Tag Archives: Brennan Kapcheck

Rebels’ alums Kapcheck & Hanson to participate in Maple Leafs 2018 Development Camp

Two Rebels alums, defenseman Brennan Kapcheck, and goaltender Darion Hanson, will be participating in this week’s development camp for the Toronto Maple Leafs. The camp will be held at the MasterCard Centre for Hockey Excellence in Etobicoke, ON.

Kapcheck spent two seasons with the Rebels before he committed to American International College. He was the Rebels 2016-17 defensive player of the year. He also won two prestigious NAHL awards during that year including All-NAHL First Team and All East Division team.

“Kappy” was named Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Year after an impressive freshman campaign in 2017-18, in which he appeared in all 39 games and broke AIC’s Division I single-season defenseman scoring record with 26 points (seven goals, 19 assists). He was additionally a semifinalist for the Walter Brown Award and a nominee for the Hobey Baker Award.

Hanson played for the Rebels during the team’s first year in Aston. He played in thirty-four games and had a 2.28 goals against average and a .914 save percentage. He was a member of the 2015-16 NAHL All-East Division Rookie Team, NAHL All-East Division Team and NAHL All-Rookie First Team.

“Hanny” committed to Union College and played his first season for the Dutchmen this year and appeared in fourteen games posting a 2.32 goals against average and a .908 save percentage. He was named the team’s Rookie of the Year.

Rebels alum Brennan Kapcheck nominated for Hobey Baker Award

The nominees for the 2018 Hobey Baker Memorial Award have been announced today and Rebels alum Brennan Kapcheck is one of them.

The award recognizes the top NCAA men’s ice hockey player in the nation. Nominations were given by sports information directors from Division I schools.

The annual fan ballot contribution to help determine the winner of the 2018 Hobey Baker Award is available online. Fans can cast their vote by going to www.voteforhobey.com.

Kapcheck spent two seasons with the Rebels before he committed to American International College. He was the Rebels 2016-17 defensive player of the year. He also won two prestigious NAHL awards last season including: All-NAHL First Team and All East Division team.

He is currently a freshman at AIC, and he has eighteen points (6 goals and 12 assists) in twenty-four games.

This first phase of fan balloting will run now through March 4, 2018. Phase two of fan balloting will begin on March 14 from the list of Top Ten Hobey Baker finalists and will close March 25.

The fans’ vote accounts for a full one percent of the total ballot in each phase in selecting this year’s award recipient.

Award criteria include candidates exhibiting the exceptional character traits of the award’s namesake, Hobey Baker. A legendary American hero, Baker was a World War I fighter pilot and was known as America’s greatest amateur athlete in his day, excelling at hockey and football at Princeton.

Award candidates must demonstrate strength of character both on and off the ice, contribute to the integrity of his team and display outstanding skills in all phases of the game.

Consideration should be given to scholastic achievement and sportsmanship.

Key Hobey Baker announcement dates for 2018 include:

  • Top Ten list of candidates: March 14
  • Hobey Hat Trick of three finalists: March 29
  • Hobey Baker Award announcement: April 6

The 2018 Hobey Baker Award winner will be announced from a field of three Hobey Hat Trick finalists on Friday, April 6, 2018, during the NCAA Frozen Four championship in St. Paul, Minn. The award ceremony will be held at the Roy Wilkens Auditorium in the St. Paul RiverCentre and will be broadcast nationally on the NHL Network.

Rebels Alumni Update – December 2017

When Andrew Bellant committed to Michigan Tech back on November 30, he became the twenty third member in Rebels history to announce his NCAA commitment while actively playing for the team. With college hockey in full swing we wanted to provide a brief “where are they now” alumni update.

Dean Balsamo
After committing to Bentley University and beginning last season there, “Dino” transferred to Adrian College where he finished out the season having scored eleven points (6 goals and 5 assists) in sixteen games. This season he currently has six points (2 goals and 4 assists) in nine games.

