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Fast Knights Hope to Shake Up South Conference

By Joshua Boyd, 02/20/18, 12:00AM EST


Heading into the final weekend of February, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights were sitting in fifth position in the South Conference and pushing the New York Apple Core for fourth.

WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON, PA -- The EHL’s South Conference is loaded with iron, but Knights head coach Josh Fusco is more than confident in his group.

“The Eastern Hockey League is a great league, from top to bottom. There is a lot of parity, so any day any team can win,” said Fusco. “That keeps you on your toes and keeps you making sure the boys are going hard. Every day is going to be a battle.”

The Knights take an extremely important weapon into battle, one just about every hockey team pushes for every day – speed.

“We have a very fast team throughout the lineup. We move the puck well, and our forecheck is relentless,” said Fusco. “That’ll be the key to having success in the playoffs – keeping pucks in the offensive zone, getting them to the net. When we’re cycling down low and moving the puck, we are having the most success.”

Knights players not only want to win for their teammates, but they also know eyes are watching. For the oldest players, those eyes belong to NCAA coaches and scouts – but for ’98’s and younger, those eyes belong to WBS Knights coaches from the North American Hockey League team within the same organization.

Jake Fuss, the Knights’ leading scorer, scored 35 goals and 67 points through 41 games this year. The ’98 from Fairfield, Conn., now has three points in eight career NAHL games.

With 30 points in 45 EHL games, ’99 Tyler Nielsen went up for four NAHL games, posting one assist. Anthony Starzi (’98) also went up to the NAHL, and played five games and registered one goal, for the Philadelphia Rebels. Defenseman Nick Peck (’98) skated one game with the Rebels and scored one goal.

The team picked up Brian Whelan, and that has helped increase the team speed. Whelan also scored 11 points in his first 13 Knights games. Nate Chuckran “seems to be the backbone of what we have going on up front,” added Fusco.

Defenseman and captain Rhett Padgett helps run the blue line corps for the Knights.

“His leadership is, by far, the best I’ve ever seen in a kid,” said Fusco. “He is like a machine out there – he has solid defensive skills, he hits, he is the guy we lean on back there.” 

Photo Credit - EHL and Snapshot Photography