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Garcia and Jansons lead Rebels to 5 – 1 win over Titans

Dom Garcia and Gvido Jansons combined for five points last night to lead the Rebels to a 5 – 1 victory of the visiting New Jersey Titans during the team’s military appreciation weekend. It was the first of a three game series between the two teams.

Garcia, ironically, started the night off on the wrong skate (so to speak). At 4:12 into the first period he was called for interference putting the Titans on the power play. With time winding down on New Jersey’s man advantage, Andrew Bellant was covering the top near side point. He cut off an errant pass and started to break out of the zone. He bounced the puck off the boards and went around the Titans defender and picked up the passed and walked in on Titans goalie Harrison Feeney and beat him short side to give the Rebels a 1 – 0 at the 6:09 mark of the opening period.

With the Rebels on top to start the second, New Jersey tied the game only 2:44 into the period on a very odd play.  After Gianluca Esteves dumped the puck into the Titans zone, New Jersey’s Spencer Stanley head man the puck to Victor Ostling. Ostling had a burst of speed and walked in on Rebels goalie Mareks Mitens. Ostling took a shot that was saved by Mitens but the puck very slowly inched towards the goal line. It had appeared the Esteves had swiped the puck out of the net while Nick Boyagian was taking a swipe at it. Although the goal light did not go on, the referee had said the slow gliding puck crossed the red line to put the Titans on the board to tie the game.

Then almost two minutes later Titans’ forward Danny Eruzione was called for charging putting the Rebels on the power play. Brennan Kapcheck had control of the puck at the top of the face off circle in New Jersey’s zone. As he was falling down, Kapcheck passed the puck back to Jansons. Jansons passed it to Aaron Maguyon at the top of the far size faceoff circle. Maguyon sent it back to Jansons who took a slapshot that was redirected by Garcia passed Feeney to give the Rebels a 2 – 1 with 15:01 left in the second period.

With Dustin Manz aggressively forechecking in the Titans zone, he went behind New Jersey’s and stripped the puck off of a Titans defenseman. Manz brought the puck around the net and sent a beautiful pass out front to a wide open Carter Woolley who one-timed it passed Feeney for this fifth goal of the season at the 10:04 mark of the second period.

With forty nine seconds left in the second period, Jansons had the puck at the top of the near side point. He passed it down low to Jensen Zerban. Zerban skated around the net and passed it out into the slot to Kapcheck who beat Feeney long side to give the Rebels a 4 – 1 lead.

Garcia would score his second goal on the night (and second on the power play) when he picked up a big rebound off a Bellant shot and put it past Feeney for the Rebels fifth and final goal. Jansons had three assists on the evening.

Mitens stopped 25 of 26 shots he faced while Feeney turned aside 25 of 30. Click here for the box score.

The middle game of this three game series will be played tonight at IceWorks with the game time starting at 7:00pm.

Weekend Preview: 11/18 – 11/20. Titans travel to IceWorks for three game series

East Division’s two top teams square off in marquee matchup

The New Jersey Titans visit IceWorks this weekend for a three game series featuring the East Division two top teams. These two teams also are two of the top three teams in the league in scoring.

This will be the first time the Rebels and Titans will be meeting during the regular season. Last year the Rebels had a 10 – 6 record against them. The biggest change for New Jersey has been their head coach. Rich McKenna left to become the head coach at the University of Wisconsin-Superior (where Rebels alum Jerry Miettunen is playing and going to college) and has been replaced by Craig Doremus.

Titans Overview

The Titans are in second place in the East Division, and they enter the series with a 14-5-1 record for 29 points, which is seven points behind the Rebels. They are coming off a 5 – 2 victory over the Northeast Generals. They have won four of their last five games, and they have won six of their last ten games. The Titans have scored 78 goals so far (which is third in the league) and they have given up 55, which is seventh least allowed in the league.

New Jersey is led by Jordan Kaplan’s 19 points (8 goals and 11 assists) and Greg Malafronte and Gordie Helmuth’s 16 points (both have 6 goals and 10 assists). Kaplan leads the team with eight goals. Helmuth, Kaplan and Nick Boyagian each have two game winning goals.

The Titans have the eight best power play unit converting on 24.1% of their chances. They also have the second best penalty kill unit in the league preventing 87.3% of their opponents’ opportunities. Dylan Healey has the team’s most penalty minutes with 46 while Spencer Stanley has a +10 +/- percentage.

The goaltending tandem of Brandon Bussi (3.28 GAA/.902 SV%/1 SO) and Harrison Feeney (2.58 GAA/.919 SV%) have a 2.94 goals against average and a .910 save percentage.

