Tag Archives: Gvido Jansons

Rebels Alumni Update – December 2017

When Andrew Bellant committed to Michigan Tech back on November 30, he became the twenty third member in Rebels history to announce his NCAA commitment while actively playing for the team. With college hockey in full swing we wanted to provide a brief “where are they now” alumni update.

Dean Balsamo
After committing to Bentley University and beginning last season there, “Dino” transferred to Adrian College where he finished out the season having scored eleven points (6 goals and 5 assists) in sixteen games. This season he currently has six points (2 goals and 4 assists) in nine games.

Victor Bergstrom
“Vic” is currently attending Plymouth State University. Last season the defenseman had eight points (2 goals and 6 assists) in seventeen games. This season he currently has thirteen points (5 goals and 8 assists) in twelve games.

Kristofers Bindulis
After playing last season at Lake Superior State University where he had twelve points (1 goal and 11 assists) in twenty-eight games, “Bindy” signed a two-way contract with the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League back in March. This season he has played in six games for the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League and he has eight points (2 goals and 6 assists) in thirteen games for the South Carolina Stingrays of the East Coast Hockey League.

Drew Blackmun
“Blacky” is second in all-time games played for the Rebels with 116. He committed to Northeastern University where he currently has played in two games for the Huskies with no points.

Ryan Cusin
After playing at the University of Massachusetts Boston last season where he 40 points (16 goals and 24 assists) in 25 games, “Cuso” transferred to Adrian College this season where he currently has five points (2 goals and 3 assists) in nine games.

Chris DePrez
“Daddy” committed to Marian University where he had one point in four games last year. This season he has two points (1 goal and 1 assist) in ten games.

Gianluca Esteves
After finishing he junior career with the Rebels last year, “Esty” or “Gino” committed to Michigan State where he has a point (assist) in seventeen games this year for the Spartans.

Dom Garcia
Dom is second in three all-time franchise categories: Points (74), Goals (28) and Assists (46). He committed to Arizona State where he currently has one point (assist) in seventeen games for the Sun Devils.

Andrew Hart
After joining the team back in February from a trade with Topeka, the forward finished his Rebels career with ten points (6 goals and 4 assists) in fourteen games. He committed to SUNY Geneseo where he has played in one game.

Darion Hanson
After backstopping the Rebels to their first East Division championship, “Hanny” committed to Union College. During this past summer he was invited to participate in the Philadelphia Flyers prospect camp where he was the winning goalie in the 3 on 3 tournament. In eight games so far for Union this season, he has an impressive 1.76 goals against average and .926 save percentage.

Gvido Jansons
The highly skilled defenseman with a bomb of shot committed to Arizona State where he has two points (both goals) in eighteen games for the Sun Devils.

Brennan Kapcheck
The Rebels’ 2016-17 Defenseman of the Year committed to American International College where he has had an impressive freshman season. “Kappy” has fifteen points (4 goals and 11 assists) in nineteen games. He was named Atlantic Hockey’s Rookie of the Month for October, and he has helped AIC have its winningest first half since the 1998-99 season.

Colton McMenamin
“Mac” had four points (2 goals and 2 assists) in 23 games for Stevenson University last season. This year he has four points (all goals) in twelve games for the Mustangs.

Michael Merulla
The franchise’s all-time point leader per game (1.146) committed to Boston College where he appeared in three games last season with no points and has yet to play in a game so far this season for the Eagles.

Jerry Miettunen
The Finish defenseman committed to the University of Wisconsin Superior where last season he eight points (3 goals and 5 assists) in twenty-eight games. This season he has played in six games with no points.

Mareks Mittens
The North American Hockey League’s 2016-17 Most Valuable Player and Best Goaltender committed to Lake State where “Mits” has appeared in eleven games and has posted a 3.67 goals against average and a .892 save percentage.

Ryan Solomon
Posting the NAHL’s best +/- for the 2016-17 season with a +39, “Solly” committed to Northeastern but has yet to play in a game.

Frank Spellman
“Frankie” committed to Endicott College where he had eight points (1 goal and 7 assists) in twenty-two games last season. This year he transferred to the University of St. Thomas where he has four points (all assists) in seven games.

