This past weekend the Jamestown Rebels and New Jersey Titans squared off for Games 1 & 2 in their best-of-five series. This is the very first round of the 2019 Robertson Cup Playoffs and it did not disappoint. Jamestown had dominated New Jersey throughout the regular season boasting a 7-3-1-1 record against them. The last time the Titans came to WNY was Mar. 8-9 when they allowed 11 goals through two games and gave the Rebels their only hat trick of the season, courtesy of Niki Jasko. Although the Titans were entering the post-season on a hot streak as they were winners in four of their last five games. As for the Rebels, they were 2-3 in their final five games of the 2018-19 season. These two teams have only met one another once during the playoffs and that was back in 2016-17 when the Rebels beat the Titans in the Div. Finals, 3-2.
Game 1 started out very well for the Rebels as Jake Felker notched the first post-season goal, 9:14 into the opening frame. Niki Jasko was able to get on the board as well with about five minutes left to go in the period. The Rebels took their 2-0 lead into the locker room after the 1st period, along with their 10-8 shot favor. When the 2nd started it only took :19 seconds for there to be a goal scorer but it came off the stick of the bad guys. New Jersey was able to cut the lead in half and were trying to get some momentum back on their side. The only thing they did not see coming was a large rivet that appeared at center ice, halting play for nearly five minutes while the officials had to repair it. Any momentum the Titans were looking for was no longer there after the Rebels’ coaching staff was able to address things to the players and draw up a new game plan. It certainly worked as they were able to grab the game’s next goal on the power play after a scramble in front of Brandon Perrone lead to Jim Glynn putting the Rebels back up by a pair, 3-1.
Minutes later though, New Jersey scored, but it came with some controversy as the net was knocked off its pegs at roughly the same moment the puck was approaching the goal line. With no instant replay, the refs deemed it a good goal and play continued, but it was a goal that swung some momentum in favor of the visiting team. With nearly two minutes left in the period, Kyler Head scored to tie the game at three apiece. With a tie game and the final period of regulation about to start, the Rebels knew they had to come out assertive and regain the lead. They did exactly that, as Alex Roy was able to snap one home from the top of the left point which ended up being deflected off the shaft of a Titan stick. Later in the 3rd, Jim Glynn scored his second goal of the night after Auggie Moore made a great individual play near Perrone which got him to scramble in his crease and eventually lead to Glynn tapping the puck into a wide-open empty net. While New Jersey did pull Perrone late in the game it would not result in their favor as they constantly had their shots blocked. When it was all said and done the Rebels took Game 1 by a final of 5-3 and only allowed five shots to hit Ryan Keane during the final period.
In Game 2 we saw the same netminder for New Jersey but in net for Jamestown was Noah West. Getting his first NAHL playoff game under his belt. The Titans opened the scoring up first by capitalizing on their first man advantage of the game. This was also New Jersey’s first lead in the series. In the late stages of the 1st period Colin Schmidt found the back of the net while on the power player, tying the game at 1-1. It would remain tied until nearly six minutes into the 2nd period, when Alex Frye was able to put home the loose puck and give the Rebels their first lead of the game. A few moments later the captain, Frye, was back on the score sheet after deking Perrone out of his skates to score a tremendous goal. Now up by a pair and with time winding down in the middle period Antonio Venuto went far side on Perrone to give the Rebels a cushy 4-1 lead after 40 minutes of play. Neither team was able to produce a goal in the final period, resulting in a 2-0 series lead for Jamestown. It was also Noah West’s fourth-straight game against New Jersey in which he has only allowed one goal.
New Jersey is one loss away from being swept and eliminated from the playoffs. The series is heading to New Jersey this weekend with Game 3 being played Friday at 7 p.m. and if necessary, Game 4 will be the following night at the same time. The Rebels are hoping to only spend one night in Middletown, NJ and get an extra day or so of rest before preparing for the second round. Their opponent is TBD right now as Northeast and Johnstown are even in the series, 1-1. Make sure to follow us on social media so you can stay up to date this weekend as your Rebels look to end the series this Friday in New Jersey.
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