The Rebels depart from BWI airport today at 11:58am and head to Minneapolis for the North American Hockey League’s 15th annual showcase which will be held at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, MN. They will play a total of four games, with a game scheduled for each day. Two of their opponents will be familiar faces from last year’s Robertson Cup tournament: Aberdeen Wings and Lone Star Brahmas.
The Rebels will play their first game of the season at 11:15am ET against the Minnesota Wilderness. The Wilderness are coached by Tim Madsen (2nd year). Last year they finished second in the central division with a 32-22-6 record for 70 points. Zach Mills and Michael Zuffante led the team in points with 48 each. The Wilderness lost in the Central Division Finals to Aberdeen 3 games to 2. Like the Rebels, they will play their first game of the season against each other. The Wilderness’ home opener is Friday, October 6 against the Bismarck Bobcats.
The second game of the Showcase for the Rebels will pit them against last season’s semi-final opponent the Aberdeen Wings, whom the Rebels defeated two games to one. The one-game rematch will take place on Thursday at 5:15pm ET. The Wings are led by second year Head Coach Scott Langer. Last season Aberdeen finished fourth in the Central Division with a 29-24-7 record for 65 points. Their leading scorer was Kevin Fitzgerald with 59 points. The Wings will play their first game of the season against the Springfield Jr. Blues on Wednesday. Their home opener will be on Friday, September 29 against the Brookings Blizzard.
The third game of the tournament will be held on Friday at 2:00pm ET against the Corpus Christi IceRays. The IceRays are coached by Brad Flynn (2nd year). Last year they had a 32-19-9 record for 73, which earned them third place in the South Division. The team’s leading scorer was Mason Krueger with 56 points. Corpus Christi lost to eventual NAHL Champion Lone Star three games to two in the divisional finals. Unlike the Rebels first two opponents of the Showcase, the IceRays have played two games already. They split their games against the Topeka RoadRunners. Corpus Christi’s home opener will be on Friday, September 29 against the Odessa Jackalopes.
The final game of the Showcase will take place on Saturday at 10:45am ET against the team that beat the Rebels in the Robertson Cup finals: Lone Star Brahmas. The Brahmas are led by fifth year head coach Dan Wildfong. They finish first in the South Division with a 44-14-2 record for 90 points. They were led by Carson Kelley’s 50 points. Lone Star enters the Showcase with a 2 – 0 record having shutout the Shreveport Mudbugs in both games. The Brahmas’ home opener will be held on Friday, October 20th against the IceRays.
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