This past weekend the Rebels hosted the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights for the second set of home games at the Northwest Arena. This match-up between two East Division rivals was surely not going to disappoint as they were tied for fourth place in the division. The Rebels came into this past weekend having went to a shootout both nights in Maryland the weekend before. As for the WBS Knights they came to Jamestown, New York riding a three-game losing streak with hopes of snapping it Friday night.
The first game of the weekend looked a little different for a few reasons. For starters, the power play for the Rebels got off to a great start thanks in part by a goal scored by Nick Stuckless just 2:09 into the first period. Another reason it looked different was because the Rebels brought in four new players leading up to this past weekend, three of them got the chance to play over the weekend and sure did turn a lot of heads. With under a minute to go in the first period it was the newly acquired Yuri Davis-Martel that gave the Rebels the 2-1 lead going into the first intermission. Prior to coming to Jamestown, Davis-Martel played four games for the Corpus Christi IceRays, he did not record a single point during his time there. With Yuri scoring that late goal it gave the Rebels a lot of momentum that carried over into the middle period as Auggie Moore scored almost four minutes into the period. Another newly acquired player to make his presence felt early was Colin Schmidt. The 18-year-old Minnesota commit was sent from the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL to the Rebels in hopes that he is the missing piece the Rebels needed. He ended up scoring and getting an assist in his first 40 minutes as a Rebel. With now a 4-1 lead heading into the final period of regulation it was just a matter of holding off the Knights for 20 minutes. The pressure for the Knights sure did increase as time was ticking away but they would not be able to cut the lead in half as the horn sounded giving the Rebels the first win of the weekend.
On Saturday the Knights were now on a four-game losing streak and in jeopardy of falling to fifth place. Whereas the Rebels had a chance at their first week end sweep of the season and jumping into third place, if the Black Bears lost to the Titans. The second game started out a lot better for the Knights than it did the day before as they scored just over halfway through the first period to give them their first lead of the weekend. They would hold that 1-0 lead until just about the 15-minute mark of the second, when Noah Finstrom would score to tie the game up. The remainder of the second period was very much a back and forth type game as neither team recorded double digit shots. In the third period though the Rebels found a sense of urgency as they wanted to give their fans a weekend to remember, so with just shy of seven minutes left to go in regulation it was Alex Frye who found the back of the net giving the Rebels their first weekend sweep. Ryan Keane also started both games and stopped a total of 36 shots giving him his third straight win. They also received some help from the Titans over the weekend as they swept the Black Bears allowing the Rebels to claim sole possession of third place. This weekend the Rebels go back to Odenton, Maryland in hopes to keep climbing up the East Division table.
This past weekend the Rebels faced off against the Maryland Black Bears for the first time this season. Both teams were below .500 and the Rebels were on a three-game losing streak. There was a lot on the line for the Rebels going into Odenton, Maryland as they were trying to get out of last place. Whereas Maryland was sitting in the middle of the division and trying to close in on second place New Jersey. While it was their first time playing against one another this season, these two teams will be facing each other again in just two weeks.
The first period on Friday was a very dull period as there was no scoring or penalties through the first 20 minutes. Things did pick up though once the second started, just four minutes into the middle frame it was the Black Bears that would score first. They scored another goal before the horn sounded, giving them a 2-0 lead to start the third period. Even though they were down by a pair, the Rebels were leading in shots 22-15. They also had a flurry of shots on Black Bears net-minder David Tomeo towards the end of the second, which then carried their momentum into the third. Just 36 seconds into the third period it was Auggie Moore that finally put the Rebels on the board, assisted by Nate Clarke and Alex Frye. Now with 19 minutes left in regulation all the Rebels had to do was get one more goal. They kept firing the puck at Tomeo hoping one would get by him and after a flurry of shots by the Rebels, Alex Frye managed to get one past Tomeo to tie the game with just under 2 minutes to play in regulation. Neither team would score again prior to the horn sounding to end the period, sending the Rebels into their first overtime game this season and the Black Bears into their fourth. Even though Maryland had been to overtime four times already this season, their record was 1-3. With it now being 3-on-3 for five minutes there was a lot of ice out there for the players to use, which means more players look for stretch passes in hopes of setting up a breakaway or an odd-man rush. With 1:57 gone in overtime the Black Bears took a tripping penalty, giving the Rebels a 4-on-3 power player. Although they were unsuccessful on the power play they did put up eight shots in OT compared to the Black Bears who only managed to get one shot on Keane. Since no one scored in OT the game went to a shootout to decide the winner. This was the first time for both teams that a game went to a shootout. The Rebels sent out Noah Finstrom to take the Rebels first shot, which unfortunately he did not convert on. The Black Bears sent out their first player and he scored to give them the 1-0 lead in the shootout. Next up for the Rebels it was Nick Stuckless, he was able to beat Tomeo and tie the shootout at 1-1. Ryan Keane stopped the Black bears second shooter, giving the Rebels the chance to take the shootout lead. The Rebels sent out Jim Glynn to get the job done and that he did. After he scored it was all up to Keane to stop the Black Bears last shooter. Matteo Menotti tried going forward then backhand on Keane but was denied by the veteran goaltender. The Rebels were finally able to snap their three-game losing streak and, in the process, they picked up their first shootout win, and beat the Black Bears by a final of 3-2.
