The Aston Rebels blanked the visiting Kenai River Brown Bears 3 – 0 for a second straight night to complete a weekend sweep as goalie Jack Leavy recorded his third shutout on the season. The Rebels goaltending tandem of Leavy and Mareks Mitens have combined for 13 shutouts on the season which is one shy of tying the North American Hockey League’s record of 14 set back in the 2011-12 season by the Wenatchee Wild.
This was a very close and physical game with Leavy and Brown Bears goalie Robbie Goor making several key saves to keep their respective team in it.
With no scoring in the first and time running out in the second, defenseman Kolby Vegara would change the game with a minute and four seconds remaining in the middle stanza. Carter Woolley brought the puck into Kenai’s zone and passed it down low to Ryan Patrick. Partrick passed it behind the net and into the corner to Jensen Zerban who passed it back to Vegara at the point. As Zerban was moving up the nearside boards, Vegara passed it down low to Patrick. The Rebels forward found Vegara skating to the top of the circle and fed him with a crisp pass. Vegara made one move towards his right and then took a wrist shot that went through Goor’s five-hole to give the Rebels a 1 – 0 leads. It was Vegara’s first goal on the season.
Looking to increase their lead in the third, Andrew Bellant skated through the neutral zone with a burst of speed into the Brown Bear’s zone. Bellant sent a drop pass to a trailing Brennan Kapcheck at the top of the slot. Kapcheck passed the puck to his right back to Bellant. Bellant sent a pass through the goalmouth that was redirected by Drew Blackmun past Goor to give the Rebels a 2 – 0 with 8:30 remaining in the game. It was Blackmun’s eleventh goal on the season.
The Brown Bears pulled their goalie for the extra attacker with thirty seconds remaining in the game. Blackmun was pressuring a Kenai defender as he went behind the net and up the nearside boards. Blackmun stripped him of the puck and passed it to Dom Garcia. Garcia looked to his right and found Bellant skating hard to the net. The Rebels captain passed it to Bellant who put it into the empty for his nineteenth goal on the season.
Leavy turned aside all 17 shots he faced while Goor stopped 33 of 35 shots. Click here for the box score.
On Wednesday the Rebels will board a plane for Alaska. They will play two games against the same Brown Bears next weekend and then two more games the following weekend against the Fairbanks Ice Dogs.