This past weekend the Rebels hosted the 3rd place New Jersey Titans. All the Rebels had to do was win and they would be in the Robertson Cup Playoffs. The Rebels were on a three-game point streak, after losing in overtime 3-2 to the Tomahawks on Wednesday. The Titans were on a two-game win streak after sweeping Johnstown and were hoping to shake off the Generals who were only eight points behind them. Jamestown has not lost in regulation to New Jersey since home opening weekend at the Northwest Arena. Going into the weekend, Jamestown was on a seven-game point streak against the Titans and winners of the previous three meetings.
On Friday, the Rebels started Noah West for his fourth-straight start. The Titans went with Brandon Perrone who was also playing in his fourth-straight game. Out of the last 12 games for New Jersey, Brandon Perrone has started 11 of them (6-4-1). The Rebels got on the board early thanks to Niki Jasko (9) making it 1-0 just 3:30 into the 1st period. The Rebels would put up 14 more shots on Perrone, but none would find the back of the net. Making it a 1-0 game once the 2nd period started. In the middle period, Antonio Venuto (15) was able to put the Rebels up by a pair with 12 minutes left in the period. After the half-way point of the game it was former Maryland Black Bear, Matteo Menotti, who was able to erase the goose egg for the Titans. That was Menotti’s first goal against the Rebels after a combined 13 games played (MYD and NJT). Although, :11 seconds later the Rebels answered but this time it was Zach Brydges, who was playing in his first NAHL game. “It felt good and I did not expect to score in my first game. Once it went in, I was pretty happy and there were smiles all around”, said Brydges on scoring his first NAHL goal. The Rebels continued to tack on the goals in the 3rd period as Conner Linton scored his second of the season, giving the Rebels a 4-1 lead with time winding down. Before it was all said and done, Niki Jasko (10) scored, making it his second of the night and the 13th player to score two goals in a game this season. Once the scoreboard hit zeros, the Rebels celebrated a little more than they usually do and for good reason, because they had just punched their ticket to the 2019 Robertson Cup Playoffs! Head Coach Joe Coombs had this to say about making it to the post-season, “It’s the expectation and anything less is not okay. We are certainly happy to be in the position we are in and look to keep building momentum for the last few games.”
The following night, the Titans put Ryan Winter in between the pipes to go up against Noah West, but that would not last long. The 1st period started out very similar to the previous night as Niki Jasko (11) was able to score the game’s first goal just 2:33 into the opening frame. Once again, the Rebels went up 2-0 after Hunter Johannes (12) put one in the back of the net. Then, :11 seconds later it was Kyler Head (9) pulling his team within one of Jamestown. With 10:27 gone in the 1st period, Jim Glynn was able to beat Winter to give the Rebels a two-goal lead for the second time in the period. When the 2nd period started no one could have predicted how it would turn out. Niki Jasko (12) scored early into the middle period giving Jamestown a 4-1 lead. After his goal, Winter was pulled and in to replace him was Perrone. A little more than two minutes later and Niki Jasko (13) was able to break through the Titans’ defense and score his third of the game, becoming the first Rebels’ player to score a hat trick this season. When asked about what it felt like to score the first hat trick of the season for the Rebels, Jasko replied by saying, “It is pretty cool I guess, but it is just one game. We still have to continue to play our game and look forward to the playoffs.” Jasko continues the streak of having at least one hat trick each season since the Rebels franchise began back in ’08 as the Wenatchee Wild. After 40 minutes of play the Rebels were now up 5-1 with a chance to earn their fifth-straight win over the Titans. Colin Schmidt (7) found the back of the net in the 3rd period to give the Rebels a 6-1 victory when the horn sounded.
The Rebels need one point or for New Jersey to lose for them to have home ice advantage in the first round. Their overall record is now 31-13-5-3 (70pts) and are currently on a five-game point streak (4-0-1). After their exceptional play over the last few games, Niki Jasko and Noah West both earned accolades from the NAHL Stars of the Week. Jasko was named East Division Star of the Week after scoring six goals in three games. As for Noah West, he earned honorable mention after playing three-straight games (2-0-1), his performance in the last two weeks has moved him into the 13th spot for goalies overall (2.40GAA).