Rebels’ 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.