Long Time Coming for the Knights
Updated: Apr 19
Game 1 Knights 5 Slap Happy 2
Game 2 Knights 9 Slap Happy 3
Its been a long time coming for the Knights and for Clint Lingenfelter. The Knights assembled some competitive xhl teams 7 or 8 seasons ago, only to get knocked off in a couple play in games in their early years together. They were led in their early years by some guys like Kurt Schinlder, Andy Calvert, Jordan Tosh, Tate Rutherford, Matt McGinnis, Tyler Waltman and Henry Sutter. This all led to them putting some championship caliber rosters together as some seasons went by. They were one win away when the Renegades knocked them off in the 2018 championship, then they were a win away from making it back to the finals in 2019 when the Xtreme knocked them off in game 3. The Reynoldsville Rollerdrome put a season together in 2020 (covid year) which saw the Knights make it back to the finals for a rematch with the Renegades. Unfortunately, the series ended after the first period of game 1. They did not have a team in the 2021-2022 xhl season but Jake Kline helped form a new version of the Knights this season. They were favored to win this years championship in a facebook poll that was posted before the season started. After starting the season with 3 blow out wins against the Mayhem, Slap Happy and Colonials, they ran into a very difficult 5 game stretch starting with a 6-2 loss to the Eagles. They fell 5-4 to the Colonials the following week and found themselves down by 4 goals to the Eagles the following week. While they came back to win in overtime against the Eagles, the rest of the league thought they might be more beatable than originally expected. It looked like they were going to fall the Colonials again when they trailed 7-4 in the 3rd period, but they rallied back for an 8-7 shootout win. Things did not get any easier the following week when they saw a 3 goal lead against the Slap Happy disappear before beating them in overtime. After grinding out a 5-4 game 1 win over the Colonials two weeks ago, they came out scoring at will in game 2 of their series last week. They turned an 8-6 lead after 2 periods into a 12-6 win leading up to their finals series with the Slap Happy last night.
Jake Kline got the scoring started about 5 minutes into the first period last night. Following a late first period goal by Dave Jewell, Jake Kline scored again in the closing seconds of the first period to put the Knights up 2-1. Andy Calvert scored about 5 minutes into the second period to put the Knights up 3-1 but that’s the only goal either team would score the whole period. The Slap Happy had 2 or 3 power play chances but were not able to take advantage of them. Clint had another strong showing for the Knights last night. As the 3rd period got started, Derik Day scored on an impressive backhander to get the Slap Happy to within 1. They would have their share of chances to tie the game in the 3rd period but were not able to find a way to get another past Clint. Nate Galentine scored an all important insurance goal with about 6 minutes to go and Rooster would add on another insurance goal to give the Knights a 5-2 game 1 win. Slap Happy goalie Adam McKinley has plenty of championship game experience in his xhl career and put on another solid outing despite the game 1 loss last night. Knights goalie Clint Lingenfelter had a couple tough and expensive xhl championship experiences in the past with the Xtreme but he put it all together last night. Any hopes of seeing a do or die game 3 next week were all but eliminated when the Knights scored 3 early goals in game 2 last night. Andy Calvert scored 2 early. After a little stretch of no one scoring, Brandon Reiter scored to put the Knights up 3-0. A fourth goal may have put the game away, but Steve Pompeii briefly gave the Slap Happy some life when he cut the lead to 3-1. The momentum was shorted lived when Jake Kline scored his another 1st period goal to put the Knights up 4-1 going into the 2nd period. Once again, the Slap Happy cut the lead to 2 midway thru the 2nd period when Joe Bussard scored to close the gap to 4 to 2. Once again, the momentum didn’t last long when Brandon Reither put the Knights up 5-2 going into the 3rd period. With their season on the line, the Slap Happy came out strong in the 3rd period. Derik Day set Dave Jewell up for a goal to close the gap to 5-3. Soon after, Derik Day made a nice pass to Steve Pompeii but Clint made a really good save on the shot. The Slap Happy had a power play chance when the deficit was only 2 but they were not able to capitalize on that or any of the other good shots they got against Clint. With around 6 minutes to go, Brandon Reiter scored to put the Knights up 6-3 and the goals piled up from there when the Slap Happy had to take more chances offensively. Nate Galentine scored to make it 7-3 and Brandon Reiter scored again to make it 8-3. Someone scored for them as the 3rd period was about to end to give them the 9-3 series clinching win. The 6 goal win was actually closer than indicated, but the Knights led throughout. If not for some good saves from Clint, the outcome probably would have been much closer at the end.
