Over the weekend, the Rebels had their first home games of 2019, hosting the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights for the second-straight weekend. The Rebels came into this past weekend with an overall record of 20-10-2-1, good for second place in the East. The Knights on the other hand were on the outside looking in with an overall record of 12-19-1-1, putting them in fifth place. These two teams met for the fifth weekend series, the most either team has played against an opponent.
On Friday it was a battle between winless netminder Samuel Vyletelka and one of the top-five goalies in the league, Ryan Keane. The scoring came early for the Rebels as just 3:09 into the first, Antonio Venuto stick lifted a Knight and was able to walk right in for the 1-0 lead. While on the power play and with about :15 seconds left in the first, Colin Schmidt made a beautiful back-hand pass as he was falling to the ground to Alex Frye who was wide open at the top of the crease. Frye picked up his 52nd junior goal in what was his 200th junior game. The Rebels picked things up in the second where they left off in the first thanks to Noah Finstrom. He sniped one right past Vyleltelka for a power-play goal, making it a 3-0 Rebels lead. Neither team could find the back of the net for the remainder of the game, giving Keane his second shutout of the season (17SVS). Rebels increased their season-series lead over the Knights to 8-1 and with a little help from some top teams, the Rebels were tied for fourth place in the league at 46pts. With the win Keane now has 16 on the season which ranks him third among goalies.
Saturday marked the first time this season Keane has started four-straight games. He went up against Zach Stejskal who just barely cracked the top 15 for goalies overall. The game seemed to start out déjà vu like as Antonio Venuto notched the first goal of the game just before the halfway point of the period. Following in Venuto’s footsteps was Alex Frye as he put his team up by a pair with under three minutes left in the first. Unfortunately, that is where the déjà vu ended for the Rebels as they let up two goals in the middle period just :58 seconds apart. The Rebels applied a lot of pressure in the late stages of regulation, but it would not be enough as the horn sounded and with a 2-2 game we headed into extra hockey. In the 3-on-3 overtime the Rebels controlled most of the possession but with a lot of open ice and fresher legs, the Knights’ Forward Tyrone Bronte picked up the puck and went the other way. He was able to out muscle Frye who was the only man back for Jamestown and beat Keane for the win. The Knights won their first game here at the Northwest Arena. It was also Keane’s first overtime loss this season.
Jamestown still sits in second place with a record of 21-10-3-1 (46PTS), whereas the Knights, improve their record to 13-20-1-1(28PTS), but not their position as they sit in fifth place. The Rebels will travel to New Jersey this weekend to face the Titans. New Jersey got swept by the Generals this past weekend and they are ten points back on Jamestown. The Rebels will have to go up against a team that is looking for revenge after getting swept and they are also trying to close the gap. The Rebels are 1-2-1 against the Titans this season. It is crucial for the Rebels to come out firing on all cylinders during Friday’s game, so they can gain some confidence back and set the tone for the weekend. For ticket information call 716-484-2624.