Aaron Maguyon had a goal and two assists and goaltender Mareks Mitens turned aside all 31 shots he faced as the pair led the Rebels to a 4 – 0 win over the visiting New Jersey Titans. It was the first game of a home-and-home series between the two teams.
It was pretty much an up and down, grind it out type of game with the teams’ pressuring each other. The Rebels got on the board first with 4:53 left in the first period after a very strange sequence of plays. New Jersey’s William Riedell skated the puck out of his own zone and dumped it deep into the Rebels zone where Mitens went to play it behind his own net. The puck went over his stick into the nearside corner where a New Jersey forward retrieved the puck. As all forwards are taught to do, he threw the puck on the net, which caught Mitens by surprised as he had to make an unexpected spectacular save. The rebound came out to Gianluca Esteves who passed it up to new defenseman Andrew Noel. Noel passed it up to Evgeny Yakovlev who brought the puck in the Titans zone. Yakovlev passed the puck down low to Maguyon who feed it back to the top of the faceoff circle to Yakovlev. Yakovlev took a one-timer which beat Titans goalie Harrison Feeney short side to give the Rebels a 1 – 0 lead. It was Yakovlev’s sixth goal of the season.
With tight checking being played in the second period, the outcome of the game would change within a minute and thirty two seconds. After Gvido Jansons intercepted a New Jersey outlet pass at center ice, the Rebels’ defenseman dumped the puck into the Titans zone. Esteves picked up the puck and went around the Titans net and brought it back up to the top of the nearside faceoff circle. Esteves sent a cross-ice pass down low to Maguyon who took a wrist shot that beat Feeney nearside, top-shelf to give the Rebels a 2 – 0 lead with 5:15 left in the period.
A minute and thirty two second later Jensen Zerban would score his second goal of the season to give the Rebels a 3 – 0 lead. Andrew Bellant intercepted a Titans pass at the top of his own nearside faceoff circle. Bellant gave a shuttle pass to Zerban who in turn passed it to Dom Garcia. Garcia brought the puck up the far side boards into the Titans zone. Garcia found defenseman Ryan Solomon at the top of the circle. Solomon took a one-timer that was saved by Feeney but Zerban picked up the rebound and tucked it behind Feeney with 4:43 left in the middle stanza.
Esteves, who was named honorable mention for forward of the month for November, would score his ninth goal of the season to give the Rebels a 4 – 0 lead. Solomon made a nice, center ice open hit on the New Jersey puck carrier. After the hit the puck squirted out where it was picked up by Maguyon who brought the puck up the far side boards into the Titans zone. Maguyon looked to his left and found Esteves at the top of slot. Esteves took a wrist shot that beat Feeney short side. Esteves ended the night with two points.
It was Mitens league-leading seventh shutout of the season. Feeney stopped 24 of 28 shots. Click here for the box score.
The two teams will be at it again tonight for the second game of this series to be played at Middletown’s Ice World.