Victor Bergstrom
“Vic” is currently attending Plymouth State University. Last season the defenseman had eight points (2 goals and 6 assists) in seventeen games. This season he currently has thirteen points (5 goals and 8 assists) in twelve games.

Kristofers Bindulis
After playing last season at Lake Superior State University where he had twelve points (1 goal and 11 assists) in twenty-eight games, “Bindy” signed a two-way contract with the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League back in March. This season he has played in six games for the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League and he has eight points (2 goals and 6 assists) in thirteen games for the South Carolina Stingrays of the East Coast Hockey League.

Drew Blackmun
“Blacky” is second in all-time games played for the Rebels with 116. He committed to Northeastern University where he currently has played in two games for the Huskies with no points.

Ryan Cusin
After playing at the University of Massachusetts Boston last season where he 40 points (16 goals and 24 assists) in 25 games, “Cuso” transferred to Adrian College this season where he currently has five points (2 goals and 3 assists) in nine games.

Chris DePrez
“Daddy” committed to Marian University where he had one point in four games last year. This season he has two points (1 goal and 1 assist) in ten games.

Gianluca Esteves
After finishing he junior career with the Rebels last year, “Esty” or “Gino” committed to Michigan State where he has a point (assist) in seventeen games this year for the Spartans.

Dom Garcia
Dom is second in three all-time franchise categories: Points (74), Goals (28) and Assists (46). He committed to Arizona State where he currently has one point (assist) in seventeen games for the Sun Devils.

Andrew Hart
After joining the team back in February from a trade with Topeka, the forward finished his Rebels career with ten points (6 goals and 4 assists) in fourteen games. He committed to SUNY Geneseo where he has played in one game.

Darion Hanson
After backstopping the Rebels to their first East Division championship, “Hanny” committed to Union College. During this past summer he was invited to participate in the Philadelphia Flyers prospect camp where he was the winning goalie in the 3 on 3 tournament. In eight games so far for Union this season, he has an impressive 1.76 goals against average and .926 save percentage.

Gvido Jansons
The highly skilled defenseman with a bomb of shot committed to Arizona State where he has two points (both goals) in eighteen games for the Sun Devils.

Brennan Kapcheck
The Rebels’ 2016-17 Defenseman of the Year committed to American International College where he has had an impressive freshman season. “Kappy” has fifteen points (4 goals and 11 assists) in nineteen games. He was named Atlantic Hockey’s Rookie of the Month for October, and he has helped AIC have its winningest first half since the 1998-99 season.

Colton McMenamin
“Mac” had four points (2 goals and 2 assists) in 23 games for Stevenson University last season. This year he has four points (all goals) in twelve games for the Mustangs.

Michael Merulla
The franchise’s all-time point leader per game (1.146) committed to Boston College where he appeared in three games last season with no points and has yet to play in a game so far this season for the Eagles.

Jerry Miettunen
The Finish defenseman committed to the University of Wisconsin Superior where last season he eight points (3 goals and 5 assists) in twenty-eight games. This season he has played in six games with no points.

Mareks Mittens
The North American Hockey League’s 2016-17 Most Valuable Player and Best Goaltender committed to Lake State where “Mits” has appeared in eleven games and has posted a 3.67 goals against average and a .892 save percentage.

Ryan Solomon
Posting the NAHL’s best +/- for the 2016-17 season with a +39, “Solly” committed to Northeastern but has yet to play in a game.

Frank Spellman
“Frankie” committed to Endicott College where he had eight points (1 goal and 7 assists) in twenty-two games last season. This year he transferred to the University of St. Thomas where he has four points (all assists) in seven games.

Austin Swingle
“Swings” had eleven points (4 goals and 7 assists) in twenty-two games last season for Stevenson University. This year he three points (2 goals and 1 assist) in eleven games for the Mustangs.

Mason Van Tuyl
“Mas” had one point (assist) in twenty-two games for the University of Wisconsin River Falls last season.

