Sights Set on First Place
Last weekend the Rebels hit a roadblock Friday night – losing to the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Knights by a score of 2-1. The following night the two teams had a rematch, and the Rebels game back with a vengeance, firing on all cylinders – they won the game 7-0. The Rebels will look to continue that offensive firepower against the Johnstown Tomahawks in their weekend series this upcoming weekend. With a sweep this weekend, the Rebels will distance themselves from the Tomahawks by 8 points in the Eastern division and only be 1 point back from the leading New Jersey Titans.
Last weekend, the Tomahawks took 3 out of a possible 6 points against the first place New Jersey Titans. The Tomahawks will be looking to have a better outcome in their weekend series against the Rebels this weekend, as they will look to sweep the Rebels and tie them for second place in the Eastern division. This will be a crucial weekend for the Hawks, as 2 losses against the Rebels could potentially have them trying to climb back up in the standings for the rest of the year. Johnstown will be looking for their leading scorers Andrew Romano and Luke Lynch to be on their A-game this weekend to make it a successful one. Romano leads the team in points with 23 in 25, and Lynch is the team’s leading goal scorer with 10. The Rebels will certainly be focusing on these two players as they look to shutdown Johnstown’s offense early and often.
So far this year, the Rebels two leading scorers have consistently produced. Kristofers Bindulis now has 19 points in 21 games as a defenseman, and Dean Balsamo has 18 points in 20 games – including his team leading 11 goals. However, lately the Rebels have had some other guys stepping up to the plate. This past week saw Ryan Cusin become one of the Eastern division stars of the week in the NAHL with his 4 point performance against the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Knights last Saturday. Cusin now has 9 points in 10 games since being traded to the Rebels earlier this season. Michael Merulla saw himself receive honorable mention for the NAHL stars of the week as he now has 11 points in 10 games. The Rebels will surely be looking for Cusin and Merulla to continue the secondary scoring behind their big guns if they want to leave Johnstown with 4 points.
A Rivalry Brewing
Since the Rebels and Hawks first met back in September for pre-season, there was a buzz in the air. So far, this season the teams have met 3 times and the Rebels have taken every game. The Tomahawks will be looking to change that this weekend, and will definitely be playing with an edge. The Rebels will have to keep an eye on Logan Hudson of the hawks, who has racked up 123 PIM in just 20 games. Look for this rivalry to be taken to new heights this weekend.