The visiting Aston Rebels defeated the Johnstown Tomahawks last night 2 – 0 to conclude the 2016-17 regular season. The victory gave the Rebels 46 wins on the season, a 31% increase from the prior year for a team that went to the NAHL’s semi-finals.
The Rebels sat seven players plus their two regular goalies due to injuries. Head coach Joe Coombs rolled three lines and needed to play with two emergency goalies: Carter McPhail and Brooks DiMarino.
After a scoreless first period Aaron Maguyon put the Rebels on the board first with the eventual game winner. Michael Underwood dumped the puck deep inside the Tomahawks zone so the Rebels could make a line change. As a Johnstown defender retrieved the puck and sent a bounce pass off the boards it was intercepted right at the far side blueline by Carson Briere. Briere sent a feather pass up to Maguyon who went around a Tomahawks’ defenseman and took a shot that beat Vinnie Purpura short side to make it a 1 – 0 just 2:03 into the second period.
Briere, who had three points on the weekend, would play a prominent role in the Rebels second goal. After another block shot by a Rebels defenseman, the puck came out to Briere at his own nearside faceoff circle. Briere carried the puck all that way in the Johnstown zone and made a nifty pass from Purpura’s right to Adam Peck in the slot who redirected the puck passed Purpura for his sixth goal on the season with 5:03 remaining in the third period to make a 2 – 0 game.
The Rebels used stifling defense in front of McPhail to record the team’s seventeenth shutout on the season. McPhail turned aside all 19 shots he faced while Purpura stopped 23 of 25 shots. Click here for the box score.
The real season begins on Friday night when the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knight visit IceWorks to begin a best of five, divisional semi-final series against the Rebels.
Photo Credit: The Rebels cannot thank Phil Andraychak enough for the great photos he has provided throughout the season while the Rebels are in Johnstown. Thank you Phil!