The Rebels defeated the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights last night by the score of 4 – 1 for the team’s sixth straight win. The win gave the Rebels a 13 – 2 record on the season and the best in the North American Hockey League.
Similar to the previous weekend, it was a fast pace, up and down game. Both teams did an excellent job of limiting each other’s chances. In fact, each team only had six shots on goal in the first period. However, the Knights Khristian Acosta made his count. Rebels’ defenseman Gvido Jansons was at his own near side goal line and he went to clear the puck. Acosta intercepted the pass at the point and took a knuckle shot that beat Mareks Mitens long side with 6:55 left in the opening period to give the visitors a 1 – 0 lead.
With a minute and 20 seconds left in the first, the reigning East Division player of the week would get the Rebels back into the game. As the Knights were trying to clear the puck up off the boards, Ryan Patrick intercepted the pass. As he controlled the puck he passed it to the top of the face off circle to Carter Woolley who took a slap shot that beat Knights goaltender Grant Valentine short side to tie the game at one.
As the fast paced game continued into the second, it looked as if the game would enter the final period tied. After the Knights had a golden opportunity to take the lead with time winding down in the period, Dom Garcia picked up the puck from a deep rebound off the boards and brought it out of the zone on a two on one with Aaron Maguyon. As the pair entered the Knights zone, Maguyon passed it to the left-handed Garcia. Garcia took a shot at Valentine but the goaltender couldn’t control the rebound. As Valentine fell down the puck dropped to the goal line and Maguyon pushed it in with seven seconds left in the second period to give the Rebels a 2 – 1 lead. It was a huge goal that would turn the game around.
With the game becoming more physical in the third, the Rebels brought the puck in the Knights zone. Rune Kirby took a shot that went wide of the Knights net. The puck came back out deep to Brennan Kapcheck at the point. He passed it down low to Maguyon. Maguyon found Gianluca Esteves in the slot. Esteves took a shot that was initially saved by Valentine but the puck trickled off his pads and into the net to give the Rebels a 3 – 1 lead with 5:43 into the final period.
Immediately after the face off, Andrew Bellant intercepted a Knights pass in the neutral zone. Bellant head man the puck to Garcia. Garcia tried to bring the puck into the Knights’ zone but was denied. He passed the puck back to Bellant at the blue line. Bellant went to dump the puck into the zone but a Knights defenseman failed to control it off the boards where Bellant picked up the puck and skated towards the goal mouth. He made a beautiful back-hand shot that beat Valentine glove high to give the Rebels a 4 – 1 lead. It was Bellant’s eleventh goal on the season.
Maguyon would have a goal and assist on the night. Mitens would stop 24 of 25 shots he faced while Valentine made 21 saves on 25 shots. Click here for the box score.
The Rebels are off on Saturday night. Next weekend the Johnstown Tomahawks visit IceWorks for two games between the East Division’s two best teams.