Do Or Die
Rebels, Titans Play Winner-Take-All Game 5 Tonight
Jamestown hockey fans have a special treat on deck this evening, as the Rebels return home for Game 5 of the North American Hockey League East Division semifinals against the New Jersey Titans.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m., with the Rebels looking to snap a two-game skid and advance to another best-of-five series against top-seeded Johnstown.
Head coach Joe Coombs and company got out to a strong start at home, grabbing Game 1 by a 5-3 score while a two-goal performance from captain Alex Frye lifted the Rebels to a 4-1 win in Game 2.
Heading to New Jersey this past weekend, Jamestown fell victim to the hot goaltending of Brandon Perrone on Friday as the Titans were able to rebound with a 2-0 win despite allowing 37 shots.
Nursing a short roster and dealing with too many penalties, the Rebels suffered a 3-2 loss on Saturday after starting the night in a three-goal rut.
“I’d love for there to be 2,000 people there screaming their heads off,” Coombs said of Game 5. “It’s always a lift anytime you get to play at home. We’ll get home late (Saturday) and get some rest, get together (this) morning and prepare as best we can.”
The Rebels have been racked by illness through their first playoff series in Jamestown, a problem made worse when top players are forced to spend time on the penalty kill.
“You are asking guys to do things they haven’t done all year and they are going to try their best,” Coombs said. “We’re going to give it our best and I certainly hope that the fans are there to rally the troops.”
Goaltender Ryan Keane is expected to play in his fourth game of the series after Noah West picked up a win with a 26-save performance in Game 2.
The Rebels are likely to see Brandon Perrone between the pipes for his fifth game of the series.
“He played really well Friday night but we’re not getting second and third chances,” Coombs said of Perrone. “It doesn’t matter what goalie you are playing. You have to have traffic there. It is playoff hockey and you have to fight and claw for everything you are getting.”
The winner of tonight’s game will take on No. 1 Johnstown, which was able to move past No. 4 Northeast with a 4-2 win in Game 5.
In the Midwest, Fairbanks will face off against Minnesota after a 3-0 sweep of Janesville. The Magicians finished off their first-round series against Springfield via a 6-3 final in Game 4.
In the Central, Aberdeen was the winner over Austin in four games while Minot blanked Bismarck in three games to advance to the divisional finals.
The South Division champion will be decided between the winners of two games this evening. Corpus Christi will meet Amarillo at 8:05 p.m. while Shreveport will face Lone Star at the same time.
Louis Boudon of Northeast leads all scorers with nine points in the postseason, while Blake Bennett of Corpus Christi, Gabriel Seger of Amarillo and Carson Briere of Johnstown all sit in second with eight points.