Going into Saturday’s game the Rebels looked focused and had their eyes on their first weekend sweep. The first period of Saturday’s game was a lot different than the one during Friday’s game. There was a total of four goals scored in the first 20 minutes of Saturday’s game, four were in favor of the good guys. The Black Bears ended up scoring the game’s first goal just 4:05 into the first period. They would end up losing that lead 32 seconds later thanks to Seth Bergeron scoring his first goal of the season, assisted by Auggie Moore and Jake Felker. Exactly half way through the first period it was Auggie Moore that scored to give his team their first lead of the weekend. Nick Stuckless would score on the power play 61 seconds after Moore’s goal, with assists coming from Auggie Moore and Sam Anzai. Rebels had a two-goal lead as time was winding down in the first period, Stuckless decided to give thee Rebels a three-goal lead as he scored again. The Rebels not only were out scoring the Black Bears in the first 20 minutes of play, but they were out shooting them as well, as they put up 14 shots compared to the Black Bears who only put up two. The Black Bears pulled Ben Beck after letting in four goals in the first period and replacing him was David Tomeo. With a three-goal lead and still 40 minutes of hockey to be played the Rebels seemed to have everything going their way. There was no scoring from thee Rebels in the second period, although the Black Bears were able to find the back of the net with just 36 seconds left on the clock. Pulling them within a pair of the Rebels and giving them a chance to get back in the hockey game with 20 minutes left in regulation. There was a scrum at the end of the second period, which resulted in the Black Bears having a power play to start the 3rd period. They would kill of the penalty but then received another call against them and would be right back on the penalty kill. Once again, the Rebels killed off the penalty only to be put right back in the box moments later due to Jackson Wille getting called for hooking. On the third straight power play for the Black Bears they made the Rebels pay for it as they scored and now what once was a 4-1 lead for the Rebels is now a 4-3 lead. Maryland would strike again tying the game at 4-4 with just about 12 minutes left in the third period. As the game was winding down the Rebels were trying their best to regain the lead and get their first weekend sweep. A cross-checking call against Maryland sent the Rebels to the power play for the fourth time in the game. The Rebels were able to capitalize on their man-advantage thanks to Lukas Uhler and the Rebels hopes of getting a weekend sweep was just a little over three minutes away from being a reality. Just under two minutes left to play in regulation, Jake Felker got called for hooking. The Black Bears pulled their goalie giving them a 6-on-4 power play, it was now or never for them. With 40 seconds left on the clock they scored to tie the game for a second time in the period. After 60 minutes of regulation these two East division teams were heading into their second straight overtime game. Just like the night before, the Black Bears got a penalty called against them giving the Rebels a 4-on-3 once again. Neither team was able to find the back of the net in overtime, so the game went to a shootout. The Rebels scored on their second and third shots, but the Black Bears scored on all three of theirs, giving them their first shootout win and completing their comeback after being down by three at the end of the first to now winning the game by a final of 6-5. As for the Rebels it marked their first shootout loss and while they were extremely close to picking up their first weekend sweep they did manage to secure three out of a possible four points over the weekend. Moving them from last place, now into a tie for fourth place against the team they face this weekend for the first time this season, the Wilkes-Barre/ Scranton Knights. This weekend will be a test for the Rebels, and if they come away with the weekend sweep they have a chance to be in third place.
This weekend the Rebels make their way to Odenton, Maryland for the first time. They will go up against the new East Division team, the Maryland Black Bears. The Black Bears are brand new to the North American Hockey League and are currently tied with the WBS/Knights for third place in the division. Whereas the Rebels (4-6-0-0) are tied with the Northeast Generals for fifth place in the division. This is a crucial set of games for the Rebels as they are looking to snap their three-game losing streak. While the Black Bears are looking to have a positive record after this weekend concludes, currently (4-5-3-0).
On paper the Black Bears are starting their inaugural season in the NAHL on a good note. Multiple players are putting up numbers for them, especially #17 Connor Pooley who is now in his second year in the NAHL. He currently leads his team in points with 13. Last season when he was with the Lone Star Brahmas, he played 42 games and only recorded 12 points. While their offense has been clicking, it is their goaltenders that are not holding their own. Just like the Rebels, the Black Bears have not swept an opponent yet this season. While they do have three goalies on their roster, they tend to lean more towards NAHL veteran David Tomeo. He has now been in the NAHL for three seasons, starting out with the Generals and then the year after that with WBS/Knights. Now he has played 9 out of 12 games for the Black Bears and will surely get the nod for one of the games this weekend, if not both. His record is (4-4-0-1) and his GAA is 3.03, with a SV% of .910%. Having a consistent netminder is key to any team winning a weekend series of games.
For the Rebels what they must focus on is getting what happened this past weekend out of their head. This is a young team with only five returning players. They will find their groove as the season picks up. What sticks out the most for the Rebels is that they get back Seth Bergeron and Antonio Venuto. Seth Bergeron has not played a regular season game yet and was finally cleared by his doctor on Monday. This is what he had to say about getting the chance to finally play “I am really excited, getting hit in the face in preseason and being out for a month was pretty disappointing. I stayed in shape and I am ready to go help the team win some games”. Venuto is coming off his two-game suspension that he picked up in the second game against Johnstown, for spearing one of their players. He missed opening weekend here in Jamestown and is looking to keep himself out of trouble to help his team secure a much-needed sweep. The Rebels also have added a new player to their roster; Sam Hanson, from Eau Claire, Wisconsin is 6’1” 194lbs., a left-handed forward who has played for the NAHL Minot Minotauros and the NA3HL Wisconsin Whalers. In his 36 games played in his career he has recorded 50 points, 34 of those points coming from assists. To say the least, this Rebels team this weekend will look a lot different and hopefully with these three players they are able to piece together a win streak.
While these two teams have not faced each other during the regular season, they did play a pre-season game against one another in Jamestown on September 8th. The Rebels ended up winning the game 4-1 and even though it was only a month ago, both of their rosters have changed significantly. It will without a doubt be a must-win set of games for the Rebels this weekend as they have a chance to climb into third place, depending on how WBS/Knights and Northeast Generals play this weekend.