Jensen Zerban scored with 4:55 remaining in the third period to break a 1 – 1 tie and give the Philadelphia Rebels a 3 – 1 win over the Corpus Christi IceRays. It was Zerban’s third straight game winning goal in the North American Hockey League’s 15th Annual Showcase.
The first period was very fast, in terms of pace and scoring. Andrew Bellant put the Rebels up just eighty-five seconds into the game. Bellant picked up a loose puck at his own far side blueline and skated down the ice. As he got to the top of the faceoff circle deep inside the offensive zone he took a wrist shot that beat Corpus Christi’s goaltender Camden Burggrabe high glove side to give the Rebels a 1 – 0 lead. It was Bellant’s 41st career goal as a Rebel.
It was another game in which a Rebels goaltender kept them in the game. Tecumseh, ON native Eli Billing had to make two sets of back-to-back saves and then he made a great point blank save with 5:31 left in the opening period to keep the IceRays off the board.
After outshooting the Rebels 8 – 6 after one period of play, the IceRays started to control most of the penalty filled second period. However, Billing turned aside all nine shots he faced and his blueliners blocked at least five shots, including two by Carson Moniz.
Hanging onto a 1 – 0 lead going into the third period, the Rebels were unable to take advantage of a five minutes power play. Then at the 7:57 mark forward Julian Makary was called for a double high-sticking to put the IceRays on the powerplay. Corpus Christi’s Connor Yawney had the puck back at the Rebels near side blueline and took a shot that was initially saved by Billing but Larry Jungwirth picked up the rebound and put it past Billing to tie the game at one with 10:52 remaining in regulation.
IceRays defenseman Trevor Wilhelm was called for high sticking with 5:21 left in the game to put the Rebels on the power play. Twenty-six seconds later Zerban picked up a loose rebound off of an Aaron Maguyon shot and tucked in the rebound pass Burggrabe to give the Rebels a 2 – 1 lead with 4:55 left in regulation. It was Zerban’s fourth point in the Showcase, three of them goals – all game winners.
With twenty-six second left in the game Ryan Patrick received a pass from Makary and put the puck into the empty net to give the Rebels 3 – 1 lead and seal the game.
Billing stopped 23 of 24 shots while Burggrabe turned aside 19 of 21 shots. Click here for the box score.
The Rebels will play their fourth and final game of the Showcase tomorrow at 10:45am ET in a rematch of last year’s Robertson Cup final against the Lone Star Brahmas.