Knights Move into Playoff Spot with Shutout Win
Zach Stejskal held the Jamestown Rebels at bay until the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights were able to strike over 50 minutes in, getting a 2-0 win on the road Friday night.
Tyrone Bronte scored the game-winning-goal and first goal of the contest over 11 minutes into the third, followed by Jake Fuss' tally for good measure. The Knights picked up their 22nd win of the season, pushing them into the fourth and final playoff spot in the east division with eight games remaining. The win also serves as the second consecutive and second in the week, with Wilkes-Barre beating New Jersey on Tuesday.
The story in this contest really is the third period. Both teams exchanged chances in the opening two, but shots were mostly perimeter and scoring chances were limited by the defense. Shots read 23-22 in favor of the Knights after two periods. Only six penalty minutes were handed out during that stretch; all of which coming in the first frame.
Fast forwards to five minutes into period three and things began to get nasty. Knights blue liner Evan Orr went for a puck behind his net when Niki Jasko barreled into him from behind, causing all players on the ice to swarm on one another behind the Knights cage. What would come of it was Orr being assessed a five minute fighting major, coupled with a 10 minute misconduct, while Jasko received a minor for checking from behind as well as a misconduct. Noah Finstrom also got involved for Jamestown and was dealt a roughing penalty. Wilkes-Barre failed to score on the four-on-three, but they would not wait much longer to find the back of the net.
At the 11:24 mark, Tyrone Bronte ended the scoreless game with his 10th goal of the season. A simple goal line drive from the right side was able to squeak through the leg pad of Ryan Keane for the 1-0 lead.
Five minutes later, the Knights would pad their lead with Colin Schmidt in the penalty box for slashing. On their fifth power play, Jake Fuss managed his 11th goal of the season, scoring in consecutive games after his overtime winner Tuesday. Adrian Danchenko slid a cross-ice pass to the stick of Fuss, who redirected the puck through the legs of Keane to make it 2-0.
Stejskal would hold on from there and get his fifth shutout of the season, making 29 stops. By picking up his 21st win, Stejskal becomes the winningest goaltender in NAHL Knights history. As a team, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton improves to 22-26-4. The Rebels drop to 31-14-8. Goaltender Ryan Keane made 33 saves in the loss.
The rematch comes Saturday night at 7pm.
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