The Aston Rebels celebrated the past and the present last night as the team paid homage to its inaugural season while one of its returning players ensured that last year’s success wasn’t a mirage. Andrew Bellant had a four point game to lead the Rebels to a 5 – 0 victory over the Northeast Generals in the Rebels home opener. The win gave the Rebels a 6 – 1 record early in the season.
There was electricity in the air as former captain Austin Swingle and forward Colton McMenamin returned to raise the team’s 2015-16 championship banner to the rafters in a pregame ceremony. The current team took notice and went out and dominated a game peppering both Generals’ goalies with a combined 48 shots on goal.
After a blast from the far side point from Brennan Kapcheck that went wide of the net, defensive partner Justin Smith picked up the deep rebound and sent the puck behind the net. Shane McMahan retrieved it in the far side corner and sent a nice cross-ice pass to Bellant who made a one-time snapshot passed Generals goalie Gabe Vinyl putting the Rebels up 1 – 0 with 5:57 left in the first period.
Despite having 19 shots on goal in the first period, the Rebels were only up by one heading into the middle period due, in part, to the play of Vinyl. But the game would change quickly.
Dustin Manz won the faceoff deep inside the Generals zone. As he drew the puck back, Bellant picked it up and passed it back to the point to Michael Underwood. Underwood took a shot that Vinyl made a kick save but the puck came out to McMahan who picked it up and put it past the Generals goaltender to give the Rebels a 2 – 0 with 17:10 left in the second period. It was McMahan’s fourth goal on the season.
A minute and twenty six seconds later, defenseman Ryan Solomon went the to clear the puck out of the Rebels far side zone and banked the puck up high off the glass at center ice where it was picked up by Bellant. Bellant brought the puck into the Generals zone on a breakaway and cut across the goal mouth and put it past Vinyl to give the Rebels a 3 – 0. It was Bellant’s second goal of the game and fourth of the season.
Northeast’s Max Brainin was called for interference with 13:51 into the middle period putting the Rebels on the power play. While trying to set up Bellant for the hat trick, Kapcheck passed the puck to Bellant who took a shot that went wide. The puck came out to Andreas Maier who passed it back to Bellant. Bellant sent the puck back to Maier who was deep inside the Generals zone and sent a beautiful cross-ice pass across the slot where Gvido Jansons redirected the puck into an open net giving the Rebels a 4 – 0 lead with 5:05 left in the second period.
Carter Woolley would get a nice birthday present as he scored the Rebels fifth goal on the night with assists from Manz and Jensen Zerban.
Marekts Mitens would record his second straight shutout (and third on the year) as he stopped all 10 shots he faced. Click here for the box score.
The two teams are back at it tonight at 7:00pm as the Rebels honor Folcroft patrolman Christopher Dorman who survived being shot seven times in the line of duty back in June.