We would like to congratulate the Knights on their 2023 championship. Jake Kline, Cory Schuckers and Andy Calvert were a part of some Knights teams that came so close to winning in the past. Brandon Reiter and Rooster added some championship experience when they joined up with the team. In fact, Rooster has not lost since he started playing in the XHL. He has 2 championships with the Renegades, one with the Colonials and one with the Knights. This is Clint, Jake, Nate and Noah’s first xhl championship. Noah now finds himself 1 for 1. Can he go 4 for 4 like Rooster? Like the Knights, this has been a long time coming for Clint. He played on some bottom teams in his early xhl years. He eventually found himself on some better teams. Before the Xtreme picked him up, he made 50 plus saves in a playoff game against some members of last nights Slap Happy team. His run to the top has been well earned.
The XHL has concluded its 21st season. We would like to thank Bob Anderson, Larry K and Austin Boyd for making trips to the Rink on their off nights to ref. While they did not win last night, we would like to congratulate the Slap Happy on making it to the finals for the 2nd year in a row. Not many predicted them to be make it this far after struggling at times during the regular season. Thanks to everyone who participated in the league this season. With SRHL going on in the summer, we would like to make January, February, March and April our regular XHL months going forward.
We will try for a draft league starting up on Monday, June 12th. With SRHL going on, some people may not want a 2 night a week commitment to hockey. We are going to try to do something a little different this summer and have the following schedule if we can get enough interest.
June 12th ----- 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30
June 19th ------ No Games
June 26th ----- 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30
July 3rd ----- No Games
July 10th ----- 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30
July 17th ---- No Games
July 24 -------- 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30
July 31st - --- No Games
August 7th --- 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30
August 14th --- No Games
August 21st ---- 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30
August 28th --- 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30
September 4th ---- No Games (Labor Day)
September 11th ---- Double Elimination Playoffs Begin
September 18th --- Double Elimination Playoffs Continue
September 25th --- Double Elimination Playoffs continue
October 2nd ----- End Playoffs if necessary.
*** Please reach out if interested*** Pick up hockey did not draw much interest last summer. We will try to put a league together even if we just play every other Monday.
Interviews from Last nights games:
Steve Pompeii (Slap Happy)
1. Disappointing way to end your season last night. Were you looking at the glass half full or half empty once the games ended last night? Yeah it’s obviously not what we wanted to happen but you can’t win em all. Hats off to those guys! It was a tough fought series
2. You guys were only able to put 5 goals up in 2 games. Did you think your team generated enough chances or did you think their defense really limited you guys on what you could do? To be honest with you. We had multiple chances. It just wasn’t our night. Clint made some good saves but we had enough chances that if they would of went in we would be on the other end of the story. I don’t think their defense won them the series. I’m pretty sure it was Andy and Brandon that did that for them
3. When you saw the Knights team at the beginning of the season, did you think they could be the team to beat this season? . Yeah i think any of the top 4 teams could have won it all. Our core group has won championships and competed with all the best teams and have come out on top. Like i said this year just wasn’t our year. And to be honest i didn’t think we were going to make it this far. We weren’t playing our best hockey there for a while and it kind of looked like we weren’t going to climb out of that hole. But we found a way and when it came to the first round we played the best hockey we have played in a while and swept the eagles. So that’s a win in my book
4. How would you compare this xhl season to some of the other ones you played in? . This season was a lot more competitive i think. Most of the games this season were pretty close and that makes for fun competitive hockey.
