The Aston Rebels defeated the visiting Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knight last night 2 – 1 to give them a 2 – 0 lead in this best-of-five divisional semi-final series.
The first period was very similar to the previous night where it was tight checking and up and down hockey with limited shots. With no scoring in the opening period, the Rebels started to control the tempo at the outset of the second.
Sellersville, PA native Andrew Hart would get the Rebels on the board first. After Jensen Zerban won the draw at the Knights far side faceoff circle, the puck went to the boards where both teams scrambled for it. Zerban would come away with the puck and pass it back to the point to Andrew Noel. The Rebels defenseman took a shot on net that was saved by WBS goaltender Grant Valentine but the rebound came out to Hart who tucked it into the net to give the Rebels a 1 – 0 lead 4:44 into the second.
With the Knights on the power play due to a Gianluca Esteves cross-checking penalty with four minutes remaining in the period, WBS would negate themselves the extra attacker when Michael Morrissey was called for boarding forty-nine seconds later. As time ran out on Esteves’ penalty, the Rebels’ forward picked up the puck inside the Knights zone and took a shot that was redirected into the far side corner and it came out all the way back into the Rebels zone where it was picked up by Gvido Jansons at the top of the far side faceoff circle.
Jansons would pass the puck to Esteves on his left. Esteves would take the puck up the near side boards. As he entered the Knights zone, Esteves went around WBS defenseman Elijah Latimer and drove hard to the net. As Esteves was cutting across the goalmouth he lost an edge and crashed into Valentine but the puck went behind the Knights’ netminder to give the Rebels a 2 – 0 with 1:22 left in the second.
After Esteves’ goal, a scrum encountered which set the tone for the third period. The Knights would then start to control the third period and crash the net. With time winding down in the game, the Knights would cut the Rebels lead in half. After the puck went out of play on a Brennan Kapcheck blocked a shot, Esteves would win the ensuing draw deep inside the Rebels near side faceoff circle. The puck was picked up by Mike Gelatt behind the Rebels net. He passed it out to the side of the net to Dorian Dawson. Dawson would pass it to his left to Joe Schuler who was at the top of the crease and he one-timed it past Mareks Mitens to make it a 2 – 1 with 2:04 remaining in the game.
Mitens stopped nineteen of 20 shots while Valentine turned aside 24 of 26. Click here for the box score.
The series now moves to the Revolution Ice Centre. Game three is scheduled for Friday night at 7:35pm. Game four would be played on Saturday night at 7:35pm if necessary. The Rebels would advance to the divisional final series should they win one of next weekend’s games.