Evgeny Yakovlev
“Gino” or “Yak” scored the winning goal in game three of last season’s semi-finals to send the Rebels to the Robertson Cup finals committed to the University of Wisconsin Superior has four points (1 goal and 3 assists) in thirteen games this season.

Rebels 2017 NAHL Draft Recap: Team selects 5 Blueliners

Yesterday the North American Hockey League held its annual draft. Since the Aston Rebels finished in first during the regular season the team selected last beginning with the twenty third pick.

With the loss of Gvido Jansons, Brennan Kapcheck, Andrew Noel and Ryan Solomon, the focus for the Rebels was defense. It was so much so that five of the team’s nine picks were defensemen (three forwards and one goalie also were chosen).

To sum up the draft, Head Coach and General Manager Joe Coombs was very pleased with the way the it went. “We knew we needed defensemen” stated Coombs. “We went after the best players available. We feel that with the players we selected along with our tenders that we will have another formable core of blueliners. While we are very pleased with the draft we will certainly attempt to fill our holes. We also will continue to look for free agents” concluded Coombs.

The following is a recap of the players selected by the Rebels.

Round 1 – 23rd Pick
Jeremy Smith, Toronto Jr. Canadiens. Position: Left Defenseman. Shoots: Right. Born: July 19, 1998. Hometown: Toronto, ON. Height: 5’9”. Weight: 158 lbs.
Season                 Team                                     GP          G             A             Pts          PIM
’16-’17 Season   Jr. Canadiens                     42           7              10           17           47
17 Playoffs          Jr. Canadiens                     11           3              8              11           10

Round 2 – 36th Pick
Brandon Stanley, Waywayseecappo Wolverines. Position: Forward. Born: May 3, 1997. Hometown: Sioux Lookout, ON. Height: 6’2”. Weight: 205 lbs.
Season                 Team                                     GP          G             A             Pts          PIM
’16-’17 Season   Portage                                5              1              3              4              12
’16-’17 Season   Waywayseecappo           53           23           44           67           48

Round 3 – 69th Pick
Seth Bergeron, Las Vegas Storm. Position: Left Defenseman. Shoots: Left. Born: August 3, 2000. Hometown: Las Vegas, NV. Height: 5’11”. Weight: 170 lbs.
Season                 Team                                     GP          G             A             Pts          PIM
’16-’17 Season   Las Vegas Storm               38           4              13           17           18

Round 4 – 93rd Pick
Ryan Keane, Omaha Lancers. Position: Goaltender. Catches: Left. Born: March 15, 1998. Hometown: Lewisville, TX. Height: 5’9”. Weight: 157 lbs.
Season                 Team                     GPI         Mins      GA          SO          W            L              SV%       AVG
’16-’17 Season   Omaha                 9              507         36           0              2              5              0.876     4.26

Round 5 – 117Th Pick
Darren Rizzolo, Alberni Valley Bulldogs. Position: Left Defenseman. Shoots: Left. Born: January 12, 1998. Hometown: Mission, BC. Height: 5’10”. Weight: 173 lbs.
Season                 Team                                     GP          G             A             Pts          PIM
’16-’17 Season   Vernon                                 5              0              0              0              4
’16-’17 Season   Alberni                                 44           1              7              8              67


Round 6 – 140th Pick

No pick. Traded to Johnstown


Round 7 – 163rd Pick

Corey Clifton, North Jersey Avalanche 18U. Position: Forward. Shoots: Left. Born: February 3, 1999. Hometown: Matawan, NJ. Height: 5’8”. Weight: 160 lbs.
Season                                 Team                                     GP          G             A             Pts          PIM
’16-’17 Season                   North Jersey Avs 18         31           5              16           21           12
’16-17 Playoffs                  North Jersey Avs 18         5              1              1              2              2

