Tag Archives: Dustin Manz

Three Rebels selected in 2018 USHL Draft

Phase II of the 2018 United States Hockey League (USHL) draft was held yesterday and three current Rebels (plus one former Rebel) were selected.

Nicolas Appendino, Chase Hamstad and Eric Olson are the current Rebels that were selected while former Rebel Dustin Manz (2016-17) was chosen as well.

Appendino was taken in the fourth round (56 overall) by the Fargo Force. Appendino joined the Rebels in January. The skilled defenseman played in twenty-six games and had ten points (1 goal and 9 assists).

Hamstad, who is a Rebels tender and joined the team in early March, was taken in the ninth round (137 overall) by the Cedar Rapids Roughriders. Hamstad played in ten games and had four points (2 goals and 2 assists).

Olson, who was named the team’s 2017-18 hardest working player, was taken in the thirteenth round (199 overall) by the Madison Capitals. “Red” played in 56 games during the regular season and had twenty points (9 goals and 11 assists).

Manz, played in 56 games for the Rebels during the 2016-17 season and had sixteen points (4 goals and 12 assists). He was selected in the fifth round (83 overall) by the Lincoln Stars.

USHL member clubs were able to select any player born between the years 1998 and 2002 until each team had 45 players on their roster.

Wings top Rebels 3 – 2 in overtime to force deciding game

Gage Mackie’s goal with 3:49 left in overtime gave the Aberdeen Wings a 3 – 2 win over the Aston Rebels to even the Robertson Cup semi-final series one game apiece to force a third and deciding game today at 4:00pm ET. The winner of this series will move on to play the Lone Star Brahmas in the Robertson Cup finals tomorrow.

The Wings jumped out of the gate very quickly – just thirty-two seconds into the game. After a turnover by a Rebels defenseman at center ice, Wings defenseman Andy Carroll entered the offensive zone on a two on one with Colin Raver. As Carroll crossed the blueline he passed the puck over to his left to Raver. Raver took a shot that was saved by Rebels goalie Mareks Mitens but the rebound was picked up by Carter Roo who put it past Mitens to give Aberdeen a 1 – 0 lead.

Mitens and his Wings counterpart Forbes Ploszaj had to make several key saves to keep the score the same through two periods of play. However, as time was winding down in the second Aberdeen’s Colton Fletcher was called for cross-checking with forty Forbes Ploszaj six seconds left in the period.

Down by a goal and entering the third period with a man advantage, the Rebels looked to tie the score early. It didn’t.  After Jensen Zerban won the opening faceoff, the puck went back to Brennan Kapcheck. The Rebels defenseman took the puck behind his own net to set up the play. As Kapcheck skated into the neutral zone he sent an errant pass to his left that was picked up by Raver. Raver sent a bounce pass off the far side boards where it was picked up by Roo who walked in on Mitens and beat him bar down to give the Wings a 2 – 0 lead just eighteen seconds into the third period.

The Rebels then would make sure the dreaded two goal lead theory hold water. After a battle along their near side boards, Rebels forward Dustin Manz would bring the puck up through center ice. As he entered the offensive zone he dumped the puck into the zone. The puck went behind the net and up along the far side boards where it was picked up by Auggie Moore. Moore shot it on net where Ryan Patrick redirected the puck but Ploszaj made a big save but the rebound came out to Manz who put behind Ploszaj to cut the Wings lead in half just 1:41 into the third period.

A minute later the Rebels would tie the game at two. As a Wings defenseman tried to dump the puck out of his zone it was intercepted by Kolby Vegara. Vegara took a shot from the top of near side blueline that beat Ploszaj to knot the game at 2:42 into the third period.

Both teams had their chances to win it in regulation but each goaltender made key saves to key the other team at bay.

As the game entered into overtime and wore on Mitens and Ploszaj had to come up big. Then with time winding down in the extra period, Fletcher would enter the Rebels zone. He carried the puck all the way around the net and back towards the high slot. He took a shot that was redirect by Mackie past Mitens to give the Wings the 3 – 2 win to force the third and deciding game.

Mitens stopped 30 of 33 shots while Ploszaj turned aside 34 of 36. Click here for the box score.

The deciding game will be held today at 4:00pm ET.

Rebels win game five 6 – 2 to advance to NAHL’s semi-finals in Duluth

Evgeny Yakovlev scored two goals to lead the Aston Rebels to a 6 – 2 victory over the visiting New Jersey Titans. The win enabled the Rebels to win their second straight East Division playoff championship three games to two and advance to the NAHL’s semi-finals in Duluth, MN as the league’s number one seed.

The Rebels will play the winner of tonight’s fifth and deciding game between the Aberdeen Wings and Minnesota Wilderness.

