Over the weekend, the Rebels had their first home games of 2019, hosting the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights for the second-straight weekend. The Rebels came into this past weekend with an overall record of 20-10-2-1, good for second place in the East. The Knights on the other hand were on the outside looking in with an overall record of 12-19-1-1, putting them in fifth place. These two teams met for the fifth weekend series, the most either team has played against an opponent.
On Friday it was a battle between winless netminder Samuel Vyletelka and one of the top-five goalies in the league, Ryan Keane. The scoring came early for the Rebels as just 3:09 into the first, Antonio Venuto stick lifted a Knight and was able to walk right in for the 1-0 lead. While on the power play and with about :15 seconds left in the first, Colin Schmidt made a beautiful back-hand pass as he was falling to the ground to Alex Frye who was wide open at the top of the crease. Frye picked up his 52nd junior goal in what was his 200th junior game. The Rebels picked things up in the second where they left off in the first thanks to Noah Finstrom. He sniped one right past Vyleltelka for a power-play goal, making it a 3-0 Rebels lead. Neither team could find the back of the net for the remainder of the game, giving Keane his second shutout of the season (17SVS). Rebels increased their season-series lead over the Knights to 8-1 and with a little help from some top teams, the Rebels were tied for fourth place in the league at 46pts. With the win Keane now has 16 on the season which ranks him third among goalies.
Saturday marked the first time this season Keane has started four-straight games. He went up against Zach Stejskal who just barely cracked the top 15 for goalies overall. The game seemed to start out déjà vu like as Antonio Venuto notched the first goal of the game just before the halfway point of the period. Following in Venuto’s footsteps was Alex Frye as he put his team up by a pair with under three minutes left in the first. Unfortunately, that is where the déjà vu ended for the Rebels as they let up two goals in the middle period just :58 seconds apart. The Rebels applied a lot of pressure in the late stages of regulation, but it would not be enough as the horn sounded and with a 2-2 game we headed into extra hockey. In the 3-on-3 overtime the Rebels controlled most of the possession but with a lot of open ice and fresher legs, the Knights’ Forward Tyrone Bronte picked up the puck and went the other way. He was able to out muscle Frye who was the only man back for Jamestown and beat Keane for the win. The Knights won their first game here at the Northwest Arena. It was also Keane’s first overtime loss this season.
Jamestown still sits in second place with a record of 21-10-3-1 (46PTS), whereas the Knights, improve their record to 13-20-1-1(28PTS), but not their position as they sit in fifth place. The Rebels will travel to New Jersey this weekend to face the Titans. New Jersey got swept by the Generals this past weekend and they are ten points back on Jamestown. The Rebels will have to go up against a team that is looking for revenge after getting swept and they are also trying to close the gap. The Rebels are 1-2-1 against the Titans this season. It is crucial for the Rebels to come out firing on all cylinders during Friday’s game, so they can gain some confidence back and set the tone for the weekend. For ticket information call 716-484-2624.
When the Rebels touch the ice this Friday it will not only be their first home game of 2019 but also their first in 20 days. They host the Knights to cap off four-straight against them. The Rebels received their first lost to the Knights this past Saturday by a final of 4-2, which snapped their five-game win streak. The Rebels are looking for revenge and to get back in the win column. Whereas the Knights are hoping they have finally found their groove in the second half of the season. They have been in the bottom three in the East for most of the season. With the second half of the season in full swing, their mindset is to win at all costs, so they can secure the last playoff spot. As for the Rebels their mentality is to increase their distance on the Titans and while doing so close the gap on Johnstown.
The Rebels have the fewest PIMS in the East with 455. The Knights sit right in the middle with 644. Discipline is a big component of winning hockey games. The Rebels do a phenomenal job of drawing penalties and not retaliating. By them not taking penalties it allows all five guys to stay out on the ice to keep the pressure up on the opposition. While the power play has been struggling the Rebels are one of the best when down a man. Their penalty kill puts them at fourth place in the league at 84.6%. Right behind them though are the Knights at 83.7%. This past weekend the Rebels went 0/7 on the man advantage, whereas the Knights went 1/8. With the Knights being in the top ten for power play and penalty kill, the Rebels must stay out of the box and find ways to capitalize on the extra man. If they can do that, they will easily skate away from the weekend with the full four points.
