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By BBmaster
#486950
Rebels win 4 – 2 over Wings to take one game lead in semi-finals
The Aston Rebels used three points from Drew Blackmun and a strong performance by goaltender Mareks Mitens to lead them to a 4 – 2 win over the Aberdeen Wings The victory gives the Rebels a one game to none advantage in this best-of-three semi-final series.
The Rebels would get on the board first. Kolby Vegara would bring the puck up through center ice and into the Wings zone. As soon as he brought the puck in the zone he passed it to Drew Blackmun on his right. Blackmun would dump the puck into the far side corner where Vegara chased it. Vegara would pick up the puck and send it back to Blackmun along the boards. The Rebels’ assistant captain passed it over to a wide-open Carter Woolley in the slot and he took a one-timer that beat Aberdeen goaltender Forbes Ploszaj short side to make it a 1 – 0 game with 5:57 remaining in the first period. It was Woolley’s first goal of the playoffs.
After a save by Mitens the rebound was picked up by Ryan Patrick. Patrick would bring the puck up through the neutral zone on a two-on-one with Gianluca Esteves. As Patrick brought the puck in the offensive zone he passed it to Esteves on his right. Esteves caught Ploszaj moving and the Winnipeg, MB native took a wrist shot that beat Ploszaj long side to make it a 2 – 0 with 2:37 remaining in the first.
The Rebels would take a 3 – 0 lead on Dom Garica’s first goal of the playoffs. After a draw deep inside the Wings far side zone, Aberdeen defenseman Jack Kelly went to pass the puck up to a teammate but it was intercepted by Garcia in the neutral zone. Garcia brought the puck along the boards and took a wrist shot that beat the netminder high, short side with 6:20 left in the second period.
The momentum of the game then changed to the Wings benefit. After peppering Mitens with shots, the Central Division playoff champions would get on the board with 3:16 left in the middle stanza.
Garcia was called goaltender interference 2:58 left in the period to give the Wings the extra attacker. Colton Fletcher would bring the puck up out of his own end and it the Rebels zone to the top of the near side faceoff circle. Fletcher passed it down low to Carter Roo. Roo started to go to his left but immediately stopped and passed the puck back to Fletcher who was near Mitens blocker side. Fletcher took a shot that beat Mitens long side to make it a 3 – 1 game.
With time running out on the second period and the Rebels playing on their heels, the Wings cut their deficit in half with a second remaining. Blackmun picked up a rebound and brought it behind the Rebels net. As he tried an outlet pass it was intercepted by Kevin Fitzgerald at the far side faceoff circle. Fitzgerald moved slightly forward and beat Mitens for his fourth goal of the playoffs.
Trying to capitalize on their success at the end of the second period, the Wings started the final period strong but Mitens had to make a couple of Grade A saves to maintain the Rebels one goal lead. The Rebels then began to play shutout defense and limited the Wings to minimal shots in the third. Blackmun would then score an empty net goal forty-eight seconds left in the game to make it a 4 – 2 game.
Mitens would turn aside 30 of 32 shots while Ploszaj stopped 20 of 23 shots. Click here for the box score.
The Rebels need one more win to advance the NAHL’s Robertson Cup finals. They play the Wings in game two tomorrow (Friday) at 5:30pm ET.
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By BBmaster
#486984
Yakovlev’s goal in OT sends Rebels to Robertson Cup Finals

Evgeny Yakovlev scored with 2:43 left in overtime to give the Rebels a 2 – 1 win over the Aberdeen Wings and send the Rebels to the North American Hockey League’s Robertson Cup finals tomorrow against the Lone Star Brahmas. It will be the first time in the team’s young history that it has reached the National Championship game.

After a scoreless first period that produced a total of ten shots, the Wings got on the board first at the 2:52 mark of the second period. After a faceoff outside the Wings zone, an Aberdeen defenseman dumped the puck into the Rebels zone. The puck went around the net and up the far side boards where a battle ensued. Carson Dimoff would get the puck and pass it down to Kevin Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald would come behind the Rebels net on a wrap around and beat Mareks Mitens up high to give the Wings a 1 – 0 lead. It was Fitzgerald’s fifth goal of the playoffs.