Rebels Overview

The Rebels sit atop the East Division with an 18-3-0 record for 36 points (which also is most in the NAHL). They are coming off a 3-2 overtime victory against the Johnstown Tomahawks. The Rebels have won four of their last five games and have won nine of their last ten games. Aston has scored 82 goals (which is tied for most in the league) and have allowed 35, which is the least amount given up in the league.

The Rebels are led by Andrew Bellant (12 goals and 9 assists) and Dom Garcia’s (6 goals and 15 assists) twenty one points. Gianluca Esteves is third on the team with 20 points (7 goals and 13 assists). Bellant leads the team with twelve goals. Five different players have scored two game winning goals.

The team is fifth in the league on the power play converting on 25.3% of its opportunities while it ranks fourth in the league with a 86.4% penalty kill.  Bellant leads the team in penalty minutes while defenseman Ryan Solomon has a +22 +/- ratio.

Goaltender Mareks Mitens leads the league in all goaltending statistics with 1.25 goals against average, .946 save percentage and six shutouts.

Weekend Activities at the games

It will be Military Appreciation Weekend at the Rebels. The team will be wearing special jerseys that will be auctioned off immediately following Saturday night’s game with the proceeds going to the Walk for the Wounded. It also will be College Weekend in which military and college students can receive a ticket for $5 and a meal for $5 (with proper identification). Friday night will be $1 hotdog night. Saturday night will be the Herr’s Family Fun Pack Night and a Buffalo Wild Wings wing eating contest. Sunday will be Skate Night with the Rebels in which fans can skate with the team immediately following the game.

Kapcheck and Mitens receive NAHL divisional accolades

The North American Hockey League announced its Divisional Stars of the Week for week ending November 13 and Rebels defenseman Brennan Kapcheck was named second star while goaltender Mareks Mitens was honorable mention.

Kapcheck, the 5’9”, 160 lb Chicago, IL native, scored the game winning goal against Johnstown on Saturday night. After teammate Gianluca Esteves won the draw he passed the puck to Kapcheck. Kapcheck went behind the net to set up. He took the puck from one end of the rink to the other and performed a nice toe drag move in front of the goalie and lifted the puck into the net. It was his second game winning goal of the season. Kapcheck has 17 points on the season (6 goals and 11 assists). He has a +15 +/- ratio.

Mitens played both games over the weekend (four straight). He stopped 48 of 52 shots for a .923 save percentage and a 2.00 goals against average. Mitens leads every goaltending category in the North American Hockey League.

Zerban Makes D1 NCAA Commitment to United States Air Force Academy

Jensen ZerbanThe Rebels are pleased to announce that forward Jensen Zerban has committed to play NCAA Division 1 Ice Hockey for the Air Force Falcons, who represent the United States Air Force Academy. The Falcons play in the Atlantic Hockey Conference (AHC). His commitment begins in the fall of 2018.

Zerban, who just celebrated his 18th birthday, has eight points on the season (one goal and seven assists). The 5’10”, 155 lb Elk River, MN native was an Affiliate Player last year for the Rebels. He had five points (one goal and four assists) in ten games. His lone goal was the game winning goal in a shootout against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights.

“I am very fortunate to be continuing my education and hockey career at such a prestigious school like the Air Force Academy” stated Zerban. “I cannot thank my family and friends along with my coaches and teammates throughout the years for their support” concluded Zerban.

“I am very happy for Jensen” stated Rebels head coach Joe Coombs. “He is a great kid who is extremely intelligent and has a great work ethic. He always wanted to go to the Air Force Academy. I know he will do well” concluded Coombs.

Zerban is the second Rebel to commit to the Air Force Academy. Teammate Dom Garcia will begin his college career in September 2017.

The Falcons currently have an overall 6-3-1 record and are in third place in the Atlantic Hockey Conference.

Kapcheck’s Game Winner in OT gives Rebels Weekend Sweep over Tomahawks

It wasn’t pretty but the Rebels will take it. The Rebels overcame a one goal deficit to send the game into overtime which allowed defenseman Brennan Kapcheck to become the star on the night when he scored on a breakaway to give the Rebels a 3 – 2 win and completed a weekend sweep of the Johnstown Tomahawks.

The Rebels got on the board first when Ryan Patrick brought the puck into the neutral zone and passed it to his left to Captain Dom Garcia. Garcia would walk in on a breakaway on Tomahawks goalie Britt League and put a backhander behind him to give the Rebels a 1 – 0 lead with 7:53 left in the first period.

