The Rebels last night honored Philadelphia Phantoms legend Frank “The Animal” Bialowas. It was only fitting that the Rebels beat the pulp out of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights on the former Phantoms’ enforcer’s special night. Michael Merulla had four straight goals while Ryan Cusin had five assists as the Rebels blew out the Knights 7-1.
Merulla started the night off on a good note when he was set up by Ryan Cusin and drilled a shot passed Knights goalie Grant Valentine at 9:03 into the first period. But despite playing their third game in as many nights, the Knights didn’t lay down. After Dom Garcia was assessed a hooking penalty, Jacob Hamacher beat Rebels goalie Trevor Micucci long side tying the game at one. With 4:20 left in the first, the Knights Stephen Kelly was called for tripping. Twelve seconds later, Merulla found the net for the second time sending the Rebels into the first period intermission with a 2 to 1 lead.
As soon as the second period started, Merulla took charge again. With a minute into it, Cusin fed Garcia who found Merulla who beat Valentine on a short side shot. The trio did the same thing eleven minutes later giving the home team a 4 to 1 lead. It was Merulla’s fourth goal of the game. It was Merulla’s seventh goal against the Knights in the past three games.
With less than four minutes left in the second, Kristofers Bindulis brought the puck in the zone and found Andrew Bellant. Bellant saw an open Eric Carreras who buried a shot past the sliding Valentine. It was Carreras’ first goal as a Rebel, who was recently acquired from Odessa earlier in the week for Connor Wood.
The Rebels put the game away in the third with power play goals from Garcia and Dean Balsamo. Merulla finished the night with five points (four goals and one assist); Many Rebels took part in the victory: Cusin had five assists, Bindulis had three assists; Garcia had 1 goal and two assists while Carreras had a nice debut with a goal and an assist.
Valentine had 27 saves on 34 shots while Micucci stopped 29 of 30 shots. It was the third straight game in which Micucci had played. Click here for the box score.