This was a very good series with both teams displaying grit, determination, speed and physicality. It was a shame one of them had to lose. Each team pushed the other and helped the other prepare for the semi-finals.

New Jersey’s Hunter Alden was called for cross-checking at the 11:39 mark of the first period putting the Rebels on the power play. With time winding down with the extra attacker, Ryan Solomon brought the puck out of his own zone and passed it up to Drew Blackmun. Blackmun would take a wrist shot that was kicked aside by Titans goalie Ryan Ferland into the far corner. Blackmun would pick up his own rebound and passed it back slightly to Gianluca Esteves. Esteves passed it back to Solomon at the top of the point and he took shot that beat Ferland long side to give the Rebels a 1 – 0 lead with 6:35 remaining in the opening period.

After outshooting the Titans 12 – 4 after one period, the Rebels looked to grow their lead. And they did by scoring two goals 1:17 apart from each other early in the second.

After Dustin Manz won the draw deep inside the Titans zone the puck would go into the near side corner where it was picked up by Adam Peck. Peck would battle for the puck and passed it up slightly along the boards to Andrew Hart. Hart would charge towards the net and take a shot that was saved by Ferland but Peck picked up the rebound and put it past Ferland to make it a 2 – 0 Rebels lead just 2:16 into the second.

Yakovlev then would score his first goal of the night to give the Rebels a 3 – 0 lead. New Jersey’s Anthony Cusanelli hustled into the Rebels zone to prevent an icing call. As he picked up the puck he went to pass it back to a teammate but it was intercepted by Aaron Maguyon. Maguyon would bring the puck up along the far side boards and into the Titans zone. As he reached the faceoff dot he found a trailing Yakovlev in the slot and the big Russian buried Maguyon’s pass by Ferland at the 3:33 mark of the middle stanza.

New Jersey, however, never quit. Gordie Helmuth would put the Titans on the board just 2:17 later. After time had just expired on Gvido Jansons cross-checking penalty there was a faceoff deep inside the Rebels near side zone. Alden would win the draw and the puck came out to Helmuth who immediately took a shot that beat Rebels goalie Jack Leavy short side to make it a 3 – 1 game.

The Rebels would regain the three-goal lead with 5:45 left in the second. Maguyon would bring the puck into the Titans zone and immediately passed it over to Esteves on his right. Esteves would take a shot that was saved by Ferland but Maguyon picked up the rebound and passed the puck back to Jansons at the top of the point. Jansons would slightly skate further into the zone and took a wrist shot that beat Ferland high to make it a 4 – 1 game. Ferland was then replaced by Brandon Perrone.

A minute and twenty-eight seconds later Helmuth cut the Rebels lead in two again. After Dom Garcia dumped the puck into the Titans zone for a line change it was picked up by Helmuth in the high slot. Helmuth saw daylight and skated untouched into the Rebels zone. As he crossed the blueline he took a wrist shot the beat Leavy glove side to make a 4 – 2 game with 4:17 remaining in the period.

Yakovlev would score his second goal of the game a minute and nine seconds later. Maguyon, who had three assists on the evening, won the draw deep inside the Titans far side corner. The puck went back to Yakovlev at the top of the circle and he took a shot that beat Perrone 3:08 left in the second. It was Yakovlev’s fourth goal of the playoffs.

The Rebels continued to play shutdown defense in the third. With time winding down in the game and Perrone pulled for the extra attacker, Blackmun would score his fourth goal of the playoffs – an empty netter –  with thirty-seven seconds left to make it a 6 – 2 game.

Leavy stopped 14 of 16 shots with Ferland/Perrone turned aside 34 of 39 shots. Click here for the box score.

After finding out who they will play later tonight, the Rebels will have a practice on Tuesday and then take a 8:30am flight out to Minneapolis on Wednesday morning. The team will have a brief practice at 8:00pm ET and their first game will be played on Thursday at 5:30pm ET.

Manz’s goal gives Rebels 3 – 2 win over Titans and a two-game lead in divisional finals

Dustin Manz’s goal with 9:37 left in the game gave the Aston Rebels a 3 – 2 win over the visiting New Jersey Titans. The victory gives the Rebels’ a two games to none lead in the Robertson Cup’s best-of-five Divisional Final Series. Should they win one more game next weekend the team will advance to the league’s semi-finals beginning on May 11 in Duluth, MN.

This was classic playoff hockey: fast paced, up and down action with both teams having excellent scoring chances countered by excellent goaltending. It was a game with limited penalties and the duration lasted only two hours and six minutes.