Austin Swingle
“Swings” had eleven points (4 goals and 7 assists) in twenty-two games last season for Stevenson University. This year he three points (2 goals and 1 assist) in eleven games for the Mustangs.

Mason Van Tuyl
“Mas” had one point (assist) in twenty-two games for the University of Wisconsin River Falls last season.

Evgeny Yakovlev
“Gino” or “Yak” scored the winning goal in game three of last season’s semi-finals to send the Rebels to the Robertson Cup finals committed to the University of Wisconsin Superior has four points (1 goal and 3 assists) in thirteen games this season.

Rebels 2017 NAHL Draft Recap: Team selects 5 Blueliners

Yesterday the North American Hockey League held its annual draft. Since the Aston Rebels finished in first during the regular season the team selected last beginning with the twenty third pick.

With the loss of Gvido Jansons, Brennan Kapcheck, Andrew Noel and Ryan Solomon, the focus for the Rebels was defense. It was so much so that five of the team’s nine picks were defensemen (three forwards and one goalie also were chosen).

To sum up the draft, Head Coach and General Manager Joe Coombs was very pleased with the way the it went. “We knew we needed defensemen” stated Coombs. “We went after the best players available. We feel that with the players we selected along with our tenders that we will have another formable core of blueliners. While we are very pleased with the draft we will certainly attempt to fill our holes. We also will continue to look for free agents” concluded Coombs.

The following is a recap of the players selected by the Rebels.

Round 1 – 23rd Pick
Jeremy Smith, Toronto Jr. Canadiens. Position: Left Defenseman. Shoots: Right. Born: July 19, 1998. Hometown: Toronto, ON. Height: 5’9”. Weight: 158 lbs.
Season                 Team                                     GP          G             A             Pts          PIM
’16-’17 Season   Jr. Canadiens                     42           7              10           17           47
17 Playoffs          Jr. Canadiens                     11           3              8              11           10

Round 2 – 36th Pick
Brandon Stanley, Waywayseecappo Wolverines. Position: Forward. Born: May 3, 1997. Hometown: Sioux Lookout, ON. Height: 6’2”. Weight: 205 lbs.
Season                 Team                                     GP          G             A             Pts          PIM
’16-’17 Season   Portage                                5              1              3              4              12
’16-’17 Season   Waywayseecappo           53           23           44           67           48

Round 3 – 69th Pick
Seth Bergeron, Las Vegas Storm. Position: Left Defenseman. Shoots: Left. Born: August 3, 2000. Hometown: Las Vegas, NV. Height: 5’11”. Weight: 170 lbs.
Season                 Team                                     GP          G             A             Pts          PIM
’16-’17 Season   Las Vegas Storm               38           4              13           17           18

Round 4 – 93rd Pick
Ryan Keane, Omaha Lancers. Position: Goaltender. Catches: Left. Born: March 15, 1998. Hometown: Lewisville, TX. Height: 5’9”. Weight: 157 lbs.
Season                 Team                     GPI         Mins      GA          SO          W            L              SV%       AVG
’16-’17 Season   Omaha                 9              507         36           0              2              5              0.876     4.26

Round 5 – 117Th Pick
Darren Rizzolo, Alberni Valley Bulldogs. Position: Left Defenseman. Shoots: Left. Born: January 12, 1998. Hometown: Mission, BC. Height: 5’10”. Weight: 173 lbs.
Season                 Team                                     GP          G             A             Pts          PIM
’16-’17 Season   Vernon                                 5              0              0              0              4
’16-’17 Season   Alberni                                 44           1              7              8              67


Round 6 – 140th Pick

No pick. Traded to Johnstown


Round 7 – 163rd Pick

Corey Clifton, North Jersey Avalanche 18U. Position: Forward. Shoots: Left. Born: February 3, 1999. Hometown: Matawan, NJ. Height: 5’8”. Weight: 160 lbs.
Season                                 Team                                     GP          G             A             Pts          PIM
’16-’17 Season                   North Jersey Avs 18         31           5              16           21           12
’16-17 Playoffs                  North Jersey Avs 18         5              1              1              2              2

