Jamestown, NY – Beating the same team three times in a row is a difficult task in its own right, let alone four straight times. Looking for their fourth straight victory over first place New Jersey, the Rebels (21-30-1-2) were unable to accomplish that rare feat tonight, as they fell to the visiting Titans (37-13-0-1) by a final score of 2-1 on March 7th at the Northwest Arena.
Following last night’s defeat, the Titans seemed ready for revenge, something Rebels Head Coach Joe Coombs seemed to know was coming.
“They [New Jersey] haven’t played great in their last few games, so you knew they were coming with both barrels tonight, and they did,” said Coombs. “I thought they played with a lot more urgency than we did; our pace wasn’t great early in the game. Last night we finished a lot of hits and had a lot of turnover opportunities to counter and go back at them, and tonight it seemed like they just moved the puck past us.”
Jamestown’s first test of the game came in the form of a penalty kill nearly three minutes into the game, and the home team was up to the task. The Titans would eventually draw first blood later in the period, when Gavin Gulash was able to beat Rebels goalie Noah West to give the visitors the 1-0 lead. Jamestown would get a power pay of their own later in the frame and capitalized on a 5-on-3 man-advantage off the stick of Noah Finstrom, his 16th of the season. West turned away 13 shots in the first period alone, containing a New Jersey team bent on payback.
The second period saw continued tight play until New Jersey was able to break through again, with Ole Andersen beating West to give the Titans the lead back, 2-1. Jamestown was able to out-shoot New Jersey in the second frame 12 to 11, but were unable to solve goaltender Ryan McInchak.
Opportunity would arise for Jamestown in the third, when Titans defenseman Brody Medeiros was given a 5-minute major and a game misconduct for checking from behind. Rebels newcomer Conner Couet would also receive an interference call, putting play at four aside for two minutes, but then giving the Rebels a three minute power play to try and tie the game. New Jersey’s penalty kill would prevail, however, killing off the entire three minute power play to keep the score locked at 2-1.
The Rebels were unable to make a solid last push to try and tie the game, and New Jersey held on for the 2-1 victory.
Despite the loss, Coombs still sees several positives from his team, and continues to trust his process of learning for a young team.
“I thought overall it was a good hockey game,” continued Coombs. “I was happy with our effort. Not happy with the results, not happy with the execution level, but I’m still looking at this as a process. You want to play the right way – and in a lot of ways we did play OK – we just didn’t get the execution level we needed to win the game.”
The Rebels will continue their late season surge to claim a playoff position next weekend at home when they host the Maryland Black Bears, who Jamestown is directly chasing for the aforementioned playoff spot.
“We gained two [points] on them [Maryland] last night, they’re coming in here, they have to travel. We have to have a huge week and be ready Friday night,” concluded Coombs.
Noah West finished his night in net by stopping 36 of 38 shots, while Spencer Cosway (9) and Renars Karkls (9) each added an assist on Finstrom’s power play goal.