Johnson brothers showcase on-ice bond as Rebel Hockey top-two scorers

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Alec Johnson (22) and Max Johnson (16) on the ice during the first game against Missouri State on Oct. 29, 2022. The Rebels went on to sweep Missouri State 2-0 for the weekend. Photo by Kayla Faasse

UNLV hockey head coach Anthony Vignierii-Greener has said this year’s team is as close a group as he’s ever had. And the team’s top-two scorers are much closer than others on the team. 

For the past 17 years, Max Johnson and Alec Johnson have always had a best friend on their team and that’s the case again as they’ve begun their collegiate careers. 

Born in Osseo, MN, the Johnson brothers made their way to UNLV last year during the pandemic. Despite there being no games, they practiced with the Rebels and grew closer to everyone on the team. 

“I mean last year we all got super close so to be able to start playing with each other is really amazing,” Alec said. “The fact that we’re coming out and winning a bunch of games, it’s pretty awesome.”

The Skatin’ Rebels are currently No. 4 in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) with a record of 21-4, with the twins being a key aspect to the success of the team so far. 

Growing up playing the same sport, the two fell into positions on the team to make themselves the perfect combo on the ice. 

Max grew into playing forward, while Alec stole the position of defender making them a force to be reckoned with on the ice. 

“We always push each other to be better. It’s always fun to make plays together and score together,” Max said. “We’ve been doing it for so long so to be able to do it now is just amazing. It’s nice to have someone back who you trust at defense and hopefully vice versa.” 

Max has remained the top scorer for UNLV for the majority of the season with 18 goals and 12 assists for a total of 30 points. 

Trailing closely behind, Alec has kept his name in the top three scorers for the season currently in second with 9 goals and 17 assists for a total of 26 points. 

“I’m glad to be able to pitch in and help out,” Max said. “Points don’t really matter if we’re not winning the game. So as far as being able to contribute and help us win those games, it feels good.”

With constant competition throughout the season during games, there’s a bit of sibling rivalry that goes on behind the scenes. 

“You always got someone to compete with,” Alec said about playing on the same team as his brother. “I always try to be better than him so it makes us both better as players at the end of the day. It’s a lot better playing with each other than against that’s for sure.”

With this being their first official season as a Rebel, the brothers look forward to a couple more years of playing together as they both prepare to finish off this year on a high note. 

Watch the twins play at City National Arena during the next home series on Feb. 18 and 19 against Grand Canyon with a 7:30 p.m. puck drop for both nights. 

Tune in to the UNLV Rebel Hockey Twitter page for live updates of its next series this upcoming weekend, Feb. 11-12, as they take on the Sun Devils in Phoenix, AZ. 

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