Hatboro native and former Jr. Flyer youth player, Andy Iehle would tie the game thirty four seconds later. With the faceoff deep in the Rebels zone, Johnstown’s Joshua Biasillo won the draw and sent the puck back to the point to Iehle. Iehle took a blast that hit the goal post and went into the net behind Mareks Mitens at 7:19 of the opening period.

Similar to Friday night’s game Mitens and League kept their respective team in the game with key saves throughout. It was a tight checking game and neither team converted on their power plays.

With 5:29 left in the second period the Tomahawks would take a 2 – 1 lead. Center Samuel Solensky won the draw deep inside the Rebels zone. The puck game out to Filips Buncis who took a shot that beat Mitens shortside for Buncis fifth goal of the season.

As the game went into the third head coach Joe Coombs rallied his troops. The Rebels came out pressuring the Tomahawks. Seven minutes into the last period, there was scrum in front of the net. Aaron Maguyon picked up the loose puck in front of the net and passed it to Evgeny Yakovlev who put it behind League to tie the game at two.

Mitens and League made several key saves to keep the game tied and send it into overtime for a three on three.

After a collision in the Rebels net that resulted in a stoppage of play, Gianluca Esteves won the draw deep inside the Rebels zone. He passed the puck to Kapcheck. Kapcheck took the puck behind the Rebels net to allow the play to develop. He brought the puck through center ice into the offensive zone. He went around a Tomahawk defenseman, toe dragged the puck and put it on a backhander that beat League to give the Rebels the win.

The Rebels won both games this weekend by the score of 3 – 2. Mitens saved 29 of 31 shots while League turned aside 18 of 21 shots. Click here for the box score.

With the Tomahawks loss and a New Jersey win, the Titans are now in second place seven points behind the Rebels. New Jersey visits IceWorks next weekend for a three game series.

Rebels win 3 – 2 to spoil Hawks Home Owner

The Rebels traveled to Johnstown yesterday for a two game series at the venerable Cambria County War Memorial. While the calendar stated it was November 11 it was the Tomahawks home opener due to construction to the landmark venue. It was a marquee match up between the East Division’s two top teams, with both of them in the top five power play units in the league.

In the end, Jensen Zerban’s goal at the 11:12 mark of the third period gave the Rebels a 3 – 2 win and increased their point lead over Johnstown to seven.

It was an up and down game with Rebels goalie Mareks Mitens and his Tomahawks’ counterpart Drew Hotte making several key saves throughout to keep the game close.

The Rebels got on the board first at 8:24 into the first when Brendan Cherwalk brought the puck into the offensive zone and waited for his teammates to follow. Cherwalk passed the puck back to Martino Picariello at the point. Picariello took a wobbly shot that went off Hotte’s glove into the net for a 1 – 0 Rebels lead.

The Tomahawks would even the game at the start of the second period. Tiernan Seningen brought the puck into the Rebels zone and passed it to Adam Pilewicz. Pilewicz took a shot that was saved by Mitens but Joshua Biasillo picked up the rebound to tie the game at one only sixteen seconds into the middle period.

Four minutes into the second Christopher Trouba was called for holding. Thirty eight seconds later Seningen was called for high sticking putting the Rebels on a 5 on 3 advantage.

Just twenty seconds into the two-man advantage, Ryan Solomon and Aaron Maguyon set up Gianluca Esteves for his seventh goal of the season to give the Rebels a 2 – 1 lead at the 4:58 mark of the second.

After several key saves by Hotte in the third to keep the Tomahawks within one, Adam Peck had the puck down low at the far side faceoff circle. He took a shot that was redirected by Zerban who was screening Hotte and put it behind the Hawks netminder to give the Rebels a 3 – 1 lead. It was the first goal of the season for the Rebels speedy forward.

With less than three minutes left in the third Johnstown pulled within one when Mitchell Hale picked up the rebound off of a Pilewicz shot and put it past Mitens for the forward’s first goal on the year.

Mitens would stop 19 of 21 shots while Hotte turned aside 22 of 25 shots. Click here for the box score.

The two teams face each other tonight at 7pm at the War Memorial.

WEEKEND PREVIEW: 11/11 – 11/12. Rebels travel to Johnstown for Key Match Up

WEEKEND PREVIEW: 11/11 – 11/12. Rebels travel to Johnstown for Key MatchupJohnstown finally gets to play at home

Eighteen games the Johnstown Tomahawks have played this season and all of them have been on the road due to construction at the Cambria County War Memorial. Now the Tomahawks finally get to play a home game.