Using the same formula as Friday night the Rebels got on the board first very early in the opening period. Gvido Jansons brought the puck out of his own near side boards and passed it up to Andrew Bellant in the neutral zone. Bellant dumped the puck into the Titans zone where it went into their far side corner. Dom Garcia battled for the puck in the corner and passed it up slightly along the boards to Drew Blackmun. Blackmun would skate around the faceoff circle and took a wrist shot that beat New Jersey’s goalie Ryan Ferland short side to give the Rebels a 1 – 0 just 1:17 into the game.

Unlike Friday night, however, the Titans would counter roughly four minutes later. As the Titans started to bring the puck out of their zone there was a breakdown in the Rebels forechecking. Anthony Cusanelli would bring the puck out and passed it over to Tiernan Seningen on his right. Seningen would bring the puck up along the near side boards and into the Rebels zone on a two-on-one with Maxim Andreev. Andreev would go around Rebels defenseman Andrew Noel and passed the puck over an outstretched Adam Peck in the slot to Andreev who redirected it passed Mareks Mitens to tie the game at one at 5:04 into the opening period.

With 8:49 remaining in the first, New Jersey’s Tyler Antonucci would be called for slashing to put the Rebels on the power play. After an in-close save by Ferland a Titans defenseman dumped the puck all the way behind the Rebels net where it was brought up by Brennan Kapcheck. As Kapcheck exited his own zone he passed the puck up to Jensen Zerban As Zerban entered the Titans zone he passed it to Dom Garcia on his left. Garcia would make a reverse play and send the puck back to Kapcheck at the near side point. Kapcheck would pass it over to Gvido Jansons at the top of the point and he took a blast that beat Ferland short side to give the Rebels a 2 – 1 lead with 7:40 left in the period. It was Jansons’ third goal of the playoffs – all coming on the power play. It also happened to be the very first power play goal that New Jersey has allowed during the playoffs.

Just as the second period hit the midway point, Cusanelli would bring the puck up along his far side points into the Rebels zone on a three-on-three. As Cusanelli skated to the top of the faceoff circle he left a drop pass to Tyler Antonucci. Antonucci simply shot the puck on net but it was redirected by Andreev pasted Mitens to tie the game at two.

While the fans from both teams started to feel the anxiety of the tight play as the game headed to the middle of the third period, it was the Rebels second youngest player who would change its outcome.

As the Rebels dumped the puck into the Titans far side corner Peck went to dig it out and pass it up slightly to Ryan Patrick. Patrick would push the puck back to Manz who sent it back to Kapcheck at the point. Kapcheck took a shot on net that was blocked out in front by a Titans’ defenseman but the puck came out to Manz at the top of the slot. Manz would skate to his left and take a backhand shot that went passed Ferland up high to give the Rebels a 3 – 2 lead. It was the Vanderbilt, MI native’s second goal of the playoffs.

Mitens stopped 18 of 20 shots while Ferland turned aside 23 of 26. Click here for the box score.

With the win the Rebels are one victory away from advancing to their second straight league semi-finals. However, the series now shifts back to New Jersey next weekend where the Rebels only won two out of six games during the regular season. Game three is slated for Friday, May 5 at 7:30pm at Middletown’s Ice World.

Weekend Preview: 4/28 – 4/29. Divisional Finals begin at home against Titans

The North American Hockey League’s Divisional Final series begins this weekend pitting the East Division’s number one seed Aston Rebels against the number three seed New Jersey Titans. The winner of this best-of-five series will advance to the League’s Robertson Cup semi-finals which begins on Thursday, May 11 in Duluth, MN. Each game this weekend will be played at IceWorks.

Both teams swept their respective series three games to none to advance to this round: the Rebels defeated the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights while the Titans defeated the number two seed Johnstown Tomahawks.

Rebels vs. Titans regular season overview
The Rebels defeated the Titans seven out of twelve times this season, with five of the wins coming on home ice while four of the Rebels’ wins were shutouts (2 home and 2 away). The last time these two teams played each other was on April 5 at Middletown’s Ice World when the Rebels blanked the Titans 5 – 0. Jack Leavy turned aside all 27 shots he faced for his sixth shutout on the season. Andrew Hart had two goals.

The Rebels outscored the Titans by the score of 35 to 23 during the twelve games. Aston went 10 for 45 (22%) on the power play during the season against New Jersey while the Titans went 7 for 43 (16%). The Titans were led by Dylan Healy’s seven points (4 goals and 3 assists) while Danny Eruzione (1 goal and 5 assists) and Jordan Kaplan (3 goals and 3 assists) each had six points. Healy scored the most goals against the Rebels with six. New Jersey’s goaltenders have a combined 2.92 goals against average and a .892 save percentage. Brandon Perrone has played in six of the twelve games carrying a 2.33 goals against average and a .907 save percentage against the Rebels. Ryan Ferland has played in the three most recent games against Aston. He has a 2.67 goals against average and a .897 save percentage.

