Jensen Zerban scored 5:29 into triple overtime to give the visiting Philadelphia Rebels a 4 – 3 win over the Northeast Generals to force a fifth and deciding game in the Robertson Cup divisional semi-final series.
The Generals took a 1 – 0 lead with 7:25 left in the first period on Louis Bourdon’s first goal of the series.
Colin Bilek would gain the line and dump the puck into the Rebels far side corner where Jeff Skinner picked it up at the faceoff dot. Skinner made a nice pass to an open Bourdon in the slot and he walked in all alone on Rebels goalie Ryan Keane and beat him through the five hole to make it 1 – 0.
With 3:15 left in the opening period, Rebels defenseman Bryant Gunn was called for interference to give Northeast the extra attacker. As time was winding down with the man advantage, the Generals would score their first powerplay goal of the series.
Matt Demelis started to set up the play when he sent a pass to Skinner in the near side corner. Skinner sent a return pass to Demelis back at the point. As Demelis started to skate towards his left, he circled and cut in the zone towards the Rebels net. As he started to cut across the slot, Demelis took a shot that beat Keane long side to give the Generals a 2 – 0 lead.
After trailing by two going into the second period, the Rebels scored three unanswered goals.
Kolby Vegara dumped the puck in the neutral zone where it was picked up by Northeast’s Michael Higgins. The Generals defenseman went to put the puck back into the offensive zone but it was intercepted by Adam Peck who passed it up to Eric Olson along the near side boards. As Olson reached the top of the circle he took a shot that was tipped by Brandon Stanley in the slot past Northeast goalie David Fessenden to cut the Generals lead in half with 5:24 into the second.
The Rebels would even the score with 6:42 left in the middle period.
Stanley had the puck down low and took a sharp angle shot that Fessenden saved but the puck went up high into the air. As the biscuit hit the ice Stanley was able to circle around the net and pick up his own rebound. He skated towards the near side faceoff circle and took a wrister that was saved by Fessenden but Olson tucked in the rebound past the fallen Northeast netminder.
As the Generals went to set up in their own zone, the puck would go into the near side corner where Alex Frye won the battle for the loose puck and he sent it back to Diarmad DiMurro. The Rebels defenseman took a shot from the point that went wide but it hit the end boards and took a crazy bounce right out to Frye who was to the left of Fessenden and he poked in the rebound with 3:40 left in the second to give the Rebels a 3 – 2 lead.
The Generals would tie it with 3:07 remaining in regulation.
Skinner would win the battle for the puck in the near side corner. As he skated towards the faceoff dot, he took a sharp angle shot that was saved by Keane but Bilek would poke the puck past him to make it a 3 – 3 game.
After playing two overtime periods highlighted with several key saves by Fessenden and Keane, Zerban would become the hero in the third overtime period.
Aaron Maguyon would pick up the loose puck at the top of the near side faceoff circle and pass it up to Ryan Patrick. As Patrick gained the line in the offensive zone, he passed the puck over to Zerban on his left. As Zerban skated towards the net, he deked towards his right and beat Fessenden short side to win the game.
Both goalies played exceptionally well. Keane stopped 50 of 53 shots while Fessenden turned aside 54 of 58. Click here for the box score.
The fifth and deciding game will be played on Saturday, April 21 at 8:05pm at the IceWorks Skating Complex in Aston, PA.