East Division’s two top teams square off in marquee matchup
The New Jersey Titans visit IceWorks this weekend for a three game series featuring the East Division two top teams. These two teams also are two of the top three teams in the league in scoring.
This will be the first time the Rebels and Titans will be meeting during the regular season. Last year the Rebels had a 10 – 6 record against them. The biggest change for New Jersey has been their head coach. Rich McKenna left to become the head coach at the University of Wisconsin-Superior (where Rebels alum Jerry Miettunen is playing and going to college) and has been replaced by Craig Doremus.
The Titans are in second place in the East Division, and they enter the series with a 14-5-1 record for 29 points, which is seven points behind the Rebels. They are coming off a 5 – 2 victory over the Northeast Generals. They have won four of their last five games, and they have won six of their last ten games. The Titans have scored 78 goals so far (which is third in the league) and they have given up 55, which is seventh least allowed in the league.
New Jersey is led by Jordan Kaplan’s 19 points (8 goals and 11 assists) and Greg Malafronte and Gordie Helmuth’s 16 points (both have 6 goals and 10 assists). Kaplan leads the team with eight goals. Helmuth, Kaplan and Nick Boyagian each have two game winning goals.
The Titans have the eight best power play unit converting on 24.1% of their chances. They also have the second best penalty kill unit in the league preventing 87.3% of their opponents’ opportunities. Dylan Healey has the team’s most penalty minutes with 46 while Spencer Stanley has a +10 +/- percentage.
The goaltending tandem of Brandon Bussi (3.28 GAA/.902 SV%/1 SO) and Harrison Feeney (2.58 GAA/.919 SV%) have a 2.94 goals against average and a .910 save percentage.
The Rebels sit atop the East Division with an 18-3-0 record for 36 points (which also is most in the NAHL). They are coming off a 3-2 overtime victory against the Johnstown Tomahawks. The Rebels have won four of their last five games and have won nine of their last ten games. Aston has scored 82 goals (which is tied for most in the league) and have allowed 35, which is the least amount given up in the league.
The Rebels are led by Andrew Bellant (12 goals and 9 assists) and Dom Garcia’s (6 goals and 15 assists) twenty one points. Gianluca Esteves is third on the team with 20 points (7 goals and 13 assists). Bellant leads the team with twelve goals. Five different players have scored two game winning goals.
The team is fifth in the league on the power play converting on 25.3% of its opportunities while it ranks fourth in the league with a 86.4% penalty kill. Bellant leads the team in penalty minutes while defenseman Ryan Solomon has a +22 +/- ratio.
Goaltender Mareks Mitens leads the league in all goaltending statistics with 1.25 goals against average, .946 save percentage and six shutouts.
Weekend Activities at the games
It will be Military Appreciation Weekend at the Rebels. The team will be wearing special jerseys that will be auctioned off immediately following Saturday night’s game with the proceeds going to the Walk for the Wounded. It also will be College Weekend in which military and college students can receive a ticket for $5 and a meal for $5 (with proper identification). Friday night will be $1 hotdog night. Saturday night will be the Herr’s Family Fun Pack Night and a Buffalo Wild Wings wing eating contest. Sunday will be Skate Night with the Rebels in which fans can skate with the team immediately following the game.