Defenseman Reid Miller scored his first goal of the season 5:54 into the third period to give the Rebels a 2 – 1 come from behind win over the visiting New Jersey Titans. It was the first game of a home-and-home series between the two teams this weekend.
New Jersey took the lead first. The Titans entered the Rebels zone on a two on one. After a nice point blank save by Mareks Mitens on New Jersey’s Greg Malafronte, the puck went to the corner where Malafronte picked up his own rebound. Malafronte passed the puck behind the Rebels net to Kyler Head in the far side corner. Head passed the puck back to the near side point to Oskar Stromberg. Stromberg took a low-line shot that was redirected by an all-alone Head in the slot past Mitens to give the Titans a 1 – 0 lead with 3:01 left in the opening period. It was Head’s seventh goal on the season.
After being limited to only four shots on goal in the first period, the Rebels started to apply their relentless forechecking in the second period. With nine minutes left in the middle stanza, New Jersey’s Dylan Healey was called for tripping putting the Rebels on the power play.
Mitens made another in-close save on New Jersey’s Danny Eruzione and the rebound came out to Gianluca Esteves. Esteves carried the puck into the neutral zone and passed it to Andrew Bellant on his left. Bellant carried the puck into the Titans zone with Esteves on a two-on-one. Bellant made a perfect cross-ice seem pass to Esteves who redirected the puck past New Jersey’s goalie Rylan Ferland to tie the game at one with 7:01 left in the second period. It was the sixteenth goal on the season for the Winnipeg, MB native.
Then, playing in his first game since being recalled from the NA3HL, Miller made his return count. With the puck behind the Titans net a New Jersey defenseman tried to pass the puck up to a teammate along the near side boards where it was intercepted by Miller at the point. Miller threw the puck on net and beat Ferland up high and short side to give the Rebels a 2 – 1 lead with 14:06 remaining in the third period. The Rebels’ youngest player on the team was mobbed along the boards by his line mates.
Mitens stopped 18 of 19 shots while Ferland turned aside 25 of 27. Click here for the box score.
The Titans loss now has New Jersey traveling to Johnstown in two weeks in the other East Division semi-final series.
It was the Rebels 25th win of the season at home. One more win by the Rebels will give them the best overall record of the season in the North American Hockey League.