Andrew Bellant (4 goals and 5 assists), Gianluca Esteves (3 goals and 6 assists) and Aaron Maguyon (2 goals and 7 assists) each had nine goals against the Titans. Bellant and Brennan Kapcheck had four goals against New Jersey respectively. Mareks Mitens and Leavy had a combined 1.92 goals against average and a .919 save percentage. Each had two shutouts. Mitens has appeared in eight of the games posting a 1,85 goals against average and a .919 save percentage.

Titans Playoff Overview
The Titans have scored seven goals (tied for eleventh in the post season) and have allowed three (least amount in the league) during the playoffs. Todd Goehring leads the team in points with three (2 goals and 1 assist). He is followed by Nick Boyagian (2 goals and 0 assists), Jordan Kaplan (2 goals and 0 assists) and Anthony Cusanelli (1 goal and 1 assist) two points respectively. Goehring, Boyagian and Kaplan have six out of the seven Titans goals in the playoffs.

Boyagian has two of the Titans game winning goals while Goehring leads the team in penalty minutes with 25. Three players have a +3+/- ratio. New Jersey is ranked twelfth on the power play (8.3%) and tied for first for the least amount of goals allowed shorthanded. They have not given up a power play goal during the playoffs.

Ferland leads all NAHL goalies in the playoffs with a .99 goals against average. He is second in the league with a .962 save percentage. He has one shutout.

Rebels Playoff Overview
The Rebels have scored twelve goals (fifth best in the playoffs) and have allowed seven (tied for fifth) in three playoff games. Jensen Zerban leads the team in total points with five (2 goals and 3 assists). Five different players have three points each. Zerban, Drew Blackmun and Gvido Jansons each have two goals.

Esteves, Jansons and Zerban each have a game winning goal. Dustin Manz and Auggie Moore lead the team in penalty minutes with four respectively. Zerban has a +5 +/- ratio. The Rebels are ranked third on the power play with a 33% conversion ratio while they are thirteenth in which they have prevented the opposition from scoring 69.2% of the time.

Mitens and Leavy have a combined 2.33 goals against average and a .891 save percentage.

Divisional Final Series Schedule
Game 1: Friday, April 28 at 7:00pm at IceWorks
Game 2: Saturday, April 29 at 7:00pm at IceWorks
Game 3: Friday, May 5 at 7:30pm at Middletown’s Ice World
Game 4: Saturday, May 6 at 7:30pm at Middletown’s Ice World (if necessary)
Game 5: Sunday, May 7 at 7:00pm at IceWorks (if necessary)

Rebels score five goals in third to sweep Knights and advance to divisional final series

The Aston Rebels overcame a two-goal deficit with 18 minutes remaining in the third period and scored five goals to give them a 7 – 5 victory over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights to sweep the best-of-five divisional semi-final series three games to none.  The win moves the Rebels into the divisional final series against the New Jersey Titans.

It wasn’t pretty. In fact, it was downright ugly! However, good teams have to go through adversity and find ways to win and that is exactly what the Rebels did to advance to the next round of the playoffs.

The Knights entered the game having gone 0 for 8 on the power play but that would dramatically change this game. Andrew Noel was called for tripping with 6:48 into the opening period to give WBS the extra attacker. Paul Cimilluca took a shot from the near side point that was blocked in front of the crease but the puck came back out to the far side point to Joey Verkerke. Verkerke took a shot that was going wide of the net but Paul Maust was standing back door and the puck went off of Maust’s shin pads and bounced past Rebels goalie Mareks Mitens to give the Knights a 1 – 0 lead with 8:43 into the first period.

With 2:06 remaining in the opening period, the Knights dumped the puck deep inside the Rebels zone. Michael Underwood would retrieve the puck and bring it up the ice. As he skated towards his own blueline he was taken down by a Knights forward. While he was falling, Underwood passed the puck to Dustin Manz on his left. Manz would cut across center ice and take a wrist shot at the top of the far side faceoff circle and beat Knights’ goalie Grant Valentine high and long side to tie the game at one.

Having only taken four shots on goal in the first period, the Knights wanted to make the most of their shots in the second period. And they did. Carter Woolley was called for tripping fifty seconds into the middle stanza putting the Knights on another power play.  As the puck came loose from players battling in the Rebels near side corner, it was picked up by Maust along the boards. Maust sent a pass back to the point to Cimilluca. The Knights’ defenseman took a shot that was redirected by Mike Gelatt at the top of the crease and the puck went through Mitens five-hole and slowly crossed the goal line to give the Knights a 2 – 1 lead with 2:09 into the second period.