Round 8 – 186th Pick
Jacob Nordqvist, Vastra Frolunda HC Jr. Position: Left Defenseman. Shoots: Right. Born: February 12, 1998. Hometown: Sweden. Height: 5’7”. Weight: 158 lbs.
Season                                 Team                     GP          G             A             Pts          PIM
’16-’17 Season                   V. Frolunda         1              0              0              0              0
‘16-17 Euro One               Frolunda              27           2              12           14           12
‘16-17 Euro Two               Frolunda              17           0              4              4              14
’16-1717 Playoffs             Frolunda              5              1              0              1              4

Round 9 – 209th Pick
Noah Finstrom, Detroit Little Caesars 18U. Position: Forward. Shoots: Left. Born: September 17, 1999. Hometown: Detroit, MI. Height: 5’6”. Weight: 130 lbs.
Season                                 Team                                     GP          G             A             Pts          PIM
’16-’17 Season                   Det. Little Caesers 18      21           6              9              15           36

Round 10 – 232nd Pick
Carson Moniz, St. Thomas Stars. Position: Right Defenseman. Shoots: Right. Born: October 25, 1998. Hometown: Lambeth, ON. Height: 5’11”. Weight: 198 lbs.
Season                                 Team                                     GP          G             A             Pts          PIM
’16-’17 Season                   St. Thomas                          19           3              8              11           56
’16-’17 Season                   Amarillo                               14           0              4              4              14
17 Playoffs                          St. Thomas                          4              1              0              1              22

Rebels 2016-17 Year in Review begins May 30. 24 Players in 24 Days

The last time we saw the Rebels was back on May 14 when they gave a valiant effort against the Long Star Brahmas in the North American Hockey League’s Robertson Cup Finals where they lost 3 – 0. It was the team’s seventh game in ten days.

Despite the loss in the championship game, the Rebels won their second consecutive East Division Championship, and they had a 46-11-2-1 record for 95 points – the most in the league during the regular season. The team swept the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights three games to none in the divisional semi-finals, defeated the New Jersey Titans three games to two in the divisional finals and then defeated the Aberdeen Wings two games to one in the league’s semi-finals.

The Rebels recorded a league record seventeen shutouts. Goaltender Mareks Mitens was named the league’s Most Valuable Player and Vaughan Goaltender of the Year. Mitens, along with defenseman Brennan Kapcheck, was named to the all NAHL first-team while defenseman Gvido Jansons was selected to the all NAHL second-team. Head coach Joe Coombs was named the league’s top coach.

Forward Gianluca Esteves and defenseman Kolby Vergara were named to the NAHL’s all Robertson Cup tournament team.

The team had five players participate in the league’s Top Prospects Tournament back in February and many players won numerous divisional awards and the organization itself won the East Division’s organizational of the year. Eleven players made NCAA commitments – all division one.

Despite being twenty-two minutes and thirty-one seconds away from winning their first-ever NAHL Championship, the Rebels had a GREAT season.

Beginning on Tuesday, May 30, the Rebels will have a 2016-17 “Year in Review.” The YIR will appear on the team’s Facebook and Twitter pages. It will be a snapshot of 24 players in 24 days. Players will appear alphabetically beginning with Andrew Bellant – the team’s top scorer.

Click here for the team’s Facebook page or here for the team’s Twitter feed.

Yakovlev’s goal in OT sends Rebels to Robertson Cup Finals

Evgeny Yakovlev scored with 2:43 left in overtime to give the Rebels a 2 – 1 win over the Aberdeen Wings and send the Rebels to the North American Hockey League’s Robertson Cup finals tomorrow against the Lone Star Brahmas. It will be the first time in the team’s young history that it has reached the National Championship game.

After a scoreless first period that produced a total of ten shots, the Wings got on the board first at the 2:52 mark of the second period. After a faceoff outside the Wings zone, an Aberdeen defenseman dumped the puck into the Rebels zone. The puck went around the net and up the far side boards where a battle ensued. Carson Dimoff would get the puck and pass it down to Kevin Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald would come behind the Rebels net on a wrap around and beat Mareks Mitens up high to give the Wings a 1 – 0 lead. It was Fitzgerald’s fifth goal of the playoffs.

