The East Division is now a horse race. The Rebels started a critical away series against the Johnstown Tomahawks last night and lost the opening game 2-1. With the New Jersey Titans beating the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights last night and the Rebels losing, the Titans now lead the East Division by a point over the Rebels and Tomahawks who are now tied for second place.
The last time these two teams played in Johnstown the Tomahawks swept the Rebels by a score of 5-2 for both games. Last night Johnstown took it to the Rebels during the first period. They constantly pressured the offensive zone only allowing the Rebels to have two shots on goal. With three minutes left in the period, Dante Suffredini found Drexel Hill, PA native Andrew Romano who put it past Rebels goalie Darion Hanson to give the home team a 1-0. It was Romano’s 13th goal on the season.
The Tomahawks kept applying the pressure in the second period. With four minutes left, Anthony Parrucci was in the clear on Hanson but was pulled down from behind awarding Parrucci a penalty shot. The most exciting play in hockey became even more exciting when Parrucci took a shot the hit off the cross-bar denying him a goal. Then with a minute and a half left, Romano and Casey Linkenhel set up Luke Lynch who beat Hanson putting the Hawks up 2-0 heading in the third period.
The Rebels came out very strong in the final period. Things turned nasty when Rebels forward Evgeny Yakovlev and the Tomahawks Logan Hudson got into a tussle. After being assessed a roughing penalty, Hudson pleaded his case too much and was ejected from the game for abuse of an official.
With 8:30 left in the game defenseman Ryan Solomon fed Michael Merulla who passed it Yakovlev and took a nice shot beating Johnstown goalie Ryan Glander. However, it wasn’t enough. Glander finished the evening with 22 saves on 23 shots while Hanson, who was making his first start in four games, made 15 saves on 17 shots. Click here for the box score.
The Rebels and Tomahawks are back at it tonight at 7:00pm at the War Memorial.