Good to be Back:
The Rebels are 9-6 on home ice where they have put up 50 goals for and have only allowed 34. The Knights are worse on the road then they are at home, with a record of 4-6-1. The past six home games for the Rebels have resulted in a record of 5-1. The only loss coming at the hands of Johnstown by a final of 3-2. The Knights have only been to Jamestown once this season, which was back on Oct. 26-27. The Rebels swept them that weekend, scoring six goals and only allowing one each night. The last time the Knights won a road game was back on Dec. 8th when they shutout the Generals by a final of 4-0. Finally, both shutouts for Rebels goaltender Noah West have come while at the Northwest Arena by a final of 4-0 against the Black Bears.
This Friday will mark his 200th game played at the junior hockey level, between the USHL and NAHL. Through his 199 games played he has found the back of the net 51 times and assisted on 51 as well. In the NAHL alone he has played 144 games, recording 48 goals and 46 helpers. He leads the Rebels this season in goals (18) and assists (14) giving him 32 points, which puts him 17th overall in the league. Alex has already tied his most points in a season (2016-17 Topeka Roadrunners) and it took him 18 less games. During that season with the Roadrunners was also the most goals Frye has scored in a season (19). Frye is just one of five players for the Rebels to have played in every game thus far. With 27 games left to go for the Rebels this season there will surely be a lot of records set for #27 Alex Frye.
Last week the Rebels played three games within the span of four days. The first game took place on Wednesday against the first-place team in the league the Johnstown Tomahawks. The Rebels were able to get the game’s first goal about half-way through the first period, thanks to Antonio Venuto. In the second period it was all Tomahawks though as they scored three straight goals to put them up by a pair. The past series between these two teams was split and the Rebels won the first game which was opening night for Johnstown. The Rebels have shown that they can clearly hold their own against the veteran Johnstown team. After reflecting in the locker room on the past 40 minutes, the Rebels came out hungry for a goal. Just 38 seconds into the third period it was Noah Finstrom who scored to pull the Rebels within one. Throughout the third period it was a back and forth game, with both teams blocking a lot of shots along with hits being thrown left and right. As time dwindled down in the game the Rebels did everything they could to try to tie it even pulling Keane with just around 30 seconds to go. Unfortunately, it would not be enough as the final horn sounded, giving the Tomahawks their eighth win in a row. The loss put the Rebels on a two-game losing streak and in jeopardy of losing third place if they did not win against the Generals over the weekend and if the Black Bears ended up beating the Tomahawks.
On Friday the Rebels were facing a struggling Generals team as they came to Jamestown, NY on a four-game losing streak. Before the first game of the weekend the past four games for the Generals have resulted in them only scoring nine goals and allowing twenty-three. Whereas the Rebels previous four games before Friday was a lot closer as they too had scored nine goals but only allowed seven. Both net-minders for the Generals were on a losing streak going into Friday and the Rebels were hoping to not let that change. In the first period on Friday neither team could find the back of the net. The second period was a different story though as the Rebels scored three straight goals thanks to Lukas Uhler (PP), Sam Anzai, and Alex Frye. With a 3-0 lead and just 20 minutes left in regulation the only chance the Generals had at coming back in the game was to start get a goal early, and that they did. Just 20 seconds into the final period the Generals scored pulling them within a pair of the Rebels. Though they would not be able to put anymore past Keane, the Rebels added two more to their tally with goals coming from Frye and Uhler. The Rebels snapped their two-game losing streak with a 5-1 win over Northeast and put them on a five-game losing streak. The Rebels also peppered the Generals goalie during the entire 60-minute game on Friday as they put up 43 shots whereas Northeast only had 23.
The next day started out the same for both teams as they went into their locker rooms scoreless after the first period. Although in the second period it was the Generals that scored first giving them their first lead of the weekend. They would score one more time before the end of the middle period, giving them a 2-0 lead to start the third. The Rebels came out hot in the third period scoring two goals in less than seven minutes to tie the game (Antonio Venuto, Lewis Crosby (PP)). Although with exactly eight minutes left to go in regulation the Generals added another goal to regain the lead. They scored another goal just 1:39 later to put them back up by two. Even with Keane pulled it would not be enough to get their second weekend sweep as they fell to the Generals 4-2. These two teams won’t face each other again until the weekend of February 22nd and those two games will be played once again at the Northwest Arena.
In just two days the Rebels are going to Wilkes-Barre to face the Knights who are currently sitting in last place in the East division. The Rebels still hold third place and are three points ahead of the Black Bears, but they sit six points back from second place New Jersey. The last time these two teams met was the last weekend in October when the Rebels swept the Knights, scoring a total of six goals and only allowing two. If the Rebels can sweep the Knights this week, they could find themselves behind New Jersey by two points, if the Titans get swept by first place Johnstown this weekend. With a third of the season over the Rebels are sitting in a playoff spot with a chance to get closer to second place if they secure the full four points this week.
