Sixty minutes of hockey was not enough on Saturday night at IceWorks in Aston, PA as the Rebels welcomed East division rivals the New Jersey Titans to Eastern Pennsylvania for the first time this season. To conclude the Rebels Breast Cancer Awareness Weekend, Christine Meehan from Living Beyond Breast Cancer dropped the ceremonial first puck. The Rebels were once again sporting their Pink Jerseys in support of Breast Cancer Awareness month which were raffled off throughout the weekend.
The Rebels opened the scoring at the 1:50 mark of the first period as Rebels forward Andrew Bellant intercepted a pass in the offensive zone to beat Titans goaltender Jack Berry up high to put the Rebels up 1-0. Physical play was seen early and often as the two East division rivals played back and forth through tout the first period. Each team managed to put eight shots on goal in the opening period with Bellant’s shot being the only one to see the back of the net.
The second period saw both teams go on the power play with the Titans capitalizing at the 9:13 mark on a goal from Raymond Brice that was assisted by Darren Brady and Dakota Ford. The Titans would break the 1-1 tie with 4:45 remaining in the second period on an unassisted goal by forward Joseph Schuler. The visiting Titans outshot the Rebels 13-8 in the second period and headed into the second intermission holding on to a 2-1 lead in the game.
The third period began with a lot of neutral zone play with neither team being able to sustain pressure in the offensive zone. Rebels forward Dean Balsamo tied the game at two a piece on his fifth goal of the season that was assisted by Logan Rivard and Andrew Zerban. As the period went on both starting goalies kept the game tied as the Rebels and Titans both had prime scoring opportunities. The Rebels had a chance to go ahead late in the third period as they were awarded a penalty shot with 3:36 remaining in the period when a Titans player covered the puck in the crease with their hand. The Rebels penalty shot rang off the post and kept the game tied at two. Rebels goalie Trevor Micucci would not be denied a victory as he made a huge blocker save with 1:04 remaining in the 3rd period. The Titans then went on a powerplay with less than a minute remaining in regulation. As the third period buzzer sounded the teams were still tied at two.
In the overtime both teams had a chance to seal the game but defense and goaltending prevailed. Micucci made three saves in a row on the overtime penalty kill to keep the game all knotted up. The Rebeks got their chance on overtime powerplay as the Titans were called for a Too Many Men on the Ice penalty with just 2:25 left in the overtime. The Titans defense would show up big time on the kill as the defensemen blocked four Rebels shots sending the game to a shootout. Rebels goalie Trevor Miucci started the shootout with a big save on the Titans first shooter Keegan Miller. Evgeny Yakovlev was the first shooter for the Rebels and put the puck past Titans goalie Jack Berry. The Titans second shooter Jesse Farabee tied the shootout at one goal apiece. Andrew Bellant opened the scoring of the game and he finished it as well, scoring on his shootout attempt to put the Rebels up 2-1. All eyes were on Micucci as Titans defenseman Dan Weaver came down the ice to take the potential game tying shot. Micucci stood tall and made the save on the attempt, giving the Rebels a 3-2 victory. “I thought Trevor was really sharp, I know he wasn’t happy with the second goal he gave up, knowing Trevor he is a very level headed young man and I knew he (Micucci) was going to come out and compete for us in the third, overall I thought he was fantastic for us” said Rebels Head Coach Joe Coombs after tonight’s game when asked about Trevor Micucci’s performance.
The Rebels have now won five in a row including the last four on home ice. On the teams current winning streak Coach Coombs said “I think our week of preparation was okay, I thought we played a good team game last night against Johnstown and tonight we found a way to win but we didn’t play well, at times some guys got going and others weren’t, I thought Micucci held us in there at times, Jersey came in here, played a well-structured game and moved the puck well, but we found a way to win and I think that’s a good sign. Not every win is going to be pretty but we’ll take it”.
The Rebels will hit the road for two games at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton next weekend.