The Aston Rebels played their 73rd and final game of the season today. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out the way the players wanted it. Despite having playing their seventh game in ten days and coming off an exhausting but thrilling overtime game from the day before, their valiant effort came up short as they fell to the Lone Star Brahmas 3 – 0 in the North American Hockey League’s Robertson Cup National Championship Finals.
The Rebels played a very strong opening period cutting off the Brahmas neutral zone. However, each team did have their respective chances to score but Lone Stars’ goalie Max Prawdzik and Mareks Mitens each made several key saves to keep the score knotted at zero after the first period.
The second period continue as the same path as the first period with both teams playing very solid hockey. However, with time winding down in the middle stanza, Lone Star took advantage of a Rebels turnover in their own.
After a Rebels defenseman attempted to clear the puck out of their own zone it was intercepted at the nearside blue line by Austin Kamer. Kamer would bring the puck to the faceoff dot and passed it to Pete Kessel to his left. Kessel would take a shot on goal but the puck hit the side of the net where it picked up by Drake Glover. Glover would pass it out to Kamer in the slot and he one-timed it passed Mitens to give the Brahmas a 1 – 0 lead with 2:31 left in the middle stanza.
Lone Star would double their lead at the 4:04 mark of the final period. As the Rebels tried to break out of their zone and outlet pass was intercepted by Lone Stars’ Julian Biondo. Biondio brought the puck in close and took a shot that was saved by Mitens but Austin O’Rourke picked up the rebound to make it a 2 – 0.
With time winding down in the game and hoping to cut the Brahmas lead in half Mitens was pulled for an extra attacker. Tory York would score an empty net goal with 59 seconds left in the game to seal the championship for the Brahmas.
Mitens stopped 20 of 22 shots he faced while Prawdzik turned aside all seventeen shots. Click here for the box score.
Rebels defenseman Kolby Vegara and forward Gianluca Esteves were named to the 2017 NAHL All-Tournament team.
Despite the loss, the Rebels had an extremely successful season: best record during the regular season, team high 46 wins. Coach of the Year with Joe Coombs and the league’s Most Valuable Player and best goalie in Mareks Mitens along with eleven NCAA commitments to date.
The team will come back to Philadelphia tomorrow morning and the players will begin to clean out their locker rooms and, sadly, say their goodbyes.