Round 8 – 186th Pick
Jacob Nordqvist, Vastra Frolunda HC Jr. Position: Left Defenseman. Shoots: Right. Born: February 12, 1998. Hometown: Sweden. Height: 5’7”. Weight: 158 lbs.
Season                                 Team                     GP          G             A             Pts          PIM
’16-’17 Season                   V. Frolunda         1              0              0              0              0
‘16-17 Euro One               Frolunda              27           2              12           14           12
‘16-17 Euro Two               Frolunda              17           0              4              4              14
’16-1717 Playoffs             Frolunda              5              1              0              1              4

Round 9 – 209th Pick
Noah Finstrom, Detroit Little Caesars 18U. Position: Forward. Shoots: Left. Born: September 17, 1999. Hometown: Detroit, MI. Height: 5’6”. Weight: 130 lbs.
Season                                 Team                                     GP          G             A             Pts          PIM
’16-’17 Season                   Det. Little Caesers 18      21           6              9              15           36

Round 10 – 232nd Pick
Carson Moniz, St. Thomas Stars. Position: Right Defenseman. Shoots: Right. Born: October 25, 1998. Hometown: Lambeth, ON. Height: 5’11”. Weight: 198 lbs.
Season                                 Team                                     GP          G             A             Pts          PIM
’16-’17 Season                   St. Thomas                          19           3              8              11           56
’16-’17 Season                   Amarillo                               14           0              4              4              14
17 Playoffs                          St. Thomas                          4              1              0              1              22

Yakovlev’s goal in OT sends Rebels to Robertson Cup Finals

Evgeny Yakovlev scored with 2:43 left in overtime to give the Rebels a 2 – 1 win over the Aberdeen Wings and send the Rebels to the North American Hockey League’s Robertson Cup finals tomorrow against the Lone Star Brahmas. It will be the first time in the team’s young history that it has reached the National Championship game.

After a scoreless first period that produced a total of ten shots, the Wings got on the board first at the 2:52 mark of the second period. After a faceoff outside the Wings zone, an Aberdeen defenseman dumped the puck into the Rebels zone. The puck went around the net and up the far side boards where a battle ensued. Carson Dimoff would get the puck and pass it down to Kevin Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald would come behind the Rebels net on a wrap around and beat Mareks Mitens up high to give the Wings a 1 – 0 lead. It was Fitzgerald’s fifth goal of the playoffs.

Despite starting the third period down by one and their season on the line, the Rebels came out hungry. The Rebels would tie it just fifty-three seconds in the final period on Gianluca Esteves’ fifth goal of the playoffs. Brennan Kapcheck would dump the puck into the Wings zone where Esteves would retrieve it behind Aberdeen’s net. He passed it up to the near side faceoff circle to Aaron Maguyon who passed it back to Ryan Solomon.  Maguyon would make a cross-ice pass back to Michael Underwood. Underwood would take a shot that was redirected by Esteves past Wings goalie Forbes Ploszaj to make it a 1 to 1 game.

The Rebels would then start to control the flow of the game. They came close to adding a second goal but Ploszaj had to make several key saves to keep the game tied and send it into overtime for the second straight day.

While the Wings had some changes in the third that were thwarted by Mitens, the Rebels dominated the overtime. Then Kapcheck would start the play at his own goal line. He passed the puck up along the near side boards to Esteves who brought the puck into the Wings zone. Esteves made a drop pass back to Maguyon. The Galloway, NJ native passed it back to a trailing Yakovlev. Yakovlev would make a cross-ice pass back to Gvido Jansons at the point. Jansons would pass it over to Solomon. Solomon would take a shot that was saved by Ploszaj but the deep rebound came out to Yakovlev who put it into an open net to give the Rebels a two-games to one series win over the Wings.

Mitens turned aside 23 of 24 shots while Ploszaj stopped 33 of 35 shots. Click here for the box score.

The Rebels will now face the Lone Star Brahmas tomorrow at 2:00pm ET in a winner take all for the NAHL’s Robertson Cup.

Photo Credit: The Rebels would like to thank John Elftmann for providing photos of today’s game.

