What a difference a day makes.
“We had practice yesterday, and the first 20 minutes I just shook my head. I was like, ‘You know, have you guys ever skated before?’” Rebels coach Jeff Marten said Jan. 3. “After a break like this, you don’t know what you’re going to get.”
Marten got 16 saves from goalie Jordan Garkow and a goal in each period as the Rebels blanked Mullen 3-0 at The Edge Ice Arena. The Rebels (3-5) were physical yet disciplined and aggressive enough at the other end to generate 33 shots.
“It was nice to come out and have a strong game today,” Garkow said. “The shutout was just icing on the cake.”
Seamus O’Connor had a goal and an assist, Trent Edwards scored the game-winner and Rollin Schuler capped a breakaway with a top-shelf beauty midway through the second period.
O’Connor assisted on Edwards’ goal, Corey Kline helped spring Shuler and Seth Tillapaugh assisted on O’Connor’s goal, which came with 8:32 remaining in the game.
The Rebels’ workmanlike performance was aided by Mullen’s frustration and impatience. The Mustangs (4-3), who also include players from Colorado Academy, committed 13 penalties, including four unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and one game misconduct for abuse of the officials.
The Rebels converted just one power-play opportunity, but enjoyed ample room on the ice and a cool demeanor.
“We played disciplined,” Marten said. “Our defense, I gave them extra kudos, they played very well and got it out of the zone.”
“Jordan was Jordan tonight,” Marten added.
Garkow, who notched his first shutout of the season, settled in nicely and had few moments of danger. Mullen managed just three shots in the first period and another five shots in the second. When the Mustangs did get the occasional odd-man rush, the Rebels’ defenders were diving at the puck with body or stick to disrupt things.
Edwards opened the scoring during a four-minute power play as he managed to hold the puck in the zone without any help on the blue line. Edwards fired the puck in from atop the left circle for the goal.
The Rebels caught the Mustangs in a line change for the second goal as Kline and Shuler got the puck in their own end and raced free down the right side. Shuler made a quick move and lifted the puck over the right shoulder of Mullen goalie Zach Eberhard.
The Rebels committed just two penalties and Marten kept the shifts short to guard against fatigue.