The Rebels traveled the Northeast Extension last night to begin their home-and-home series against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights. The Rebels entered the weekend’s action having lost 4 of their last six games while the improved Knights had won two of their last three games.
It started very quickly for the Rebels. As Dean Balsamo and Frank Spellman set up the play, they found Connor Wood who beat Knights goalie Grant Valentine on the very first shot of the game at the :57 second mark of the first period. Then midway through the first Drew Blackmun and Andrew Zerban setup newcomer Ben Allen who light the lamp by beating Valentine.
The Knights cut the deficit in half when Zach Remers scored his second goal of the season by beating Rebels goalie Trevor Micucci at the 12:12 mark of the second period. Then at 5:06 of the period Dorian Dawson took a hooking penalty to put the Rebels on the power player. The power play didn’t last long as Mike Merulla and Ryan Cusin set up Balsamo who beat Valentine at 4:20. It was Balsamo’s twelfth goal on the season.
The Rebels Dom Garica scored four minutes into the third period with assists from Merulla and Cusin to put the visiting team up 4 to 1.
The game quickly turned. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton suddenly became possessed. Dmitriy Zaitsev scored an unassisted goal with 7:53 left in the game to pull the Knights within two. After the Rebels called time out, Paul DeNaples set up Tanner Bennett with 5:49 remaining in the game to put the Knights down by one. Things really got interesting when the Rebels were called for too many men on the ice with a little more than two minutes left in the game.
The Knights pulled their goalie for the extra attacker and peppered Micucci. As the Rebels penalty came to an end, Chris Deprez passed it to Austin Swingle and found Spellman wide open who put it into an empty net to seal the victory.
Micucci stopped 20 shots alone in the third period. Overall he made 39 saves on the night. Click here for the box score.
The Knights and Rebels resume their home-and-home series tonight at 7:00pm at the IceWorks Skating Complex.