Catasauqua Press

Monday, January 22, 2018

Phantoms Corban Knight on hot streak

Wednesday, December 20, 2017 by chuck hixson Special to the Press in Sports

Corban Knight is in one of those streaks where everything he does looks almost effortless, but turns out to be good. Take for example, the play he made Sunday in Bridgeport when he was literally on his stomach behind the goal, but still was able to flip the puck to Danick Martel, who was stationed in front of the net for a go-ahead goal.

Not exactly the way the play was drawn-up, but Knight made it work. In his last four games, Knight has two goals and five assists. Since the calendar turned to December, Knight has blasted five goals and has seven assists in nine games. Knight is averaging a point per game over his last 13 games.

“There’s really no rhyme or reason to it,” admitted Knight after Saturday’s win over Syracuse when he had a goal and an assist. “I’m just trying to simplify my game a little bit and I’m getting help from my teammates and the luck’s going my way right now.”

It’s a nice turn around since starting the season with just two goals and five assists in his first 23 games of the season coming into December. Knight’s improved play has been key, especially since players have been coming and going via both promotions to Philadelphia and injuries.

Knight and Martel have been in lock-step since Martel returned from a stint with the Flyers. The duo also teamed up Saturday night on a two-on-one breakaway with Knight faking a shot before flipping the puck to Martel for the goal.

“I knew I was with Marty [Martel], so I was thinking I would try to get him the puck, because he’s been pretty hot this year, so I just tried to get the goalie to slide over a little bit and it worked out,” said Knight of the goal.

Knight has also turned up the heat as part of the Phantoms revamped power play unit that has been increasingly tough on opponents over the past couple of weeks.

“It’s been tough with players going in and out and I just think that I’m taking a little more pride in it and it’s worked well,” said Knight. “I think honestly, we’ve just been tighter in the defensive zone and we’ve been taking care of pucks a little better, too.”

Coming into the week, the Phantoms stand at 18-9-1-2 this season and are third in the division in winning percentage, but tied for the top spot with Charlotte in points with 39. Providence leads the division in winning percentage and is a point behind the Phantoms and Checkers in points.

NO STREAKING ZONE ... Knight, Martel and Chris Conner all tallied a goal and an assist as the Phantoms snapped Syracuse’s 10-game winning streak Saturday night. Greg Carey added a goal too, in the 4-2 win. The Crunch hadn’t lost a game since November 19th when they lost 3-1 in Toronto and they had outscored their opponents 47-22 during the stretch. Goaltender John Muse stopped 22 shots and moved his record to 2-1 since joining the Phantoms from the Reading Royals.

MOOSE WITH THE SAVE ... John Muse, who joined the Phantoms when Alex Lyon was recalled by the Flyers recently, came to the rescue in the first of two games in Charlotte. Dustin Tokarski started the game and was staked to a 2-0 lead in the first three minutes of the game, but wound up allowing three goals on seven shots over the next six minutes and was yanked in favor of Muse. The former Reading Royals netminder shut down the Checkers high-powered offense and turned away all 25 shots that he faced as Lehigh Valley came back for a 6-3 win. With the impressive performance, Muse started the next two games and turned away 39 of the 45 shots that he faced to go 2-1 in the three-game stretch.

UP NEXT ... The Phantoms are back on the PPL Center ice Wednesday night against Hartford before playing two straight games on the road against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The first of the two games is two days before Christmas, with the next coming two days after Christmas. Lehigh Valley is 2-2-0-1 against the Pens this season, with both losses coming on the road.