Rebel Hockey sweep Grand Canyon to extend win streak to 10

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UNLV's starting lineup for the second game against Grand Canyon on Dec. 4, 2021. From left to right: Vince Benedetto (1), Cole Wyatt (37), Sean Plonski (28), Alec Johnson (22), Brendan Fehlig (43). Photo by Bella Vegh /// UNLV Rebel Hockey

The Skatin’ Rebels traveled to Phoenix for their last away series of the semester, sweeping Grand Canyon for an extended win streak of 10. 

Game One, Dec. 3

UNLV struggled to keep a strong offense in Friday’s game, winning by only one point to defeat Grand Canyon 3-2. 

Team leader Max Johnson kicked off the scoring six minutes into the game, knocking the puck behind Lope goaltender Scott Kasaboski with an assist coming from Ezekiel Estrada. 

The lead didn’t last long with Cole Golden scoring for the Lopes less than a minute later, with Justin Rudyk having an assist and tying it up at 1. 

Both teams struggled to get another goal for the remainder of the period, going back and forth on the ice for possession. 

UNLV ended the period with 16 shots on goal, compared to Grand Canyon’s nine shots. 

Brenden Fehlig scored his first goal as a Rebel early in the second period, assisted by Cole Wyatt to put the Rebels back in the lead 2-1. 

“Yeah it felt good, it was nice to get the monkey off the back,” Fehlig said. “We’re still not satisfied with our game though so we’re going to regroup and hopefully have a better game tomorrow.”

Similar to the first period, six penalties were taken in the second period, splitting it up evenly between the two teams. 

With 58 seconds remaining on the clock, Rebel Max Johnson and Lope Cameron Neaylon entered the penalty boxes for unsportsmanlike conduct making it a 4-on-4 game. 

The third period started with a man short on both sides, with a little over a minute left on the penalties. 

It didn’t take long for Jacob Cummings to even the score out once again, tying the game with an unassisted goal. 

The Rebels fought for control of the puck, and with 5:26 remaining, Nick Flanders scored an unassisted goal to put UNLV on top once again, 3-2. 

“Yeah, it felt good,” Flanders said. “The whole team has been working pretty hard these past couple weeks so we knew [the win] was gonna come, it was just a matter of time.”

For the remainder of the night, the Rebels played the passing game to prevent any more scoring from the Lopes. 

With a minute to go, Grand Canyon pulled their goalie for an empty net but was unable to take advantage of the extra man on the ice. 

The Rebels outshot the Lopes 44-28 to win the game. Goaltender Zach Wickson made 26 saves of the night. 

“I was kind of upset, definitely not up to standards,” head coach Anthony Greener said. “Lucky to win, I guess… I know that we are much better than this. We’ll move on tomorrow night.”

The three stars of the night were awarded to Flanders with the game-winning goal, Fehlig with his first goal of the season, and David Lenzin. 

Game Two, Dec. 4

 The Skatin’ Rebels returned to the ice on Saturday determined for another win, defeating the Lopes 5-2 this time around to bring home another sweep. 

Going into the game, UNLV made a goaltender change to Vince Benedetto, but Kasabowski remained  in the net for the Lopes. 

Early in the first period, Grand Canyon scored the first goal with Preston Larson assisted by Matthew Mezik and Kory Potach. 

Fehlig proved to be a key part of the Rebels this weekend, tying the score up with his second goal of the series, assisted by Wyatt and Max Johnson. 

“It’s always nice to score,” Fehlig said. “I was playing with two great teammates this weekend, Max [Johnson] and Cole [Wyatt], they helped on both goals so I didn’t have to do much on my part…. It wasn’t the best weekend so we’re going to regroup and get ready for ASU.” 

The Rebels struggled to keep a steady pace for the remainder of the period, as neither team scored again. Even while playing a little sloppy, UNLV outshot Grand Canyon 13-11 for the period. 

UNLV found their pace in the second period with a power-play goal from Hunter Muzzillo assisted by Wyatt and Alec Johnson to earn a 2-1 lead. 

“It’s always a good feeling to score a goal,” Muzzillo said. “We knew what we needed to do as a team this weekend, and we’re not too happy with our performance. You live and you learn and at the end of the day we got two wins and that’s all that matters.”

Shortly after the goal, Brendan Manning put the puck in the net once again, assisted by Jayson Dimizio to boost the Rebel lead. 

Grand Canyon quickly became more physical on the ice as the team grew frustrated with the score, Braden Husby was sent to the box for unsportsmanlike conduct to put the Rebels on another power-play. 

Once again, UNLV took advantage of the extra man on ice with Max Johnson sending the puck behind Kasaboski, scoring a goal with assists from Alec Johnson and Wyatt. 

The Rebel defense managed to hold the Lopes to their one goal for the period, entering the intermission ahead 4-1. 

Coming off of a powerful second period, UNLV started the final period with a strong offense keeping control of the puck. 

Grand Canyon managed to slip away with the puck to score a goal of their own halfway through the period by Kolby Donovan, assisted by Preston Larson to bring the score to 4-2. 

A little over a minute later, Michael Boutoussov snuck away with a breakaway for an unassisted goal and a 5-2 lead for the Rebels. 

UNLV finished the night off strong, preventing Grand Canyon from scoring any more for the remainder of the game. The Rebels outshot the Lopes 35-28 to end the night. 

The Rebels took 11 penalties throughout the game, with 19 total for the weekend. 

“Our penalty-kill did a phenomenal job all weekend, specifically in today’s game,” Muzzillo said. “Things just didn’t go our way, but they’re the refs and they make the calls. We just got to deal with them. We’ll get better.”

The three stars of the night were awarded to Benedetto with 26 saves, defenseman Sean Plonski, and Max Johnson.

Up Next

The Skatin’ Rebels return to City National Arena next weekend to host the Arizona State Sun Devils with a 7:30 p.m. puck drop on Dec. 10 and 11. The series will be their final one before taking a month off for the holiday break.

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