The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights held off a Rebels third period rally to win 4 – 2 in the last regular season game between the two teams this year at the Revolution Ice Centre. The loss also prevented Philadelphia from clinching their third straight East Division championship.
The Rebels controlled the play for most of the first period having outshot the Knights 13 – 4. Then with 6:35 remaining WBS forward Mike Gelatt gave the Knights a 1 – 0 lead with only their fifth shot on goal in the period.
After a long line shift Michael Morrissey would dump the puck into the Rebels zone where goalie Eli Billing went to play the puck behind his own net despite being pressured. Billing would send a hurried pass behind him to Bryant Gunn who was fought off by Jack Olmstead. Olmstead looked up and found Morrissey wide open in the slot and he one-timed it passed Billing to make it a 1 – 0 game.
The Knights would take a 2 – 0 with forty-one seconds left in the period.
Nico Appendino would skate up the puck up the ice and tried to send a stretch pass to Eric Olson but it went too far and it was picked up by Knights defenseman Thomas Farrell at the near side boards. He passed it up to Tyrone Bronte who skated into the Rebels zone without being challenged. Bronte would skate around the Rebels net and he beat Billing with a wraparound goal for his eleventh on the season.
Just forty-one seconds into the second period Jensen Zerban was called for slashing to put the Rebels on the penalty kill. Fifteen seconds later Olson cut the Knights lead in half.
After the Knights won the ensuing draw inside the Rebels zone, Blake Kryska picked up the puck and started to skate down low to set up the play. He went to pass the puck back to Farrell at the point but it was intercepted by Olson. Olson would skate down the ice and enter the Knights zone on a two-on-one with Auggie Moore. Olson would move slightly towards his right and took a wrist shot that beat Christian Stoever down low to make it a 2 – 1 game. It was the Rebels fourth shorthanded goal on the season.
The Knights would take a two-goal lead again with 7:12 into the third.
With the teams battling behind the Knights net the puck would skirt out to WBS defenseman Shay Donovan who would passed it up along the near side boards to Lincoln Hatten. Hatten would send a bounce pass off the boards to himself and he entered the offensive zone on a two-on-one with Reed Robinson on his left. As Hatten skated to the top of the circle, he sent a cross-ice pass to Robinson who redirected the puck into a wide-open net for his nineteenth goal on the season.
Knights forward Gabe Temple was called for elbowing with 7:23 left in third to give the Rebels the man advantage. A minute later Zerban would cut the Knights lead in half.
With Aaron Maguyon battling for the puck along the near side boards it was picked up by Zerban who sent it back to Diarmad DiMurro at the point. DiMurro would pass it over to Carson Moniz who skated towards the net and took a shot that was saved by Stoever but the deep rebound came right back to Maguyon. The Egg Harbor Twp native took a shot that was blocked out in front but the puck came right out to Zerban who put it past the fallen Knights netminder to make it a 3 – 2 game with 6:24 remaining.
Fifteen seconds later the Rebels had a chance to tie it.
After Chase Hamstad won the draw deep inside the Knights zone, Ryan Patrick picked up the puck down low and started to skate around the far side faceoff circle. The Rebels captain found Noah Finstrom wide open in the slot and the rookie took a shot that hit the post and the visitors were denied from tying the game.
The Knights would add an empty net goal to close out the scoring.
Billing stopped 33 of 36 shots he faced while Stoever turned aside 37 of 39. Click here for the box score.
The Rebels and New Jersey Titans will play an afternoon game tomorrow at the Class of 1923 Arena with a 3:05pm puck drop. Should the Knights beat the Titans tonight or the Rebels beat the Titans tomorrow the Rebels will win their third straight regular season East Division championship.