Weekend Preview: 5/11 – 5/14. Rebels look to bring home the Robertson Cup

Robertson Cup Preview
The North American Hockey League’s Robertson Cup semi-finals begin today at the Duluth Heritage Sports Center in Duluth, MN. There are two series featuring the number one seed Aston Rebels (East Division) against the number four seed Aberdeen Wings (Central Division) while the number two seed Lone Star Brahmas (South Division) will square off against the number three seed Janesville Jets (Midwest Division). The winner of each best-of-three series will play in winner-take-all finals on Sunday, May 14 at 2:00pm ET.

Aston Rebels Overview
The Rebels were the NAHL’s regular season champions possessing a 46-11-2-1 record for 95 points. Aston swept the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights three games to none in the divisional semi-finals and then defeated the New Jersey Titans three games to two in a thrilling divisional final. The Rebels have never faced either Aberdeen or Lone Star. Aston defeated Janesville very early in the season at the Showcase 4-0.

During the playoffs, the Rebels have been led by three players who each have seven points: Evgeny Yakovlev (4 goals and 3 assists), Gianluca Esteves (3 goals and 4 assists) and Aaron Maguyon (1 goal and 6 assists). Yakovlev, Drew Blackmun and Gvido Jansons each have four goals. Andrew Bellant leads the team in penalty minutes (12) while Jansons has a team high +7 +/- ratio. The Rebels enter the Robertson Cup having scored the most goals of the four teams (28) while they have allowed the second most with twenty. During the playoffs, the Rebels are fourth on the power play converting on 26.1% of the time while they are ranked eleventh on the penalty kill preventing the opposition from scoring 73.7% of the time. Goaltenders Jack Leavy and Mareks Mitens have a combined 2.32 goals against average and a .891 save percentage.

Lone Star Brahmas
The Lone Star Brahmas finished in first in the South Division during the regular season with a 44-14-2 record for 90 points. They defeated the Wichita Falls Wildcats three games to none in the divisional semi-finals and then beat the Corpus Christi Ice Rays three games to two in the divisional finals.

The Brahmas are led by Drake Glover’s seven points (3 goals and four assists). Three players each have six points: Carson Kelley (4 goals and 2 assists), Troy York (4 goals and 2 assists) and Hunter Stanley (1 goal and 5 assists). Kelley and York lead the team with four goals respectively. John Zimmerman leads the team in penalty minutes with ten while Kelley leads the team in plus/minus ratio with +5. Lone Star is tied with the Wings for having scored twenty-three goals while the Brahmas have allowed the second least amount of goals with eighteen. Lone Star is ranked sixth during the playoffs on the power play converting twenty percent of the time while they are ranked eighth on the penalty kill preventing the opposition from scoring 85.7% of the time.  Max Prawdzik has played in six games between the pipes. He has a 1.83 goals against average and a .911 save percentage with two shutouts.

Janesville Jets
The Jets won the regular season Midwest Division championship with a 42-13-1-4 record for 89 points. They defeated the Coulee Region Chill three games to none in the divisional semi-finals and then beat the defending NAHL champion Fairbanks Ice Dogs three games to one in the divisional finals.

Janesville is led by Kip Hoffman’s eleven points (7 goals and 4 assists). Hoffman also leads the team with four goals. Forward Keegan Miller has the most penalty minutes with ten while Hoffman also has the team’s best +/- ratio with +10. The Jets have scored the second most goals with 25 while they have allowed the least with thirteen. During the playoffs, the Jets are ranked twelfth on the power play converting 11.1% of the time while they are thirteenth on the penalty kill having prevent the opposition from scoring 66.7% of the time.            Jacob Barczewski have played in all seven of the Jets’ playoff games. He has a 1.72 goals against average and a .935 save percentage with one shutout. Local native alert: Audubon, NJ native and former Team Comcast defenseman Colin Felix plays on the Jets.

Aberdeen Wings
The Wings finished in fourth in the Central Division during the regular season with a 29-24-3-4 record for 65 points. However, the Wings had the best record in the division during the last thirty games of the regular season. Aberdeen defeated Central Division regular season champion Minot Minotauros three games to one during the divisional semi-finals and then defeated the Minnesota Wilderness three games to two during the divisional finals.

