The game had that playoff feel. It was a tight checking, up and down skating and low-scoring game that was settled fifteen seconds into overtime when Rebels defenseman Kristofers Bindulis took a blast from the point that beat New Jersey Titans goalie Spencer Wright to give the home team the win and two points.
With the Titans having won the first of three straight games between the two teams on Wednesday, they were looking to extend their lead in the East Division to six points. Both teams knew that the stakes would be high going into game two.
Six minutes and eighteen seconds into the first period New Jersey’s Adam Hascic and the Rebels Dean Balsamo got into a good old fashion fisticuffs that pumped energy into both teams. However, the period ended with no score.
The Rebels got on the board first in the second period when Mason Van Tuyl found an open Balsamo who skated in on a breakaway on Wright and beat him at 6:41 into the middle stanza. It was Balsamo’s 22 goal on the season.
The Rebels lead was short-lived. Immediately following the face off the puck was dumped into the Rebels zone. One of the Rebels defenseman picked up the puck. He tried to pass it back to his defensive partner but inadvertently shot the puck into his own net and beat a stunned Rebels goalie Darion Hanson to tie the game at one. The goal was credited to Andrew Durham.
The Rebels dominated the third period preventing the Titans from having any shots on goal. The Rebels had three scoring chances during the final period but were not able to convert them into goals. So the game headed to overtime.
As overtime began, Michael Merulla entered the Titans zone and took a shot that was saved by Wright. Balsamo won the draw and the puck went back to Dom Garcia who passed it to Bindulis. Bindulis took a blast from the point that found its way through a screen to beat Wright and give the Rebels a 2 – 1 victory. The win cuts the Titans’ lead in the East Division to three. Balsamo had a “Gordie Howe Hat Trick” where he had a goal, an assist and a fight.
Wright made 26 saves on 28 shots while Hanson made 13 saves on 14 shots. Click here for the box score. The two teams will be at it again tonight when the Rebels visit Ice World in Middletown, NJ.