Despite starting the third period down by one and their season on the line, the Rebels came out hungry. The Rebels would tie it just fifty-three seconds in the final period on Gianluca Esteves’ fifth goal of the playoffs. Brennan Kapcheck would dump the puck into the Wings zone where Esteves would retrieve it behind Aberdeen’s net. He passed it up to the near side faceoff circle to Aaron Maguyon who passed it back to Ryan Solomon.  Maguyon would make a cross-ice pass back to Michael Underwood. Underwood would take a shot that was redirected by Esteves past Wings goalie Forbes Ploszaj to make it a 1 to 1 game.

The Rebels would then start to control the flow of the game. They came close to adding a second goal but Ploszaj had to make several key saves to keep the game tied and send it into overtime for the second straight day.

While the Wings had some changes in the third that were thwarted by Mitens, the Rebels dominated the overtime. Then Kapcheck would start the play at his own goal line. He passed the puck up along the near side boards to Esteves who brought the puck into the Wings zone. Esteves made a drop pass back to Maguyon. The Galloway, NJ native passed it back to a trailing Yakovlev. Yakovlev would make a cross-ice pass back to Gvido Jansons at the point. Jansons would pass it over to Solomon. Solomon would take a shot that was saved by Ploszaj but the deep rebound came out to Yakovlev who put it into an open net to give the Rebels a two-games to one series win over the Wings.

Mitens turned aside 23 of 24 shots while Ploszaj stopped 33 of 35 shots. Click here for the box score.

The Rebels will now face the Lone Star Brahmas tomorrow at 2:00pm ET in a winner take all for the NAHL’s Robertson Cup.

Photo Credit: The Rebels would like to thank John Elftmann for providing photos of today’s game.

Wings top Rebels 3 – 2 in overtime to force deciding game

Gage Mackie’s goal with 3:49 left in overtime gave the Aberdeen Wings a 3 – 2 win over the Aston Rebels to even the Robertson Cup semi-final series one game apiece to force a third and deciding game today at 4:00pm ET. The winner of this series will move on to play the Lone Star Brahmas in the Robertson Cup finals tomorrow.

The Wings jumped out of the gate very quickly – just thirty-two seconds into the game. After a turnover by a Rebels defenseman at center ice, Wings defenseman Andy Carroll entered the offensive zone on a two on one with Colin Raver. As Carroll crossed the blueline he passed the puck over to his left to Raver. Raver took a shot that was saved by Rebels goalie Mareks Mitens but the rebound was picked up by Carter Roo who put it past Mitens to give Aberdeen a 1 – 0 lead.

Mitens and his Wings counterpart Forbes Ploszaj had to make several key saves to keep the score the same through two periods of play. However, as time was winding down in the second Aberdeen’s Colton Fletcher was called for cross-checking with forty Forbes Ploszaj six seconds left in the period.

Down by a goal and entering the third period with a man advantage, the Rebels looked to tie the score early. It didn’t.  After Jensen Zerban won the opening faceoff, the puck went back to Brennan Kapcheck. The Rebels defenseman took the puck behind his own net to set up the play. As Kapcheck skated into the neutral zone he sent an errant pass to his left that was picked up by Raver. Raver sent a bounce pass off the far side boards where it was picked up by Roo who walked in on Mitens and beat him bar down to give the Wings a 2 – 0 lead just eighteen seconds into the third period.

The Rebels then would make sure the dreaded two goal lead theory hold water. After a battle along their near side boards, Rebels forward Dustin Manz would bring the puck up through center ice. As he entered the offensive zone he dumped the puck into the zone. The puck went behind the net and up along the far side boards where it was picked up by Auggie Moore. Moore shot it on net where Ryan Patrick redirected the puck but Ploszaj made a big save but the rebound came out to Manz who put behind Ploszaj to cut the Wings lead in half just 1:41 into the third period.

A minute later the Rebels would tie the game at two. As a Wings defenseman tried to dump the puck out of his zone it was intercepted by Kolby Vegara. Vegara took a shot from the top of near side blueline that beat Ploszaj to knot the game at 2:42 into the third period.