This will be the second series meeting between the two teams, with the first one being split at the end of October at IceWorks. The Rebels won the first game 4 – 3 with Dom Garcia scoring the game winner with twenty four seconds left while Drew Hotte and his teammates blanked the Rebels 2 – 0 in the second game.. Brennan Kapcheck and Garcia each had two points that series while Donovan Ott had four points (including two goals) against the Rebels. The Rebels went 1 -6 on the power play while Johnstown went 3 – 7.

Johnstown Overview

The Tomahawks are in second place in the East Division with a 13-4-0-1 record for 27 points (five behind the Rebels). They are coming off a 7 – 3 loss to the New Jersey Titans and they have lost three of their last five games. The Tomahawks have scored 72 goals on the season (which is second best in the league) and they have allowed 48, which is seventh best overall.

Johnstown is led by Dalton Hunter’s 23 points (11 goals and 12 assists), Ott’s 22 points (12 goals and 10 assists) and Filips Buncis’ 20 points (4 goals and 16 assists). Ott has scored the most goals on the team with twelve.  Hunter and Ott each have four game winning goals.

The Tomahawks possess the fourth best power play unit in the league having capitalized on 27.2% of their opportunities. However, they have the second to worst penalty kill unit in the league with a 72.1% kill opportunity. Thomas Horn leads the team in penalty minutes with 93 while Hunter and Ott each have a +17 +/- percentage.

The goaltending tandem of Hotte and Vinnie Purpura has a 2.70 goals against average and a .908 save percentage. Each has one shutout.

Rebels Overview

The Rebels sit atop the East Division (and the NAHL for that matter) with a 16-3-0 record for 32 points. They are coming off of a 7 – 0 shutout over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights. The reining East Division champions have won four of their last five games; the only blemish is a 2-0 shutout to the Tomahawks. The Rebels have scored the most goals in the league with 76 and they have allowed the least amount of goals with 31.

The Rebels are led by Andrew Bellant (21 points – 12 goals and 9 assists), Dom Garcia (20 points – 5 goals and 15 assists) and Gianluca Esteves (19 points – 6 goals and 13 assists). Bellant leads the team in scoring with 12. Bellant, Garcia, Esteves and Andreas Maier each have two game winning goals.

The Rebels have the fifth best power play unit in the league possessing a 27.2% conversion ratio while they have the fourth best penalty kill unit with 84.5%. Defenseman Ryan Solomon leads the team with a +23 +/- ratio while Garcia and Gvido Jansons each have 33 penalty minutes.

Mareks Mitens leads in all league stats having a 1.14 goals against average and .950 save percentage with six shutouts.

After this weekend these two teams won’t see each other until February 10 and 11 at IceWorks.

Mitens Named East Division Player of the Week. Yakovlev is honorable mention

Mitens Named East Division Player of the Week. Yakovlev is honorable mentionedThe North American Hockey League today announced is Divisional Stars of the Week for weekending November 5 and Rebels goaltender Mareks Mitens was named the East Division Star of the Week while teammate Evgeny Yakovlev was named honorable mention.

The accolades keep coming for the Rebels netminder. A week earlier Mitens was named the league’s top goalie for October. Now he just has been recognized by the league for already the fifth time this season. The Ventspids, Latvia native picked up two more shutouts (fifth and sixth respectively) this past weekend over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights. Mitens leads the NAHL in every goaltending statistic. “Mareks has been nothing but solid since his arrival” stated Rebels head coach Joe Coombs. “This past weekend, and certainly Friday night, might have been his best game of the year. He is just getting better and I am glad that he is on our team. Some NCAA Division I team is going to get a fantastic kid and goalie” concluded Coombs.

Yakovlev, who turned 20 yesterday, had a four point weekend recording an assist on Friday night and a goal and an assist in the Rebels 7 – 0 win on Saturday. He is tied for sixth on the team with 14 points (4 goals and 10 assists).

Rebels two Geno’s lead team to 7 – 0 win over Knights

Rebels two Geno’s lead team to 7 – 0 win over KnightsThe incumbent had the nickname first. Then the newbie came with the same nickname. Now both of them have two different nicknames based upon how you use them. But make no mistake about it. Both of them go by the nickname of Geno, and both of them had a very successful night last night. Rebels forwards Evgeny Yakovlev and Gianluca Esteves each had three points to lead the home team to their second straight shutout over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights.

