The Rebels valiant comeback effort came up short last night as the team lost 4 -3 to the New Jersey Titans in the regular season finale. The Rebels now begin preparations for round one of the playoffs beginning April 15 against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights.
The Rebels were playing without five players who combined for 226 of the team’s points this season. The team’s hardest working player Dom Garcia got the visitors on the board first. Jensen Zerban brought the puck into the Titans zone and passed it to Jerry Miettuten. Miettuten found Garcia at the top of the circle who then made a great move towards the net that forced Titans goalie Spencer Wright commit to his left and Garcia tucked the puck underneath him at 11:28 into the first period.
The Titans went on the power play with 4:20 left in the first. With the draw deep inside the Rebels zone, Robert Smits won the face off and the puck went back to Dan Weaver. Weaver passed it to William Riedell who took a bomb of shot that beat Rebels goalie Trevor Micucci long side with 4:13 left in the opening period.
After back and forth play to open the second period, New Jersey’s Brad Becker carried the puck into the Rebels zone and took a low shot that beat Micucci short side to give the Titans a 2 – 1 lead. Ryan Solomon was called for tripping with 3:20 left in the middle period. Raymond Brice found the back of the net twenty one second later to put the Titans up 3 – 1.
After a lengthy second period intermission due to zamboni issues, Mason Van Tuyl was called for hooking at the 15:05 mark of the third. The Titans scored their second power play goal of the game when Joseph Schuler took a shot from the point that went off Micucci’s stick into the net to give the Titans a 4 – 1.
With almost ten minutes remaining in the final period, the Rebels cut the deficit in half when Frank Spellman and Andrew Bellant crashed the net and Joey Abel picked up the rebound and put it past Wright for his first goal of the season. Then with forty seconds left, Andrew Bellant beat Wright to make it a frantic finish. After a Rebels timeout, the team was unable to generate a shot as the game clock ran out giving the Rebels a split with the Titans this past weekend.
Wright had 18 saves on 21 shots while Micucci saved 18 of 22 shots. The Rebels won 10 of the 16 games against the Titans this season. Click here for the box score.
The Rebels will now begin to focus on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights with round one of the best of five playoffs slated to begin on Friday, April 15 at 7pm at IceWorks.