After an icing call was waived off in the Rebels zone, Curtis Carlson intercepted a Brennan Kapcheck pass at the far side blueline. Carlson took a shot that went wide of the net but Cimilluca picked it up at the side of the net. Cimilluca passed the puck to Gelatt at the top of the slot and he took a shot that beat Mitens to give the Knights a 3 – 1 just 8:19 into the middle period.

Head coach Joe Coombs then replaced Mitens with Jack Leavy.

Despite being down by two goals, the Rebels started to get some life in them in the second period. However, Valentine had to make several grade A saves to keep the visitors off the board. With time running out in the period, the Rebels would cut the deficit by one.

After another nice save by Valentine, the rebound came out and was cleared to the Rebels blueline where is was picked up by Underwood. Underwood would pass it up to Drew Blackmun at center ice. Blackmun would pass the puck over to Dom Garcia on his right. Garcia would bring the puck into the Knights zone along the near side boards. Garcia would cut to his left and took a shot that was saved by Valentine but Blackmun picked up the rebound and put it past the fallen Knights’ netminder to make it a 3 – 2 game with forty-one second left in the second.

Kapcheck would start the third period off by taking a holding penalty just forty-two seconds into the final period. The Knights would capitalize on it by scoring their third power play goal of the game. While a scrum was taking place in the Rebels far side corner, the puck would come out to Maust who passed it back to the point to Cimilluca. Cimillica took a shot that was redirected by Tim Gelatt in the slot passed Leavy to make a 4 – 2 game just 2:09 into the final period.

Realizing that there was a strong possibility that they would have to travel back up the Pennsylvania turnpike to play the Knights again on Saturday night, the Rebels suddenly redirected their course and returned to playing Rebels hockey. And the comeback began with the team’s two Gino’s.

Gvido Jansons would start the play by picking up a Knights’ clearing pass. He passed the puck over to his right to Kapcheck. Kapcheck head manned the puck to a streaking Gianluca Esteves along the far side boards. He entered the Knights zone on a two-on-one with Evgeny Yakovev. Esteves would send a back-door pass to Yakovlev who redirected the puck behind Valentine to make it a 4 – 3 game with thirteen minutes left in the game.

Having a 4 – 3 lead with 10:25 left in the period, the Knights’ Mike Gelatt was called for hooking to give the Rebels the extra attacker. Kapcheck started the play at the top of the point and passed the puck to Jensen Zerban on his left. The speedy forward would pass the puck down low to Aaron Maguyon. Maguyon sent a pass across the goalmouth to Jansons who took a one-timer that was stopped by Valentine but the rebound came right back out to Jansons who put it top shelf passed Valentine to tie the game at four with eleven minutes remaining in the game.

The Rebels would take their first lead of the game with 5:26 left. After Zerban won the draw at the Knights’ near side faceoff circle, the puck would be picked up by Andrew Bellant. Bellant would cut across the goalmouth and take a turnaround shot that beat Valentine over the shoulder to make it a 5 – 4 game.

Carlson then was called for tripping with 4:26 left in the third putting the Rebels on the power play. Zerban would win another draw deep inside the Knights’ near side faceoff circle. The puck would come back to the point to Kapcheck. Kapcheck would play give-and-go with Auggie Moore. Once Kapcheck received the puck back from Moore he passed it over to his right to Jansons who took a one-timer and blew it by Valentine to make it a 6 – 4 game with 4:17 left in the game.

But the game wasn’t over. Manz would be called for elbowing with 2:51 remaining in the game. The Knights’ pulled Valentine to make it 6 on 4. After a shot from the nearside faceoff circle went through the Rebels goalmouth the puck was picked up by Matt Kidney in the corner. Kidney send a pass back to the far side point to Jimmy Elsner. Elsner took a shot that was redirected by Mike Gelatt to make it a 6 – 5 game 1:49 remaining. It was the Knights fourth powerplay goal on the night.

Having pulled the goalie for the extra attacker the Knights applied strong pressure in the Rebels zone. After a clearing the puck the Knights went to regroup and brought the puck back into the offensive zone. Kapcheck stripped the Knights’ player of the puck and sent it into the empty net to make it a 7 – 5 game.

Mitens and Leavy combined to make 16 saves on 21 shots while Valentine turned aside 19 of 25 shots. Click here for the box score.

The Rebels will open the divisional finals against the New Jersey Titans on Friday, April 28 at 7:00pm for game one of the best-of-five series. The Titans defeated the Johnstown Tomahawks by the score of 3 – 2 in overtime to sweep their best-of-five series.

The divisional final series schedule series will be announced very early in the week.

Rebels defeat Generals 9 – 1 to clinch East Division Championship

The Aston Rebels defeated the Northeast Generals 9 – 1 last night in Attleboro, MA. The win enabled the Rebels to clinch their second straight regular season East Division championship.