Aberdeen is led by Kevin Fitzgerald’s nine points (3 goals and 6 assists) and Colin Raver (6 goals and 2 assists) and Carson Dimoff’s (4 goals and 4 assists) eight points. Raver leads the team with six goals. The Wings have four players respective with twelve penalty minutes (Colton Fletcher, Jack Kelly, Dusan Kmec and Riley Murphy). Three players (Filip Dusek, Dimoff and Fitzgerald) each have a +3 +/- ratio. The Wings have the most goals of the four remaining playoff teams with twenty-three. The Wings are ranked ninth on the power play during the playoffs converting on 12.5% of the time while they ranked seventh on the penalty kill having prevent the opposition from scoring 90% of the time. Forbes Ploszaj has played in all nine playoff games posting a 2.20 goals against average and a .922 save percentage with one shutout.

Robertson Cup Schedule

Rebels vs. Wings
Game 1: Thursday, May 11 at 5:30pm (ET)
Game 2: Friday, May 12 at 5:30pm (ET)
Game 3: Saturday, May 13 at 4:00pm (ET) – if necessary

Lone Star Brahmas vs. Janesville Jets
Game 1: Thursday, May 11 at 8:30pm (ET)
Game 2: Friday, May 12 at 8:30pm (ET)
Game 3: Saturday, May 13 at 7:00pm (ET) – if necessary

NAHL Championship Game
Sunday, May 14 at 2:00pm (ET) – winner of Rebels/Wings vs. winner of Brahmas/Jets

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.

Weekend Preview: 5/5 – 5/7. Divisional Final round moves to New Jersey. Rebels one win away from advancing to semi-finals

The East Division finals will resume this weekend with the Rebels up two games to none against the New Jersey Titans in this best-of-five series. Game three will be played on Friday at Middletown’s Ice World at 7:30pm. Game four would be on Saturday at 7:30pm at Ice World if needed. Should the series go to a fifth and final game, it would be played on Sunday, May 7 at 7:00pm at IceWorks. The winner of this series will go onto the Robertson Cup semi-finals which begins on Thursday, May 11 in Duluth, MN.

Closing out the series is the hardest thing to do, and during the course of the regular season the Rebels had a losing record on the road against the Titans, winning only two of six games. This has been an extremely hard fought series – typical playoff hockey with excellent goaltending, physical and fast play.

“This has been a great series” stated Rebels head coach Joe Coombs. “Yes, we are up but don’t be fooled. Each game could have gone either way. I think Saturday night was an overall great game for both teams. New Jersey is very fast. Craig and his staff have done an outstanding job. We need one more win and it will be extremely tough. We can’t afford to make any mistakes or New Jersey will make us pay for it” concluded Coombs.

The Rebels have outscored the Titans eight goals to four in the two games. Max Andreev leads the Titans with two goals against Aston. Andreev and Oskar Stromberg each have two points in the series. The Titans are one for three on the power play (33%). Titans goalie Ryan Ferland has played in both games. He possesses a 3.50 goals against average and a .865 save percentage.

The Rebels have used a balanced attack in this series with all eight goals being scored by different players. In fact, six players (Andrew Bellant, Gianluca Esteves, Dom Garcia, Brennan Kapcheck, Aaron Maguyon and Adam Peck) have two points respectively. The Rebels are one for six on the power play (17%). Saturday night’s power play goal was the first power play goal allowed by the Titans during the playoffs. Mareks Mitens has played in both games in the series. He has a 2.00 goals against average and a .894 save percentage.

New Jersey Titans Overview
During the playoffs the Titans have been led by three players with three points each: Jordan Kaplan (3 goals), Todd Goehring (2 goals and 1 assist) and Stromberg (all assists). Kaplan has the most goals with three. Nick Boyagian has two game winning goals for New Jersey. Goehring leads the team in penalty minutes with 25 while Tyler Antonucci has a team best +3 +/- ratio.

