time with the extra attacker, but still could not solve Mitens.

With exactly three minutes left in regulation, Drew Blackmun navigated around a sprawling Tim Gelatt to tap home the empty netter, finishing the scoring in a definitive 5-1 manner.

The Knights will look to rebound with another matchup with the Rebels tonight at the Revolution Ice Centre at 7:30 pm.