Gvido Jansons put the Rebels up 1 – 0 at the 7:18 mark of the first period. Andrew Bellant brought the puck into the Generals zone and made a cutback move to allow his line mates to set up. Bellant passed the puck down low to Dom Garcia in the near side corner. Garcia sent a centering pass to Jansons in the slot and the Rebels defenseman took a wrist shot that beat Northeast’s goalie Parker Swanson glove side for his nineteenth goal on the season.

Three minutes later Mareks Mitens, of all people, was called for tripping a Generals player behind the net putting Northeast on the power play. Bellant then was called for slashing giving the Generals a 5 on 3 for twenty seven seconds. As the Mitens penalty expired putting the Generals on a 5 on 4 the Rebels cleared the puck to center ice. Northeast dumped the puck behind the Rebels net where it was retrieved by Michael Underwood. The Rebels defenseman went to pass it behind the net to another Rebels defender but it was intercepted by Kohei Sato. Sato passed the puck to Joey Vingi in the Rebels farside corner. Vingi sent a pass to Christian Thomas in the slot and he redirected the puck past Mitens to tie the game at one with 7:13 remaining in the first period.

With 2:18 left in the opening period, Drew Blackmun won the draw deep inside the Generals near side faceoff circle. The puck went back to the point to Andrew Noel who took a shot that was saved by Swanson but Garcia picked up the rebound to give the Rebels a 2 – 1 lead. It was the Rebels captain’s fourteenth goal on the season.

The Rebels would break the game open in the second period by scoring four goals. First it was Aaron Maguyon at the 1:46 mark. Ginaluca Esteves brought the puck into the Generals zone along the near side boards. He went down low and circled around the net and passed the puck to Maguyon in the slot who put it through Swanson’s five hole to make a 3 – 1 game.

Brennan Kapcheck then would score his first of two goals in the game with a highlight goal. Andrew Hart had the puck behind the Generals zone and passed it to his right to Esteves in the near side corner. Esteves passed the puck to Kapcheck at the point. Kapcheck brought the puck along the boards and cut across the goal mouth. As he skated in front of Swanson Kapcheck put the puck through his own legs and then lifted it high passed Swanson into the top corner of the net to make it a 4 – 1 game with 13:36 left in the period.

Adam Peck would make it a 5 – 1 game.  After Peter Zhong battled for the puck along the near side boards he passed it to Kapcheck at the top of the point. The Rebels defenseman took a wrist shot that was deflected by Peck passed Swanson for his fifth goal on the season.

The Rebels then would receive additional goals from Bellant, Kapcheck, Dustin Manz and Auggie Moore. Jansons, Garcia, Bellant and Kapcheck would finish the night with three points each.

Mitens turned aside fourteen of fifteen shots while Swanson stopped 27 of 36 shots. Click here for the box score.

While the team has five tough regular season games remaining, securing first place guarantees the Rebels home ice advantage throughout the divisional series playoffs, which begin on Friday, April 14 against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights.

The Rebels last regular season home game will be held on Friday night against the New Jersey Titans. It is Fan Appreciation Night. All tickets are $5 dollars, and all fans will receive a FREE bag of Herr’s snack foods and a FREE player trading card set.

Rebels defeat Tomahawks 3 – 2 on Bellant’s 25th goal of the season

Andrew Bellant’s 25th goal on the season gave the Rebels a 3 – 2 road victory over the Johnstown Tomahawks. The win gave the first place Rebels a weekend split against the second place Tomahawks, and the win also gave the Rebels 85 points on the season (eleven up on Johnstown) and reduced their magic number to clinch their second straight regular season East Division championship to two.

It was another fast paced game. It was another 3 – 2 score (the fifth time out of ten games this season a contest ended 3 – 2), and it was the ninth game out of ten that the margin of victory was decided by one goal. Welcome to the Aston Rebels and Johnstown Tomahawks 2016-17 season.

The Rebels got on the board first from an unlikely source.  After receiving a touch pass from Dustin Manz at center ice, Ryan Patrick brought the puck into the Tomahawks’ zone. He made a cut-back move and passed the puck down low into the near side corner to Jensen Zerban. Zerban battled a Johnstown defender for the puck as it squirted out to Auggie Moore.  Moore looked up and sent a centering pass to Andrew Noel who ripped a shot top shelf pass Tomahawks’ goalie Drew Hotte to give the Rebels a 1 – 0 lead at 7:31 into the first period. It was Noel’s second goal of the season.

After Manz and Johnstown’s Andy Iehle were called for coincidental penalties, the puck went into the Rebels zone after the ensuing faceoff. Gvido Jansons brought the puck up the near side boards and passed it to Drew Blackmun who was skating at center ice into the Tomahawks’ zone. As Blackmun entered the offensive zone, he passed the puck to his left to Dom Garcia.  Garcia skated to the top of the near side faceoff circle and took a wrist shot that handcuffed Hotte as the puck went behind him and into the net to give the Rebels a 2 – 0 lead almost eight minutes into the second period. It was Garcia’s thirteenth goal on the season.

