The Rebels defeated the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights last night at the Revolution Ice Centre by a score of 4 – 1 giving the East leaders a weekend sweep over their division rival. The game could have been titled: Friday Night’s win The Sequel. However, like every other second movie, the plots change ever so slightly.
Like Friday night’s game, last night’s game was very fast paced throughout. The major difference between the two games was the amount of pressure the Knights applied. Unlike Friday night where the Knights had a total of 14 shots on goal, last night the Knights had 33 as they kept the pressure on the Rebels for most of the game.
After an up and down but fast opening period, the Knights would get on the board first when Matt Kidney brought the puck up the far side boards and passed it to Khristian Acosta. Acosta head man the puck to a speedy Braden Brown at the top of the circle. Brown carried the puck across the goal mouth where Rebels goalie Mareks Mitens tried to poke check the puck but was unable to and it slide past him with a minute and six seconds left in the first period giving the Knights a 1 – 0 lead. The Knights would out shoot the Rebels 10 – 9 in the opening period.
Heading into the second period down by a goal, the Rebels would tie the game quickly. At 2:03 of the middle period with the Rebels setting up in the Knights zone, Dom Garcia was at the near side point where it passed it along side the blue line to Justin Smith. Smith took a blast from the point that beat Knights’ goalie Grant Valentine through a screen. Initially it had looked as if Carter Woolley redirected Smith’s shot passed Valentine but the goal was awarded to Smith.
Six minutes later with the puck in the Knights’ zone, Brennan Kapcheck took a shot from the point that was initially saved by Valentine but Woolley picked up the rebound and beat Valentine up high giving the Rebels a 2 – 1 lead.
The Rebels would make the most of their opportunities in the second period. The Knights kept pressuring them, evening outshooting the Rebels 18 – 9 but Mitens would make some key saves to keep the Rebels in the lead. Then at the 16:39 mark of the second period the Knights Mike Gelatt was called for slashing putting the Rebels on the power play. Gianluca Esteves would carry the puck along the near side boards and took a wrist shot that beat Valentine with a minute and twenty seconds left in the second period giving them a 3 – 1 lead.
The third period the Rebels completely shut down the Knights attack, limiting them to only five shots on goal. With five minutes left in the game, Andrew Bellant would score his tenth goal on the season when he beat Valentine to give the Rebels a 4 – 1 lead.
Mitens would stop 32 of the 33 shots he faced while Valentine turned aside 22 of 26 shots. Click here for the box score.
The win gave the Rebels a 12 – 2 record, the best in the North American Hockey League.