5. You guys got down by 3 goals less than 6 minutes into the 2nd game. How deflating was that considering you had already lost the first game? Well that first game we had the chances to win it but we just couldn’t get the ball to bounce our way. It’s unfortunate but that’s just how things work out. And after losing the first game, we really had to take some chances to hopefully secure the win on the second and that led to more odd man rushes and poor defensive decisions. Adam definitely kept us in the fight so hats off to him as well. It’s all good tho. I’ve been playing with most of these guys since i started in this league. It’s always a pleasure and a good time. I hope to be playing for years to come. Congrats to the knights and to Clint. He’s waited a while and finally got his name stamped on the trophy. Well deserved.
Nate Galentine (Knights)
1. 2 wins over the slap happy last night. What can you say about the overall team effort in each game? The team effort was there as its been all year always putting the little extra effort in.
2. You played on your first xhl championship team. How did it feel to be a part of this group? Honestly it felt great be apart of this team for my first Championship game
3. You guys had a lot of close games in the regular season. Do you think that prepared you guys well for the playoffs? I think the close games this year had us ready and built our confidence a bit knowing when we're tired still have that extra gear to kick in
4. You guys pulled away in the 3rd period of the 2nd game last night. What do you think you guys did better at when you pulled away? I think we all just felt that we had one goal was to keep it to two games because if we went into a third it could of went the other way at any given time.
5. How would you compare this xhl season to some of the other ones you have played in? This season was pretty different being on a team that went from a stacked team to one just playing unorganized hockey. Also I feel that this season we didn't let anything get to us just took it on the chin amd kept grinding.
Clint Lingenfelter (Knights)
1. 2 wins over the slap happy last night. What can you say about the overall team effort in each game? Effort was 110% like always! No one let up at all all night long and it showed!
2. You played on your first xhl championship team. How did it feel to be a part of this group? It felt great! Been a long time coming that's for sure! Things r awesome to win, but winning them with some of ur closest friends really makes it special!
3. You guys had a lot of close games in the regular season. Do you think that prepared you guys well for the playoffs? I do! All the top 4 teams had a really good chance of winning. It just depended on who came to play each and every night! Was definitely a fun season to b apart of!
4. You guys pulled away in the 3rd period of the 2nd game last night. What do you think you guys did better at when you pulled away? I think we just kept to it! I think a few of their guys were getting gassed which led to more high scoring opportunities!
5. How would you compare this xhl season to some of the other ones you have played in? Definitely better than a few of them! I played on teams that got mercy ruled most of the time and teams that were expected to win it but just fell short! Def gonna enjoy this one!
Jake Kline (Knights)
1. 2 wins over the slap happy last night. What can you say about the overall team effort in each game? Team effort was good sometimes seemed like we was slacking a bit and they was controlling us for few min. But all and all pretty good team effort
2. You played on your first xhl championship team. How did it feel to be a part of this group? Felt really good to be on this team. Few years we had a good run for the cup and fell short. But sure felt good to finally be on top. Idk might be a good time to hang it up now that Noah is in the league and I got to play with him and win the championship together couldn't ask for much more than that
3. You guys had a lot of close games in the regular season. Do you think that prepared you guys well for the playoffs? I don't no if prepared us or not. I mean we had to give it our all on every night. To be honest any top 4 teams could of been the Champs at the end.
4. You guys pulled away in the 3rd period of the 2nd game last night. What do you think you guys did better at when you pulled away? I wouldn't say we did anything better we just kept giving everything we had and I think they slowed down the 2nd game. That's were the knights always been strong in the 3rd period
5. How would you compare this xhl season to some of the other ones you have played in? I think this season deff has been most competitive compared to other seasons. This season had at least 3 maybe 4 teams that could win any night