This game was very different from Friday night’s. The Rebels were firing on all cylinders from the drop of the puck. And both Geno’s worked together to get the eventual game winner only thirty two seconds into the game.

While a Knights defenseman tried to bring the puck out of their zone, Esteves stripped him of it and headed deep into the offensive zone on a two on one with Yakovlev. Esteves made a saucer pass to Yakovlev who redirected the puck past Knights goalie Grant Valentine to give the Rebels a 1 – 0 lead.

Drew Blackmun then would give the Rebels a 2 – 0 lead with 6:27 left in the first. Defenseman Brennan Kapcheck dumped the puck behind the Knights net while Adam Peck was skating hard into the zone. Peck picked up the puck behind the net and passed it out front to Blackmun who took a wrist shot and put the puck through Valentine’s five hole for his sixth goal on the season.

Aaron Maguyon would extend the Rebels lead to 3 – 0 with less then two minutes left in the opening period. After winning the drawl, Esteves circled behind the Knights net and passed it to the corner of the net to Yakovlev. Yakovlev took a shot that was saved by Valentine but Maguyon picked up the rebound and put it into the net for his fourth goal of the year.

Knights coach Tom Kowl tried to shake up his troops by replacing Valentine with Colt Hanks at the beginning of the second period.

The Knights began the second period with pressure. After Yakovlev was hit from behind on the far side boards, the puck went back into the Rebels zone. Maguyon picked up the loose puck and brought it into the Knights zone on a two on one. Maguyon fed Esteves with the puck and Esteves took a wrist shot that beat Hanks up high with :28 into the middle period and the rout was on.

The Rebels then would receive goals from Peter Zhong, Kapcheck (power play), and Blackmun.  Blackmun would have two points on the night.

It was the first time in team history that the Rebels recorded back-to-back shutouts. It was Mareks Mitens sixth shutout of the season. He stopped all 21 shots he faced while Valentine stopped nine of the twelve he faced and Hanks turned aside thirteen of seventeen shots. Click here for the box score.

Next weekend the Rebels travel to Johnstown for two games. Believe it or not, it will be the Tomahawks home opening weekend due to rink renovations.

Mitens Sparkles in Rebels 2 – 0 win over Knights

Mitens Sparkles in Rebels 2 – 0 win over KnightsRebels’ goaltender Mareks Mitens recorded his fifth shutout of the season as the Rebels defeated the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights last night 2 – 0. Despite leading the NAHL in almost all goalie categories this year it was clearly Mitens best game of the season.

It was only fitting that the reigning goaltender of the month (Mitens) and East Division player of the week (Knights goalie Grant Valentine) would share the spotlight in the game. It was a classic goalie duel with each squaring off in a tightly contested game. Both played outstanding. Both were acrobatic. Both were square to the puck all night and both controlled their rebounds. While it frustrated the players it was entertaining for the fans.

The Knights out shot the Rebels 9 – 5 in the first period, and they kept pressuring the home team in their own defensive zone. Although there were no goals, each goalie was tested and made several tough saves to keep the game knotted at zero heading into the second period.

With no score midway into the second period, the Rebels were finally able to break Valentine. Playing on a 4 on 4, Rebels forward Evgeny Yakovlev intercepted a pass at the top of the far side faceoff circle in the Knights zone. As Yakovlev was going behind the net he sent a beautiful, backhanded pass into the slot to a wide open Dustin Manz who put it behind Valentine to give the Rebels a 1 – 0 lead with 10:31 left in the middle stanza.

The flow of the game started to change after Manz’s goal. The Rebels started to apply pressure throughout the rest of the second and into the third but Valentine was there. With 14:13 left in the final period, the Knights’ Curtis Carlson was called for holding putting the Rebels on the power play. Brennan Kapcheck had the puck at the top of the point and passed it to Andrew Bellant at the bottom of the near side face off circle. Bellant passed it out into the slot to Dom Garcia but the puck went off of a Knights defenseman and behind Valentine to put the Rebels up 2 – 0 with 13:59 left in the game.

Despite seeing limited shots in the third, Mitens had to make two tough saves to keep the Knights off the board. Mitens challenged the shooters all night, and he was very aggressive. He was on the top of his game.

Mitens stopped all 23 shots he faced while Valentine saved 29 of 31 shots. Click here for the box score. The win gives the Rebels a 15 – 3 record on the season for 30 points.

The two teams are back at it tonight at 7pm. It’s Herr’s Family Fun Pack Night where you can purchase four tickets, four sodas and hot dogs, four chuck-a-pucks and four bags of Herr’s chips for only $40.