Both teams had their chances to win it in regulation but each goaltender made key saves to key the other team at bay.

As the game entered into overtime and wore on Mitens and Ploszaj had to come up big. Then with time winding down in the extra period, Fletcher would enter the Rebels zone. He carried the puck all the way around the net and back towards the high slot. He took a shot that was redirect by Mackie past Mitens to give the Wings the 3 – 2 win to force the third and deciding game.

Mitens stopped 30 of 33 shots while Ploszaj turned aside 34 of 36. Click here for the box score.

The deciding game will be held today at 4:00pm ET.

Weekend Preview: 5/5 – 5/7. Divisional Final round moves to New Jersey. Rebels one win away from advancing to semi-finals

The East Division finals will resume this weekend with the Rebels up two games to none against the New Jersey Titans in this best-of-five series. Game three will be played on Friday at Middletown’s Ice World at 7:30pm. Game four would be on Saturday at 7:30pm at Ice World if needed. Should the series go to a fifth and final game, it would be played on Sunday, May 7 at 7:00pm at IceWorks. The winner of this series will go onto the Robertson Cup semi-finals which begins on Thursday, May 11 in Duluth, MN.

Closing out the series is the hardest thing to do, and during the course of the regular season the Rebels had a losing record on the road against the Titans, winning only two of six games. This has been an extremely hard fought series – typical playoff hockey with excellent goaltending, physical and fast play.

“This has been a great series” stated Rebels head coach Joe Coombs. “Yes, we are up but don’t be fooled. Each game could have gone either way. I think Saturday night was an overall great game for both teams. New Jersey is very fast. Craig and his staff have done an outstanding job. We need one more win and it will be extremely tough. We can’t afford to make any mistakes or New Jersey will make us pay for it” concluded Coombs.

The Rebels have outscored the Titans eight goals to four in the two games. Max Andreev leads the Titans with two goals against Aston. Andreev and Oskar Stromberg each have two points in the series. The Titans are one for three on the power play (33%). Titans goalie Ryan Ferland has played in both games. He possesses a 3.50 goals against average and a .865 save percentage.

The Rebels have used a balanced attack in this series with all eight goals being scored by different players. In fact, six players (Andrew Bellant, Gianluca Esteves, Dom Garcia, Brennan Kapcheck, Aaron Maguyon and Adam Peck) have two points respectively. The Rebels are one for six on the power play (17%). Saturday night’s power play goal was the first power play goal allowed by the Titans during the playoffs. Mareks Mitens has played in both games in the series. He has a 2.00 goals against average and a .894 save percentage.

New Jersey Titans Overview
During the playoffs the Titans have been led by three players with three points each: Jordan Kaplan (3 goals), Todd Goehring (2 goals and 1 assist) and Stromberg (all assists). Kaplan has the most goals with three. Nick Boyagian has two game winning goals for New Jersey. Goehring leads the team in penalty minutes with 25 while Tyler Antonucci has a team best +3 +/- ratio.

The Titans have scored eleven goals in five playoff games which is last of the eight remaining teams in the playoffs. They have allowed eleven goals in the playoffs which is tied for second with the Rebels for least allowed. They have scored 13.3% of the time on the power play and have prevented the opposition from scoring with the extra attacker 95% of the time (third best in the playoffs).

Ferland had a 2.00 goals against average and a .923 save percentage. He has played every minute in the playoffs for the Titans.

Aston Rebels Overview
The Rebels have been led by three players in the playoffs who each have five points: Esteves (2 goals and 3 assists), Jensen Zerban (2 goals and 3 assists) and Kapcheck (1 goal and 4 assists). Drew Blackmun and Gvido Jansons each have three goals. Jansons has a +8 +/- ratio during the playoffs while four players each have a team high four penalty minutes.

