The Rebels travels to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this afternoon to play the resurgent Knights in a matinee at the Revolution Ice Centre. Defenseman Gvido Jansons scored his second hat trick on the season and goaltender Jack Leavy played solid in stopping twenty two Knights’ shots to help lead the visitors to a 5 – 2 victory.
Coming off of their first back-to-back losses on the season, the Rebels looked to regroup against the Knights but the game didn’t start well for the East Division leaders. After Andrew Jackson won the draw deep inside the Rebels zone, the puck came out to Sam Antonitsch. Antonitsch took a short side shot that was saved by Leavy but a deep rebound came out to Joey Kubachka who took a one-time wrist shot that beat Leavy short side to put the Knights up 1 – 0 at the 7:31 mark of the opening period.
Gvido Jansons would score his first goal of the game with 7:54 remaining in the period. Dom Garcia had the puck in the Knights far side corner. He worked his way down low, cut back and passed the puck to Andrew Bellant. Bellant made a cross-ice pass through the slot and Jansons’ one-timed it past Knights goalie Matteo Esposito to tie the game at one.
After the Rebels dumped the puck into the Knights’ zone, a Knights’ defenseman went behind the net to set up. Evgeny Yakovlev pressured the defenseman into a turnover where the puck was intercepted by Aaron Maguyon. Maguyon took a shot that was saved by Esposito but the rebound came out to Jensen Zerban. Zerban’s shot was saved by Esposito but the rebound came out to Maguyon who shot the puck past the down goalie to give the Rebels a 2 – 1 lead 4:44 left in the first period. It was Maguyon’s seventh goal on the season.
Entering the second period up 2 – 1, the Rebels Peter Zhong was called for interference at the 5:09 mark of the middle stanza. With the Knights on the power play, Leavy had to make back-to-back in tight saves to keep the Rebels in the lead. Then as time was winding down on the power play, Joe Schuler won the draw deep inside the Rebels near side faceoff circle. The puck went back to Joey Verkerke who passed it over to his right to Tim Gelatt. Gelatt sent a cross-ice pass to Schuler who took a one-timer to beat Leavy to tie the game at two 6:26 into the second. It was backdoor shot that Leavy never had a chance.
After outshooting the Knights 20 – 12 after two periods, the Rebels looked to take the lead again. The Knights Elijah Latimer was called for hooking 3:21 into the final period. Twenty seven seconds later Jansons would score his second goal of the game. Brennan Kapcheck had the puck at the top of the point and went all the way into the Knights zone behind the net. As he circled the net he briefly passed the puck to Jansons at the high slot. Jansons passed it back to Kapcheck who was looking to take shot. After noticing the lanes were blocked, Kapcheck passed the puck to his left to Jansons who took a slapshot that hit off the post and went behind Esposito to give the Rebels a power play goal to make it 3 – 2.
Sixteen seconds later Zerban put the Rebels up by two. After the ensuing faceoff the puck went deep into the Knights near side corner. Auggie Moore went into the corner. As he picked up the puck he passed to Zerban along the boards. Zerban cut across the slot and ripped a wrister past Esposito for this fourth goal on the season.
The game wasn’t over yet. The Knights kept applying pressure. First, Leavy had to make two nice saves to preserve the lead. Then with seven minutes remaining he made a spectacular windmill glove save. He then made a nice save off of a deflection through a screen. He then made his best save of the game with two minutes remaining. It was a down low back-door pass that he made a nice right pad save to keep the Rebels up by two.
With a minute left in the game and the Knights having pulled Esposito for the extra attacker, Jansons intercepted a Knights’ pass and sent a long shot into the open net for this third goal of the game – his sixteenth on the season.
Leavy would stop 22 of 24 shots while Esposito turned aside 24 of 28 shots. Click here for the box score.
The Rebels travel to Middletown’s Ice World to play the Titans tomorrow morning at 10:30am.