Despite starting the third period down by one and their season on the line, the Rebels came out hungry. The Rebels would tie it just fifty-three seconds in the final period on Gianluca Esteves’ fifth goal of the playoffs. Brennan Kapcheck would dump the puck into the Wings zone where Esteves would retrieve it behind Aberdeen’s net. He passed it up to the near side faceoff circle to Aaron Maguyon who passed it back to Ryan Solomon. Maguyon would make a cross-ice pass back to Michael Underwood. Underwood would take a shot that was redirected by Esteves past Wings goalie Forbes Ploszaj to make it a 1 to 1 game.

The Rebels would then start to control the flow of the game. They came close to adding a second goal but Ploszaj had to make several key saves to keep the game tied and send it into overtime for the second straight day.
While the Wings had some changes in the third that were thwarted by Mitens, the Rebels dominated the overtime. Then Kapcheck would start the play at his own goal line. He passed the puck up along the near side boards to Esteves who brought the puck into the Wings zone. Esteves made a drop pass back to Maguyon. The Galloway, NJ native passed it back to a trailing Yakovlev. Yakovlev would make a cross-ice pass back to Gvido Jansons at the point. Jansons would pass it over to Solomon. Solomon would take a shot that was saved by Ploszaj but the deep rebound came out to Yakovlev who put it into an open net to give the Rebels a two-games to one series win over the Wings.
Mitens turned aside 23 of 24 shots while Ploszaj stopped 33 of 35 shots. Click here for the box score.

The Rebels will now face the Lone Star Brahmas Today (Sunday) at 2:00pm ET in a winner take all for the NAHL’s Robertson Cup.


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Photo Credit: The Rebels would like to thank John Elftmann for providing photos of today’s game.
#486996
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REBELS LOSE TO BRAHMAS 3 – 0 IN CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

The Aston Rebels played their 73rd and final game of the season today. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out the way the players wanted it. Despite having playing their seventh game in ten days and coming off an exhausting but thrilling overtime game from the day before, their valiant effort came up short as they fell to the Lone Star Brahmas 3 – 0 in the North American Hockey League’s Robertson Cup National Championship Finals.

The Rebels played a very strong opening period cutting off the Brahmas neutral zone. However, each team did have their respective chances to score but Lone Stars’ goalie Max Prawdzik and Mareks Mitens each made several key saves to keep the score knotted at zero after the first period.

The second period continue as the same path as the first period with both teams playing very solid hockey. However, with time winding down in the middle stanza, Lone Star took advantage of a Rebels turnover in their own.

After a Rebels defenseman attempted to clear the puck out of their own zone it was intercepted at the nearside blue line by Austin Kamer. Kamer would bring the puck to the faceoff dot and passed it to Pete Kessel to his left. Kessel would take a shot on goal but the puck hit the side of the net where it picked up by Drake Glover. Glover would pass it out to Kamer in the slot and he one-timed it passed Mitens to give the Brahmas a 1 – 0 lead with 2:31 left in the middle stanza.

Lone Star would double their lead at the 4:04 mark of the final period. As the Rebels tried to break out of their zone and outlet pass was intercepted by Lone Stars’ Julian Biondo. Biondio brought the puck in close and took a shot that was saved by Mitens but Austin O’Rourke picked up the rebound to make it a 2 – 0.

With time winding down in the game and hoping to cut the Brahmas lead in half Mitens was pulled for an extra attacker. Tory York would score an empty net goal with 59 seconds left in the game to seal the championship for the Brahmas.

Mitens stopped 20 of 22 shots he faced while Prawdzik turned aside all seventeen shots. Click here for the box score.

Rebels defenseman Kolby Vegara and forward Gianluca Esteves were named to the 2017 NAHL All-Tournament team.

Despite the loss, the Rebels had an extremely successful season: best record during the regular season, team high 46 wins. Coach of the Year with Joe Coombs and the league’s Most Valuable Player and best goalie in Mareks Mitens along with eleven NCAA commitments to date.

The team will come back to Philadelphia tomorrow morning (Monday) and the players will begin to clean out their locker rooms and, sadly, say their goodbyes.

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