The visiting Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights defeated the Philadelphia Rebels 4 – 1 last night to win game one of this best-of-five Robertson Cup’s divisional final series. The Knights rode the coattails of goaltender’s Christian Stoever’s 25 save performance.
Last night’s win was the first time ever in three seasons that the Knights had defeated the Rebels in a playoff game.
The Knights scored two goals early in the first period and never looked back.
WBS’ Lincoln Hatten would win the battle along the far side boards and send the puck back to Joseph Verkerke at the point. Verkerke purposely took a wide shot that hit the end boards and the puck immediately came out to the slot where it was picked up by Curtis Carlson who went around a fallen Ryan Keane and Carlson slipped the puck past the Rebels netminder and into the open net to give the Knights a 1 – 0 lead just 3:59 into the opening period.
The Knights would double their margin four minutes later.
After Knights center Michael Morrissey won the draw inside the Rebels zone, he passed it over to Tyrone Bronte on his right. Bronte immediately passed the puck back to Thomas Farrell at the near side point. The Knights’ defenseman took a shot that found its way through traffic and Keane’s five hole for his second goal of the playoffs.
After completely dominating the Rebels after one period of play – with the lead and outshooting them 16 – 2, the Knights would take a commanding three goal lead with 7:34 left in the second period.
After Rebels defenseman Carson Moniz’s clearing pass was intercepted by Morrissey at the blueline, Morrissey sent a short shuttle pass to Jack Olmstead. The Knights forward sent a pass through the legs of Nico Appendino to Matt Kidney who went around Moniz and Kidney beat Keane blocker side for his second goal of the playoffs.
Eli Billing would replace Keane between the pipes.
Kolby Vegara would be call for boarding with four minutes remaining in the period to give the Knights the man advantage. As time was winding down with the extra attacker, the Knights took a 4 – 0 lead.
Luke Robinson would control the puck at the top of the near side blueline and passed it over to Blake Kryska at the top of the faceoff circle. Kryska took a shot that was blocked out front but Reed Robinson knocked in the rebound past Billing with 2:07 left in the second period.
Eric Olson would eliminate Stoever’s bid for a shutout with 9:26 left in the game.
After Olson picked up the loose puck in his own near side corner, he would skate through central ice. Having gained the line along the far side boards, Olson sent a pass that went around and behind the Knights net where it was picked up by Ryan Patrick. The Rebels captain sent a pass out to Olson in the slot and Olson one-timed it past Stoever for his third goal of the playoffs.
Keane and Billing would combine thirty of thirty-four shots while Stoever stopped 25 of 26. Click here for the box score.
The teams will play in game two of the series tomorrow night at 7:05pm at IceWorks.