Winning by the score of 6 – 3 with 2:21 left in the third period, the Aston Rebels hung on to defeat the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights 7 – 5 at the Revolution Centre in Pittston, PA. The win improves the Rebels record on the young season to 8 – 2.
It didn’t start well for the Rebels. Just a minute and twenty seconds into the game, Knights forward Jimmy Elser brought the puck down low into the Rebels zone and passed it back to unprotected teammate Markuss Komuls at the point. Komuls took a shot that was redirected by Khristian Acota in the slot and put it passed goalie Jack Leavy to give the Knights a 1 – 0 lead.
The Rebels would tie it at one at the 12:11 mark of the first period when forward Andrew Bellant sent a pass back to the point to defensive Ryan Solomon as he was moving from his right to his left and he took a slapshot that beat Knights goaltender Colt Hanks through a screen. It was Solomon’s fourth goal of the season.
A minute later the Rebels would take the lead when Gianluca Esteves was down low inside the Knights zone and passed it back to the hash marks to Solomon. The defenseman took a shot that was redirected by Ryan Patrick who was in the slot passed Hanks. It was Patrick’s first goal of the season.
The Knights would tie it at two when Curtis Carleson head man the puck to Paul Maust at the top of the near side face off circle. Maust took a shot off the lively boards behind Leavy that came out directly to Joseph Campolieto who skated in and picked up the rebound and beat Leavy high and long side.
With time winding down in the opening period, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Matt Kidney brought the puck out of his zone and passed it up to Carleson. Carleson brought the puck into the Rebels zone on a two-on-one with teammate Paul Maust. Carleson and Maust had a nice give and go with Maust putting the final shot behind Leavy with thirty five seconds left in the period for a 3 – 2 lead.
After finally getting their legs underneath them, the Rebels started to take control of the game. They would knot the score at three when center Dustin Manz picked up a rebound shot from Michael Underwood and put it past Hanks 5:44 into the second period.
With an up and down second period winding down, the Rebels were able to apply pressure on Hanks. Gvido Jansons took a shot that was saved by Hanks but Dom Garcia picked up the rebound and tried tucking in the puck. Hanks couldn’t control Garcia’s shot and it went behind the net where Evgeny Yakovlev wrapped it around into an open net to give the Rebels a 4 -3 with less then three minutes remaining in the period.
The beginning of the third period was very quick since there were hardly any stoppages. Then Drew Blackmun redirected a Shane McMahan’s shot in the slot to give the Rebels a 5 – 3 lead with 10 minutes remaining (note: Dom Garcia was credited with the goal but it was actually Blackmun who tipped McMahan’s shot for the goal).
Esteves would score his second goal on the season after being setup by Patrick and Aaron Maguyon with 8:12 remaining in the game to give the Rebels a 6 – 3 lead.
The three goal margin would shrink to one within twelve seconds. First, it was Sam Antonitsch who scored with 2:21 left in the game to make it a 6 – 4 Rebels lead. After the faceoff the Knights rushed into the Rebels zone Carleson would score his third goal on the season with 2:09 left in the game. With time winding down and the Knights pulling Hanks for the extra attacker, the home team kept pressuring the Rebels. Finally, Bellant intercepted a Knights pass at the top of his own zone and dumped the puck into the empty net to seal the victory.
Solomon had three points on the night (one goal and two assists). Leavy (playing in his third game) made 24 saves on 29 shots while Hanks stopped 25 of 31 shots. Click here for the box score.
The Rebels will be participating in civic outings on their off day. Many of the players will be at the Aston Community Day while the remaining players will be at Riddle Hospital’s family day. The Rebels then will play home on Sunday and Monday against the Northeast Generals.