The Rebels have scored twenty goals in five playoff games (third best of the eight remaining teams). Aston is fourth in the playoffs on the power play converting on 27.8% of their chances while they are seventh of the remaining teams on the penalty kill with preventing the opposition from scoring 68.8% of the time.

Mitens possesses a 2.01 goals against average and a .902 save percentage.

Manz’s goal gives Rebels 3 – 2 win over Titans and a two-game lead in divisional finals

Dustin Manz’s goal with 9:37 left in the game gave the Aston Rebels a 3 – 2 win over the visiting New Jersey Titans. The victory gives the Rebels’ a two games to none lead in the Robertson Cup’s best-of-five Divisional Final Series. Should they win one more game next weekend the team will advance to the league’s semi-finals beginning on May 11 in Duluth, MN.

This was classic playoff hockey: fast paced, up and down action with both teams having excellent scoring chances countered by excellent goaltending. It was a game with limited penalties and the duration lasted only two hours and six minutes.

Using the same formula as Friday night the Rebels got on the board first very early in the opening period. Gvido Jansons brought the puck out of his own near side boards and passed it up to Andrew Bellant in the neutral zone. Bellant dumped the puck into the Titans zone where it went into their far side corner. Dom Garcia battled for the puck in the corner and passed it up slightly along the boards to Drew Blackmun. Blackmun would skate around the faceoff circle and took a wrist shot that beat New Jersey’s goalie Ryan Ferland short side to give the Rebels a 1 – 0 just 1:17 into the game.

Unlike Friday night, however, the Titans would counter roughly four minutes later. As the Titans started to bring the puck out of their zone there was a breakdown in the Rebels forechecking. Anthony Cusanelli would bring the puck out and passed it over to Tiernan Seningen on his right. Seningen would bring the puck up along the near side boards and into the Rebels zone on a two-on-one with Maxim Andreev. Andreev would go around Rebels defenseman Andrew Noel and passed the puck over an outstretched Adam Peck in the slot to Andreev who redirected it passed Mareks Mitens to tie the game at one at 5:04 into the opening period.

With 8:49 remaining in the first, New Jersey’s Tyler Antonucci would be called for slashing to put the Rebels on the power play. After an in-close save by Ferland a Titans defenseman dumped the puck all the way behind the Rebels net where it was brought up by Brennan Kapcheck. As Kapcheck exited his own zone he passed the puck up to Jensen Zerban As Zerban entered the Titans zone he passed it to Dom Garcia on his left. Garcia would make a reverse play and send the puck back to Kapcheck at the near side point. Kapcheck would pass it over to Gvido Jansons at the top of the point and he took a blast that beat Ferland short side to give the Rebels a 2 – 1 lead with 7:40 left in the period. It was Jansons’ third goal of the playoffs – all coming on the power play. It also happened to be the very first power play goal that New Jersey has allowed during the playoffs.

Just as the second period hit the midway point, Cusanelli would bring the puck up along his far side points into the Rebels zone on a three-on-three. As Cusanelli skated to the top of the faceoff circle he left a drop pass to Tyler Antonucci. Antonucci simply shot the puck on net but it was redirected by Andreev pasted Mitens to tie the game at two.

While the fans from both teams started to feel the anxiety of the tight play as the game headed to the middle of the third period, it was the Rebels second youngest player who would change its outcome.

As the Rebels dumped the puck into the Titans far side corner Peck went to dig it out and pass it up slightly to Ryan Patrick. Patrick would push the puck back to Manz who sent it back to Kapcheck at the point. Kapcheck took a shot on net that was blocked out in front by a Titans’ defenseman but the puck came out to Manz at the top of the slot. Manz would skate to his left and take a backhand shot that went passed Ferland up high to give the Rebels a 3 – 2 lead. It was the Vanderbilt, MI native’s second goal of the playoffs.

Mitens stopped 18 of 20 shots while Ferland turned aside 23 of 26. Click here for the box score.

