The 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.