The U14 team dropped the ceremonial puck at the game vs the Mechelen Sharks
Knights win two in a row in Belgian Division 1
The Beaufort Knights finally ended their losing streak and managed to score two wins in two days, one on the road in Herentals and one at home against the Mechelen Future Golden Sharks.
After a start to the season that was less than optimal, the team finally had a full week to practice and get back to a normal rhythm of going through the basics.
And it paid off. On Friday, the team travelled to Herentals right after work to play a game in the outdoor rink at 21:00. Given the week day travel, the team couldn't count on some of the core players. Sacha Backes and Eric Wambach couldn't make the trip.
The first period in Herentals was quite intense for goaltender Michel Welter. He was peppered with 25 shots in the first 20 minutes and just at the 6 minute mark, Herentals managed to first beat him for the 1-0. Just 40 seconds later, it was Benny Welter that tied the score on a feed by Claude Mossong and Dino Mededovic.
With import Artemij Frizel sitting in the box for roughing, Herentals squeaked another one by Welter for the end of period score of 1-2 in favor of the hosts.
The second period was a more balanced battle between the two teams and the Knights tied the score again on the powerplay when Frizel sniped one past the goaltender from the point. 2-2 was then also the score heading into the second intermission.
The final twenty minutes were thus going to determine who would have the will power to take the win. Herentals, currently sitting in 4th place in the division was the slight favorite over the Knights, sitting at 9th. And after yet another turnover in the defensive zone just halfway through the period, Herentals capitalized and beat Welter in net. 3-2 for the home team.
But after having seen third period leads evaporate three weekends in a row at home, the Knights finally managed to turn the tables and with just 2 1/2 minute remaining, Shorty Müller got on a breakaway and scored the 3-3.
Yet another game that was going to overtime. The fourth game this season for the Knights.
And the Knights controlled the game for most of it, keeping Herentals at bay and going on three breakaways. Shorty and Welter were denied initially but on the final rush, with just 24 seconds left in OT, Shorty Müller found the back of the net and the OT curse of the 23-24 season was lifted, the Knights won 4-3. Impressive performance by captain Claude Mossong who battled the flu the whole weekend and still somehow came out of the game with an assist on each of the 4 goals.
After getting home past 3:00 am, the Knights had less than 24 hours to get ready for the next opponent, the young team from Mechelen.
In front of a home crowd of close to 400 people, the Knights had a visit from their U14 in the locker room, cheering them on after winning their own first game of the season that same morning against Charleroi 8-1. They were then also the ceremonial puckdroppers for the game.
The game started similar to the Herentals game with a flurry of shots on goaltender Michel Welter who was yet again like a brick wall. With Dino Mededovic sitting in the box for delay of game, the Knights fended of the quite powerful PP of the young Mechelen squad and the timing was perfect when Mededovic got out of the box and quickly rushed to the bench to let Mirko Mosr get on a rush taking the stretch pass from Artemij Frizel and going in alone on the Mechelen netminder beating him on the far side with a perfect backhander. The crowd erupted.
Just over two minutes later, the Sharks got the equalizer but with the game going back and forth, Sacha Backes got his own rebound and scored the 2-1 just before the end of the period. With intense forecheck and good goaltending, the Knights seemed to be in control of the game.
In the second period, it was a battle between two equal teams and even though the Knights had more shots, the Sharks tied the game yet again at the halfway point of the game. But just over a minute later, young Szymon Mazurek battled his way into the zone and fed the perfect seam to a rushing Nicolas Mossong who made no mistake and scored.
With two Sharks sitting in the box for a full two minutes, the Knights were on a 5-on-3 powerplay and captain Claude Mossong made no mistake and scored the eventual game winner, the Knights were in command with a 4-2 lead, decided to take the two goal lead into the second intermission. But with a double defensive pinch with just 10 seconds remaining, the Sharks struck gold with a 2-on-0 and beat Welter in net with less than 4 seconds left in the period.
Another intense and entertaining (for the crowd) but stressful (for the coach) final period was looming. But unlike the three previous home games, the Knights would not relinquished the lead with Benny Welter being clutch and scoring the next and final goal, redirecting a shot from Shorty Müller in the slot. The crowd was going crazy.
The Sharks pulled the goaltender in the final two minutes of the game and the crowd had to hold their breath when Farinon got called for a hooking penalty, putting the guests from Mechelen on a 6-on-4 powerplay, but in a scrum in front of netminder Welter, a Shark player got a penalty of his own and the Knights managed to hold onto their 5-3 lead and finally won in front of a frantic fanbase.
With slim chances of making the top 6 in the Belgian Division 1, the Knights will travel to Leuven next Sunday and then play Antwerp 2 at home the weekend after. In between, the Puckers will be visiting the Ice Park Beaufort on Friday, December 8 for an LHL Division 1 game.