The Titans have scored eleven goals in five playoff games which is last of the eight remaining teams in the playoffs. They have allowed eleven goals in the playoffs which is tied for second with the Rebels for least allowed. They have scored 13.3% of the time on the power play and have prevented the opposition from scoring with the extra attacker 95% of the time (third best in the playoffs).

Ferland had a 2.00 goals against average and a .923 save percentage. He has played every minute in the playoffs for the Titans.

Aston Rebels Overview
The Rebels have been led by three players in the playoffs who each have five points: Esteves (2 goals and 3 assists), Jensen Zerban (2 goals and 3 assists) and Kapcheck (1 goal and 4 assists). Drew Blackmun and Gvido Jansons each have three goals. Jansons has a +8 +/- ratio during the playoffs while four players each have a team high four penalty minutes.

The Rebels have scored twenty goals in five playoff games (third best of the eight remaining teams). Aston is fourth in the playoffs on the power play converting on 27.8% of their chances while they are seventh of the remaining teams on the penalty kill with preventing the opposition from scoring 68.8% of the time.

Mitens possesses a 2.01 goals against average and a .902 save percentage.

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)

Kapcheck & Jansons selected to ALL-NAHL Teams; Coombs wins Coach of the Year

Rebels defenseman Brennan Kapcheck was named to the North American Hockey League’s All-NAHL First Team and fellow blueliner Gvido Jansons was selected to the All-NAHL Second Team when the league announced its individual league awards yesterday for the 2016-17 season. Head coach Joe Coombs was named the league’s Coach of the Year.

Kapcheck, the American International College commit, also was selected to the All East Division team.  He had a total of 42 points on the season (17 goals and 25 assists) and a +37 +/- ratio. He was named the Rebels Best Defensive Player of the Year.

The Arizona State University commit Jansons joined Kapcheck on the All-East Division team. Jansons was third on the team with 46 total points (19 goals and 27 assists). He played in the World Junior Championships back in December for his home country Latvia, and in the NAHL’s Top Prospects Tournament in February.

This was the first-time Coombs has been selected as the league’s top coach. This week he was named the East Division’s Coach of the Year, the second straight year he won it. The Brantford, ON native has a 141-65-24 (61%) record during his four year NAHL coaching career. He has guided the Aston Rebels to a 81-32-7 record during the past two season which includes consecutive regular season East Division championships and the NAHL regular season championship this season.

Mitens named NAHL’s MVP and Best Goalie

The North American Hockey League announced today its individual league awards and Rebels goalie Mareks Mitens was named the league’s Most Valuable Play and top goalie. He also was named to the All-NAHL first team.  Defensemen Brennan Kapcheck and Gvido Jansons were selected to the All-NAHL First and Second teams respectively while head coach Joe Coombs was named the league’s Coach of the Year.

Yesterday Mitens was named the East Divison’s Most Valuable Player and East Division goaltender of the year. The Ventspils, Latvia native and Lake Superior State commit led the NAHL in wins (31), goals against average (1.63) and shutouts (11). The eleven shutouts set a new NAHL single season record for most shutouts in a season. He also played for his native Latvia in the World Junior Championships back in December. He was the league’s goaltender of the month for October and November.

Kapcheck joined Mitens on the All-NAHL First Team. Kapcheck also was voted to the All East Division team a day earlier. He had a total of 42 points on the season (17 goals and 25 assists). The American International College commit had a +37 +/- ratio. He was named the Rebels Best Defensive Player of the Year.

Jansons was named to the All-NAHL Second Team. Yesterday he was named to the All-East Division team. The Arizona State University commit was third on the team with 46 total points (19 goals and 27 assists). He played in the World Junior Championships back in December for his home country Latvia, and in the NAHL’s Top Prospects Tournament in February.

Coombs was selected as the league’s top coach of the year. Yesterday Coombs was named the East Division’s general manager and head coach of the year. This is the second straight season Coombs was named the East Division’s Coach of the Year. While he has coached a total of four years in the league (two with the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees before the team relocated to Aston), his two years at the helm he has compiled a 81-32-7 record. His teams have won back-to-back East Division championships and this year was the NAHL’s regular season champion. He also was the East Division’s head coach for this year’s Top Prospects Tournament.