The second week of the WBS Knights season picked up in the way the first weekend ended: looking up at the wrong end of the scoreboard.
The second week of the WBS Knights season picked up in the way the first weekend ended: looking up at the wrong end of the scoreboard. In their first encounter with the New Jersey Titans in 2016, the Knights got off to a slow start. Danny Eruzione got things started just minutes into the first period, as he picked up a feed from Jordan Kaplan and put it past Grant Valentine.
Valentine would respond with a couple of close-quarter saves to keep the deficit at one, as for the first 10 minutes of the period were carried by the Titans.
The Knights would finally answer on Brent Jones’ first NAHL goal at 10:18 mark. The play was set up on the effort of Tim Gelatt coming down from the point to push the puck over to Reed Robinson, who in turn fired a perfect centering feed to the crashing Jones.
The good feelings wouldn’t last the period however, as at 17:28 Victor Ostling hopped over the blue line, picked a spot, and fired a shot past the right pad of Grant Valentine. The lead would not be given back.
In the the second, the Titans put the pedal to floor, as Kyle Perkowski picked up first NAHL tally just 1:46 into the period.
A little less than three minutes later the Titans chased Valentine following Danny Eruzione’s second goal of the contest which brought on rookie Colt Hanks.
As they did in the first, The Knights would strike near the halfway point of the second. Adrian Danchenko potted his second goal of the season with a snipe just five seconds into a power play at 10:18. As in the first, the Knights would not find the twine again for the remainder of the period.
Colt Hanks would represent himself well to keep the Knights in the game, and in the third period the Knights would pull within one. On a shot off the stick of Aiden Beck, Mike Gelatt parked himself perfectly in the crease to re-direct the puck past New Jersey netminder Harrison Feenery.
Kyle Perkowski put an end to the comeback a minute later after Jordan Kaplan found him streaking behind the Knights defense for the breakaway goal, his second of the night.
The scoring would conclude thereafter, giving the Titans a 5-3 win in their first game of the season.
Round two would commence in New Jersey on Saturday night. The Knights, after having a rough 0-3 start to the year, got off to a better start in game two beginning with Andrew Jackson getting his first NAHL goal on assists from Markuss Komuls and Joseph Campolieto at 11:59.
Three minutes later Andrew Husted knotted things up at 1 on tue set up from Helmuth and Stromberg. Helmuth followed that up with a late-period goal, to give the Titans a 2-1 lead at the end of the first 20:00.
Unlike the previous night, the Knights wouldn’t let the game get away from them. At 7:19 in the second period, Michael Morrissey notched the first goal of his NAHL career on an assist from Mike Gelatt.
A few minutes later, New Jersey regained the lead on the power play off Husted’s second goal of the night (Kaplan, Stromberg).
The back and forth stretched to the third period, with a couple of near misses by the Titans forecheck, misses that were sent away by Colt Hanks who was solid in his first NAHL start. The Meijer AAA 18U product’s efforts were highlighted by a few sprawling saves made on long 5-on-3 penalty kill.
Andrew Jackson rewarded Hanks’ steady play with his second goal of the evening, coming 7:50 into the third period. With the game tied late, Hanks made another big save following a Knights turnover to keep things tied at three. The score would stay even through to the end of regulation sending the Knights and Titans to 3-on-3 overtime.
After big saves on both sides of the ice, Andrew Jackson would finish the game in style, following up a rebound to notch both a hat trick and the Knights their first win of 2016-17.
On the evening the Knights had multiple point efforts from Jackson (3-0-3), Gelatt (0-2-2) and Elser (0-2-2). Colt Hanks finished 32/35 (.914) on the evening and 51/55 (.927) on the weekend in just under 98 minutes played.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s penalty kill enjoyed a strong showing in the Titans’ series, going 9-10. On the season they’re now stopping 85% of the time with one short-handed goal.
The Knights will head to Blaine, Minnesota this week for the NAHL’s annual player showcase at (1-3-0). They will begin their four game stretch there against the Minot Minotauros at 1 pm on Wednesday, September 21st.