Ah … the dreaded two goal lead.

The Tomahawks would cut the Rebels deficit in half with 5:50 remaining in the second. Johnstown’s Edward Hirka had the puck at his own far side faceoff circle and found a streaking Nick Bruce at center ice. Bruce got pass the Rebels defense and walked in all alone on Rebels goalie Jack Leavy. Bruce made a deke and put the puck passed a sprawling Leavy for his twentieth goal on the season.

The Tomahawks would tie it at two just eight seconds into the final period.  After Bruce won the opening draw the puck went to Donovan Ott who skated into the Rebels zone. Ott passed the puck behind the Rebels net to Dalton Hunter. Hunter passed the puck back to Ott who passed to Bruce in the slot and Bruce put the puck passed Leavy to make it a 2 – 2 game.  It was Bruce’s second goal of the game and third on the weekend.

The Rebels would reclaim the lead a minute and seventeen seconds later.

Justin Smith sent the puck into the Tomahawks zone where it was picked up by a Johnstown defender at the top of the far side faceoff circle. As the Tomahawks’ defender tried to pass the puck up to a forward, it was intercepted by Patrick at the boards. Patrick passed it to Bellant in the high slot and Bellant took a wrist shot that beat Hotte glove side to give the Rebels a 3 – 2 lead. It would be the eventual game winner and Bellant’s sixth game winning goal on the season.

Leavy had to make some key saves in the third to keep Johnstown from tying the game. He finished with fifteen saves while Hotte made thirty one saves. Click here for the box score.

The Rebels can clinch the East Division next weekend if they sweep the Northeast Generals or if they win one game and Johnstown loses a game against the New Jersey Titans.

Photo Credit: The Rebels again would like to sincerely thank Phil Andraychak for providing photos from last night’s game. During the week all of Phil’s outstanding photos taken during this weekend will be posted on the Rebels’ Facebook page. Thank you again Phil!

Rebels top Tomahawks 3 – 2 for team’s eighth straight victory

The Rebels used a balance attack to defeat the visiting Johnstown Tomahawks 3 – 2 for the team’s eighth straight victory. The win gives the Rebels a 40-9-1 record for 81 points with ten games remaining in the regular season. They are thirteen points ahead of second place Johnstown. The Rebels also possess the NAHL’s best record.

It was a typical tight checking game between the East Division’s two top teams. Unlike the previous night where the Rebels were held scoreless for almost two periods of play, they would get on the board with five minutes and six seconds into the opening period.

Dustin Manz brought the puck up the near side boards and head manned it to Peter Zhong. Zhong dumped the puck deep inside the Johnstown zone where it went behind the visitor’s net as a three-on-three scrum pursued. The puck came out to the near side corner where it was picked up by Manz who passed it back to the point to Justin Smith. The Rebels’ defenseman took a slapshot  that was redirected by Auggie Moore in the slot passed Tomahawks goalie Drew Hotte to give the Rebels a 1 – 0 lead. It was the fifth goal on the season for the Edina, MN native.

Ten minutes later the Rebels would double their lead. Upon the conclusion of the media time out, Drew Blackmun won the ensuing draw. The puck came out to Dom Garcia who passed it back to Michael Underwood at the point. Underwood passed it over to his left to Ryan Solomon. Solomon took a shot that was deflected belt high by Blackmun that went passed Hotte for his sixteenth goal on the season.

Down 2 – 0 with three minutes remaining in the second period, Johnstown would cut the Rebels lead in half. First, Aston defenseman Gvido Jansons went to the penalty box at the 15:42 mark for high sticking putting the Tomahawks on the power play. As time winding down with the extra attacker, Johnstown forward Hayden Rowan had the puck at the bottom of the far side faceoff circle inside the Rebels zone. He passed it across to Donovan Ott on the other side of the faceoff circle. Ott would send the puck back to Filips Buncis at the point. Buncis took a wrist shot that beat Rebels goalie Mareks Mitens glove side through a screen  to make it a 2 – 1 game.

Fourteen seconds later the Rebels would regain their two goal lead. After the faceoff the puck went back into the Rebels zone, Solomon would send a bounce pass off the far side boards up to Ryan Patrick. Patrick would carry the puck to the faceoff circle. He passed the puck back to a trailing Solomon who took a wrist shot that beat Hotte high glove side to make it a 3 – 1 game with 2:46 remaining in the middle period. It was the tenth goal on the season for the Northeastern University commit.

