Aaron Magyoun’s breakaway goal with two minutes and seventeen seconds remaining in overtime gave the Rebels a thrilling 2 – 1 victory over the visiting Johnstown Tomahawks.
This game was no different from the other six these two teams have played against each other. It was fast and physical with excellent goaltending on both sides. It was a hockey purist’s delight.
The first period was very tight with no scoring and a low shot count (7 for the Rebels and 5 for the Tomahawks). The Rebels then were able to get on the board first with eighteen seconds remaining in the second period. Ryan Patrick entered the Tomahawks zone on a two on three. As he got to the top of the near side faceoff circle, he turned completely around and found Evgeny Yakovlev in the high slot. Yakovlev skated hard to the net as Jensen Zerban joined the play to make it a two on one. Yakovlev made a sensational pass to Zerban on his right and the Air Force Academy commit put it behind Johnstown’s goalie Vinnie Purpura to give the Rebels a 1 – 0 lead. It was Zerban’s ninth goal on the season.
The Tomahawks would tie the game with nine minutes and twenty seconds remaining in the third period. As the Rebels were changing on the fly, Johnstown dumped the puck deep into the Rebels far side corner where it was picked up by Michael Underwood. Underwood sent the puck around the boards where it was intercepted by the Tomahawks’ Josh Norman. Norman skated towards the Rebels net and passed it to Hayden Rowan in the slot. As Rowan was falling down he had the wherewithal to send a shuttle pass back to Norman who put the puck up and over a fallen Mareks Mitens for his second goal on the season.
With thirty one seconds remaining in the game the Rebels had their chances to win it in regulation but Purpura made three, ten bell saves. First, Yakovlev carried the puck into the Johnstown zone and passed it up to Zerban. Zerban passed it over to Patrick on his right. Patrick took a backdoor shot but Purpura slid across and made a left-pad save. The rebound came out back to Patrick and he took a shot that was saved by Purpura but the goalie couldn’t control the rebound. Yakovlev picked up the puck and shot it on net but a fallen Purpura was able to make his third consecutive save and Johnstown cleared the puck and the game was headed to overtime.
Overtime was pure end-to-end excitement. Both teams had their chances but each goalie kept his team in the game. Then with 2:45 left in overtime Ryan Solomon set up the play behind his own net. He passed the puck up the far side boards to Gianluca Esteves. Esteves then sent a cross ice pass to Maguyon who entered the Tomahawks zone on a breakaway. Maguyon cut across the goal mouth and took a backhander that trickled passed Purpura. The Rebels had thought it crossed the goal line but it didn’t and the puck was picked up by Johnstown’s Evan Somoza. Somoza raced down the ice on a breakaway being chased by Esteves.
Somoza cut towards his right and took a backhander that was saved by a sprawling Mitens. The rebound was picked up by Rowan but his shot missed the open net and went to the near side boards where the puck was picked up by Solomon.
Solomon found a breaking Maguyon at center ice. Maguyon entered the Tomahawks zone and took a shot that went through Purpura’s five hole to give the Rebels a 2 – 1 win. It was the eighth goal on the season for the native of Galloway Township, NJ.
Purpura stopped 31 of 33 shots he faced while Mitens turned asided 22 of 23. Click here for the box score.
The win gives the Rebels an eleven point lead over the second place Tomahawks. The two teams will be back at it tonight at 7pm.