Mount Joe erupted.
Despite the improved play of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights, Rebels head coach Joe Coombs felt his team’s effort during Friday night’s loss was less then inspiring. When the team returned to IceWorks at 11:45pm, rink 4 opened and the boys skated for 45 minutes, sort of like what Herb Brooks did to the 1980 U.S. Olympic team after their poor performance against Norway.
Message sent loud and clear!
The Rebels played a full sixty minute game and defeated the Knights 7-0 as Kennett Square, PA native Mike Merulla had a four point game while teammates Dean Balsamo, Andrew Bellant and Ryan Cusin had three as goaltender Trevor Micucci earned the shutout.
Frank Spellman scored the game winner at the 16:28 mark of the first period when he took a pass from Connor Wood and Andrew Bellant and beat Knights goalie Grant Valentine. A minute and a half later Mike Merulla scored his first goal of the game with an assist from Dean Balsamo.
It was all down hill after the first for the Knights. Merulla scored his second goal of the game on the power play with assists from Bellant and Cusin at 8:52 of the second period. Bellant then scored through Valentine’s five hole at the 11:11 mark of the period to send Valentine to the bench. Less than five minutes later, Balsamo showed no mercy by beating Valentine’s replacement Andrey Svistunov to put the Rebels up 5-0 going into the third.
Cusin put the Rebels on the board quickly in the final period at the 2:08 mark with assists from Merulla and recently announced Division 1 commitment Kristofers Bindulis. Finally, Austin Swingle scored on the power play at 15:54 of the third from Ryan Solomon and Jerry Miettuten.
Micucci played well and stopped all 27 shots.
Mount Joe got to relax and laugh afterwards as he watched his team skate after the game again – this time in a different way with many of the fans staying to skate with them during Skate Night with the Rebels. Players and fans had a great time!
Click here for box score.