The Skatin’ Rebels (12-3) take their final road trip before Christmas break to Arizona to face the Grand Canyon Antelopes (5-10).
Both teams are returning from a week off due to the Thanksgiving break, feeling revived and ready to battle on the ice.
“We’re all coming back feeling refreshed and ready to get back after it,” defenseman Jake Berry said. “It’s always fun going down to Arizona. It’s a nice area down there. We’re looking forward to finishing out this last little stretch strong and that starts this weekend.”
UNLV enters this series after winning the Chicago Classic tournament in a three-game long weekend. Whereas Grand Canyon enters off a split series with Utah, winning the second game 6-4.
In the tournament, the Rebels defeated the defending champions Adrian College (4-2), ranked No. 2 Minot State (2-1), and ranked No. 4 Liberty (2-1) to become the 2021 champions.
Rebel goaltender Zach Wickson made 86 saves during the three games with an average 28.6 per game.
“We needed to establish ourselves as a team that can beat those top five teams and we did exactly that,” forward Brendan Manning said. “You know now I think that we have established ourselves as one of those teams so just moving forward we have to keep that.”
The Rebels continue to have a strong offense during their games with 53 total goals made this season, averaging 3.5 goals per game.
The Antelopes averaged 3.8 goals per game out of its 15 for the year with 57 total goals.
So far for the season, the Rebels’ defense has allowed 33 goals for an average of 2.2 goals per game, compared to Grand Canyon’s allowed 81 goals with an average of 5.4 goals per game.
“Everybody has a specific role on the team that they play and I think everybody just needs to chip in and do their part and then everything will go the way we need it to,” Manning said.
Max Johnson remains the top scorer for the Rebels, leading the team with 11 goals and eight assists for a total of 19 points. Following close behind, Alec Johnson earned 16 points for the team with six goals and 10 assists.
Antelope forward Jacob Cummings enters the series as Grand Canyon’s top scorer with five goals and 14 assists under his belt for a total of 19 points. Blake Billings follows behind Cummings with nine goals and two assists.
The puck drop is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. MST on Dec. 3 and 4. Vegas fans can tune into the live stream of the game at 5:30 p.m. PST, found on the Antelope YouTube channel. Follow the team on Twitter (@UNLVRebelHockey) for live updates along with a link to the stream.
After this weekend, UNLV hockey will return to City National Arena for a series against Arizona State on Dec. 10 and 11, before the Rebels head home for their Christmas break.
“It’s been five weeks since we’ve played at home,” head coach Anthony Greener said. “Obviously we get to play in front of the fans so that’s an added bonus. We’ll play these two against GCU, hopefully get two more wins then be back here.”