With the win the Rebels are one victory away from advancing to their second straight league semi-finals. However, the series now shifts back to New Jersey next weekend where the Rebels only won two out of six games during the regular season. Game three is slated for Friday, May 5 at 7:30pm at Middletown’s Ice World.

Rebels win 5 – 2 to take game one of divisional finals

The Aston Rebels used a balanced scoring attack to earn a 5 – 2 win over the visiting New Jersey Titans to take a one game to none lead in this best-of-five divisional final series.

The Rebels completely dominated the first period, in terms of shots on goal (11 – 2) and, most importantly, on the score board.

The East Division champions got on the board early with Adam Peck scoring his first goal of the playoffs just two minutes into the game. All-NAHL First Team defenseman Brennan Kapcheck intercepted a Titans’ outlet pass along the far side boards and carried the puck into the New Jersey zone. As Kapcheck brought the puck deep in the zone he threw it towards the net where it was tipped out in front by Ryan Patrick. Kapcheck continued to circle behind the Titans net and picked up the loose puck. As he skated back to the top of the near side point he took a shot that was saved by New Jersey’s goalie Ryan Ferland but Peck picked up the rebound and put it behind Ferland to give the Rebels a 1 – 0 lead.

The Rebels then would take a 2 – 0 at the 6:04 mark of the opening period. Gianluca Esteves brought the puck out behind his own net and started to skate up towards center ice. Esteves head manned the puck to Kolby Vegara who carried the puck into the Titans zone on a three on two. As Vegara entered the offensive zone he passed the puck to his left to Evgeny Yakovlev at the top of the near side faceoff circle. The Belgorod, Russian native took a snap shot that was saved by Ferland but Aaron Maguyon was left all alone in the slot and tapped in the rebound past Ferland for his first goal of the playoffs.

The Rebels would make it 3 – 0 just thirteen seconds into the second period. Esteves would win the draw at the Titans far side faceoff circle. The puck was picked up by Maguyon at the boards and he made a drop back to Esteves. The Winnipeg, Manitoba native circled behind the Titans net and passed it out front to Yakovlev who tipped it passed Ferland to give the Rebels a three-goal lead.

But you can never underestimate the Titans. They are a very fast and well coached team and don’t give up. And they would get back into the game by playing gritty Titan hockey.

New Jersey’s Ryan Wheeler and the Rebels Andrew Bellant were called for coincidental penalties but the Titans would get the extra attacker when Drew Blackmun was assessed a slashing penalty with almost nine minutes left in the second period to put New Jersey on the power play. With time winding down with the man advantage, Danny Eruzione had the puck in the Rebels far side corner. He passed it back to the point to Hunter Alden who passed it over to his left to Oskar Stromberg. Stromberg took a one-timer that was redirected out front by Gordie Helmuth past Mareks Mitens to make it a 3 – 1 game with 7:23 left in the middle stanza. It was only the Titans six shot on goal in the game.

New Jersey would cut the deficit to one with 2:31 left in the period. After the puck was taken off of Esteves’ stick, it went to Stromberg at the top of his far side faceoff circle. The Rebels got caught on a bad line change and Stromberg passed it up to Dylan Healey who entered the Aston zone on a two on one with Jordan Kaplan. As Healey got to the faceoff circle he passed the puck to Kaplan on his left. Kaplan took a shot that went through Mitens five hole to make it a 3 – 2.

The third period was very fast paced and up and down play. With 2:37 left in the game Esteves would give the Rebels a 4 – 2 lead.  With New Jersey’s Zach Parrott looking to breakout of his own zone he tried to passed it one of his teammates but it was intercepted by Bellant at the blueline. Bellant immediately took a shot that was saved by Ferland but the deep rebound came right out to the trailing Esteves who beat Ferland to give the Rebels a two-goal lead.

Bellant would score an empty net goal with four second remaining to give the Rebels a 5 – 2 win.

Mitens would turn aside 16 of 18 shots while Ferland stopped 22 of 26 shots. Click here for the box score.

Game two of this best-of-five series is tonight at 7:00pm at IceWorks.