As time was winding down in the third period, Johnstown defenseman Andy Iehle had the puck behind his net. The former Jr. Flyer skated in front of his net and dumped the puck in the neutral zone. Justin Smith went to field the puck but it bounced off of his shin pad to Buncis. Buncis entered the Rebels zone along the far side boards. He took a wrist shot at the top of the faceoff circle that beat Mitens short side to make it 3 – 2 with 3:24 left in the game.

Hotte had 24 saves on 27 shots while Mitens turned aside 19 of 21 shots. Click here for the box score.

Despite having a thirteen point lead on the second place Tomahawks with ten games remaining in the season, the Rebels have a very tough schedule ahead of them. They will be on the road for eight of those games including four against Johnstown and three against New Jersey, who is only six points behind the Tomahawks. Johnstown and the Titans begin a three game series next weekend in New Jersey.

The Rebels will complete a five game home stand next Friday night against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights on Team Photo giveaway night. It will be the last meeting of the regular season between the two teams.

Rebels overcome delay and defeat Generals 3 – 2

The Rebels received goals from Ryan Patrick, Auggie Moore and Ryan Solomon to help propel them to a 3 – 2 win over the travel weary Northeast Generals last night at the IceWorks Skating Complex.

The game was delayed for an hour and six minutes due to the Generals bus breaking down in Rhode Island. After waiting for over three hours for another bus, the Generals were able to arrive safe and sound and then road on the coattails of goalie David Fessenden to keep them in the game.

Northeast’s Tim Weinstein was called for boarding with 5:38 left in the first period to put the Rebels on the power play. After Andrew Hart won the draw deep inside the Generals zone he kicked the puck forward into the corner where it was intercepted by Northeast’s Kohei Sato. As Sato tried to break out of the zone, he was pickpocketed by Ryan Patrick. Patrick skated towards the top of the slot and passed the puck to Andrew Bellant. Bellant redirected the pass that was initially saved by Fessenden but the puck went into the air. As the puck was coming down Patrick skated hard to the net and tapped in the puck to give the Rebels a 1 – 0 with 4:21 remaining in the period. It was the eighth goal on the year for the reigning East Division player of the week.

Despite outshooting the Generals 25 – 1 after the first period, the Rebels led 1 – 0 heading into the second. Immediately following the conclusion of a Generals penalty, Gianluca Esteves brought the puck into Northeast’s zone. He passed it down low to Evgeny Yakovlev. Yakovlev went behind the Generals net. As he started to skate towards the slot he sent a drop pass to Auggie Moore. Moore was going behind the net and he passed it back to Esteves. As Esteves skated towards the near side faceoff circle he passed the puck through the slot to a wide open Moore who put it behind Fessenden to give the Rebels a 2 – 0 lead at 5:52 into the middle stanza.

The Rebels would take a 3 – 0 with 2:43 remaining in the second. Upon the conclusion of a Rebels penalty kill Peter Zhong would dump the puck behind the Generals net. Dustin Manz was forechecking on the play and pressured a Generals defenseman. The puck came up the far side boards to Carter Woolley who passed to his right to Ryan Solomon who took a one-timer that beat Fessenden. It was the Northeastern University commit’s ninth goal on the season.

The game then would start to change with excitement with 1:32 left in the second. Northeast’s Sato brought the puck out of his zone and fed it up to Weinstein. Weinstein went around Gvido Jansons towards the net. Jansons pulled him down from behind to force a penalty shot.

Sato was selected to take the penalty shot. After he picked up the puck at center ice, Sato skated toward the near side boards. As he tried to cut across the slot, Mareks Mitens lunged out to make a poke check to thwart the scoring chance.

The Generals would get on the board with 3:41 into the final period. Weinstein had the puck at the far side faceoff circle in his zone. He sent a cross-ice pass up to Sato. Sato broke into the Rebels zone on a two on one with Justin Jallen. Sato passed the puck across the slot to Justin Jallen who redirect directed the puck passed the fallen Mitens to make it a 3 – 1 game.

The Generals would cut the lead in half 8:32 left in the third. Bellant was called for roughing with 10:22 remaining in the period to put Northeast on the power play. With five seconds remaining on the Generals power play, Northeast’s Christian Thomas would win the draw deep inside the Rebels zone. He passed the puck back to Bret Parker who took a snap shot that beat Mitens short side to make a 3 – 2 game.

With five seconds remaining in the game, the Generals would win an offensive draw inside the Rebels zone. The puck would go back to Weinstein at the point. As Weinstein took a shot, Esteves threw his body in front of the puck to block it as time was expiring to preserve the win.

Mitens would save 19 of the 21 shots he faced while Fessenden turned aside 43 of 46 shots. Click here for the box score.

The two teams will meet again tonight at 7:05pm. It is skate night with the Rebels immediately following the game.