Tonight, your Rebels will go head-to-head against the Johnstown Tomahawks. The Tomahawks are riding a seven-game winning streak and do not seem to be slowing down. During their extensive win streak, they have put up 33GF and have only allowed 16GA. These two teams have only met twice this season back on October 5th and 6th, when they split the weekend and the Rebels took the first game which was Johnstown’s home opener. Since then the Tomahawks have only lost one game and that was to Maryland on October 12th by a score of 3-2. The net-minder that played in that game is no longer with the Tomahawks and after that game is when their streak began. Now the Rebels sitting in third place must play the best team in the league.
While these two teams won’t face each other again until December 7th there is still a lot on the line for both teams. For the Rebels it is mainly about getting back on a winning streak themselves, as their three-game winning streak was snapped after losing in overtime to the Black Bears this past Saturday. Since this is the only game being played tonight in the league, the Rebels will not fall any spots in the division if they lose but if they win, they will be within four points of second place New Jersey. A win tonight will also give the Rebels confidence going into their homes games this weekend against the Northeast Generals who currently sit in fifth place in the East.
As for the Tomahawks they currently have the longest winning streak in the league and are not looking to let that end tonight. A big reason to their success is that their top five players have a combined 106 points (39G, 67A). To put that in perspective the Rebels top five players have a combined 44 points (21G, 23A). Not only have their sticks been on fire but so has their net-minding. Their top goalie Carter McPhail is the third best goalie in the league and his only loss is to the Rebels back on October 5th, since then he won four games and lost zero. He has only given up seven goals and has made a total of 133 saves in just those four games. The other goalie for Tomahawks is Cooper Lukenda who has not lost a start since September 20th. In his past three starts he is 3-0 allowing only nine goals and totaling for 103 saves.
Regardless of who the Tomahawks put in-between the pipes the Rebels will have to put up a lot of shots if they want to get the full two points. The Rebels have beat this team before but when they did the Tomahawks were not on a seven-game winning streak. While this is a crucial game tonight for the Rebels in hopes of climbing up the East Division ladder they do not want to get too banged up as the Northeast Generals are coming to Jamestown, NY this weekend. With a possible six points on the line for the Rebels it is important they come out strong tonight and get the early lead and do not look back. As the Tomahawks are undefeated when leading after the first and second period which only makes it that more important for the Rebels to score first tonight.
The Rebels are making their way right now to Odenton, Maryland to face-off against the fourth place Black Bears. The Rebels were just in Odenton two weeks ago when both games went to a shootout giving both teams three points out of a possible four on the weekend. The Rebels are coming off their first weekend sweep and their first wins at home, so they have a huge confidence boost going into this weekend. Whereas the Black Bears just got swept by the Titans scoring six goals but giving up ten and falling from third place to fourth in the division. Now both teams are trying their hardest to catch the Titans and Tomahawks who seem to be the early favorites in the East.
For the Rebels it will be a huge test to see if they have what it takes to start putting together a long win streak. When they went to Maryland two weeks ago they won the first of two games by a final of 3-2 after a shootout. By the end of the first period during the second game it was a lot different as the Rebels had a commanding 4-1 lead. The Black Bears mounted a comeback in the third period and forced not only another overtime but also a shootout. This time the Black Bears scored on all three of their shootout attempts, completing their comeback and avoiding the sweep. The Rebels have since won two straight games and have added new players that are already having a huge impact on the team. They have been practicing hard and watching a lot of film leading up to this weekend, hoping that they can skate away with back-to-back weekend sweeps.
As for the Maryland Black Bears it was surely not the outcome they were hoping for in New Jersey losing both games and allowing the Rebels to pass them in the standings by one point. If the Black Bears are looking to stay close to the top three spots in the division, then winning the first game is crucial. With them having home ice advantage and trailing the Rebels by a point they must show a sense of urgency on Friday and set the tone early. If they cannot get out to the early lead and maintain it, then the Rebels will make them pay for it. Neither team can jump into second place after the weekend but depending on how the Generals and Knights play could send the Rebels or Black Bears down a few spots in the division. You will not want to miss these two important East Division games this weekend as there is a lot on the line!
Tonight’s game two of the Robertson Cup divisional semi-final series between the visiting Northeast Generals and the Philadelphia Rebels has been postponed due to poor ice conditions at the Class of 1923 Arena at the University of Pennsylvania.
The game will be played tomorrow, Sunday, April 15 at 2:00pm at the IceWorks Skating Complex in Aston, PA. Admission is FREE.
We are very sorry for the inconvenience.