The North American Hockey League’s Divisional Final series begins this weekend pitting the East Division’s number one seed Aston Rebels against the number three seed New Jersey Titans. The winner of this best-of-five series will advance to the League’s Robertson Cup semi-finals which begins on Thursday, May 11 in Duluth, MN. Each game this weekend will be played at IceWorks.
Both teams swept their respective series three games to none to advance to this round: the Rebels defeated the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights while the Titans defeated the number two seed Johnstown Tomahawks.
Rebels vs. Titans regular season overview
The Rebels defeated the Titans seven out of twelve times this season, with five of the wins coming on home ice while four of the Rebels’ wins were shutouts (2 home and 2 away). The last time these two teams played each other was on April 5 at Middletown’s Ice World when the Rebels blanked the Titans 5 – 0. Jack Leavy turned aside all 27 shots he faced for his sixth shutout on the season. Andrew Hart had two goals.
The Rebels outscored the Titans by the score of 35 to 23 during the twelve games. Aston went 10 for 45 (22%) on the power play during the season against New Jersey while the Titans went 7 for 43 (16%). The Titans were led by Dylan Healy’s seven points (4 goals and 3 assists) while Danny Eruzione (1 goal and 5 assists) and Jordan Kaplan (3 goals and 3 assists) each had six points. Healy scored the most goals against the Rebels with six. New Jersey’s goaltenders have a combined 2.92 goals against average and a .892 save percentage. Brandon Perrone has played in six of the twelve games carrying a 2.33 goals against average and a .907 save percentage against the Rebels. Ryan Ferland has played in the three most recent games against Aston. He has a 2.67 goals against average and a .897 save percentage.
Andrew Bellant (4 goals and 5 assists), Gianluca Esteves (3 goals and 6 assists) and Aaron Maguyon (2 goals and 7 assists) each had nine goals against the Titans. Bellant and Brennan Kapcheck had four goals against New Jersey respectively. Mareks Mitens and Leavy had a combined 1.92 goals against average and a .919 save percentage. Each had two shutouts. Mitens has appeared in eight of the games posting a 1,85 goals against average and a .919 save percentage.
Titans Playoff Overview
The Titans have scored seven goals (tied for eleventh in the post season) and have allowed three (least amount in the league) during the playoffs. Todd Goehring leads the team in points with three (2 goals and 1 assist). He is followed by Nick Boyagian (2 goals and 0 assists), Jordan Kaplan (2 goals and 0 assists) and Anthony Cusanelli (1 goal and 1 assist) two points respectively. Goehring, Boyagian and Kaplan have six out of the seven Titans goals in the playoffs.
Boyagian has two of the Titans game winning goals while Goehring leads the team in penalty minutes with 25. Three players have a +3+/- ratio. New Jersey is ranked twelfth on the power play (8.3%) and tied for first for the least amount of goals allowed shorthanded. They have not given up a power play goal during the playoffs.
Ferland leads all NAHL goalies in the playoffs with a .99 goals against average. He is second in the league with a .962 save percentage. He has one shutout.
Rebels Playoff Overview
The Rebels have scored twelve goals (fifth best in the playoffs) and have allowed seven (tied for fifth) in three playoff games. Jensen Zerban leads the team in total points with five (2 goals and 3 assists). Five different players have three points each. Zerban, Drew Blackmun and Gvido Jansons each have two goals.
Esteves, Jansons and Zerban each have a game winning goal. Dustin Manz and Auggie Moore lead the team in penalty minutes with four respectively. Zerban has a +5 +/- ratio. The Rebels are ranked third on the power play with a 33% conversion ratio while they are thirteenth in which they have prevented the opposition from scoring 69.2% of the time.
Mitens and Leavy have a combined 2.33 goals against average and a .891 save percentage.
Divisional Final Series Schedule
Game 1: Friday, April 28 at 7:00pm at IceWorks
Game 2: Saturday, April 29 at 7:00pm at IceWorks
Game 3: Friday, May 5 at 7:30pm at Middletown’s Ice World
Game 4: Saturday, May 6 at 7:30pm at Middletown’s Ice World (if necessary)
Game 5: Sunday, May 7 at 7:00pm at IceWorks (if necessary)