On Tuesday, the Knights and Rebels met for the 11th time on the season. The Knights had won their last encounter back on December 17th, but the Rebels still controlled the head-to-head series with an 8-2 advantage.
The game started well enough for the Knights when Joey Kubachka registered his first goal of the season on assists from Andrew Jackson and Sam Antonitsch at 7:31 in the first. Antonitsch’s assist extended his point streak to 10 games, currently the best such mark in the NAHL.
Gvido Jansons would respond for the Rebels at 12:06 with his 14th goal of the season (Bellant, Garcia). Three minutes later Aaron Maguyon would tack on another when, following assists from Evgeny Yakovlev and Jensen Zerban, he fired a rebound over the shoulder of Matteo Esposito to give Aston the lead heading into the first intermission.
The Knights would draw even in the second when Joey Verkerke would send a cross-zone pass to Tim Gelatt who found Joe Schuler with open space in front of Aston goalie Jack Leavy. Schuler ripped his fourth goal of the season home to tie the game at two.
Following a trade of offensive chances but the conclusion of a scoreless second, the Rebels would retake the lead when Gvido Jansons buried a power play goal (Kapcheck) just under four minutes into the third. Jensen Zerban scored just 16 seconds later when he took a pass from Auggie Moore, rolled off the half wall and fired a shot past Esposito to build a two-goal, Aston lead.
As the clock progressed, so too did the penalty minute totals. In the following five minutes, two fighting majors, two game misconducts, three roughing penalties, an unsportsmanlike penalty and a headbutting minor were dolled out between the two teams. Despite the heavy traffic in and out of the penalty boxes and the Knights hitting two posts, the penalty kills held firm.
In the game’s final two minutes, the Knights pulled their goalie for an extra attacker. At 18:59, with a flick of the stick, Gvido Jansons was able to find the empty net from his own end, unassisted to record the hat trick and put the game to bed.
With the loss, the Knights fall to 22-21-1-1. Their next opportunity to climb back up the East Division standings will come Saturday at 7:30 at home against the Northeast Generals.