Skatin’ Rebels Back Home To Host Oklahoma Sooners In Two-Game Series

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UNLV Hockey celebrating the sweep against Oklahoma. The Skatin' Rebels scored 9 goals and both goalies shut out Oklahoma in the sweep. Photo by RJ Forbes courtesy of UNLV Hockey.

The UNLV Skatin’ Rebels (15-2) come home for a two-game series against the Oklahoma Sooners (4-10-4) on January 27 and 28 at City National Arena. Both games would feature a 7:30 p.m. PST start time. 

Game One, Jan. 27

Zach Wickson recorded his second shutout of the season and Cole Wyatt found the back of the net twice in a Skatin Rebs win vs Oklahoma 5-0 to improve their record to 16-2 on Friday, Jan. 27.

The first game in this series featured a goaltending matchup between the Skatin’ Rebels’ own Wickson 0.911 sv%., and the Sooner’s goaltender Brendan Culbertson-Bond 0.884 sv%. 

The game started out with a Sooner’s breakaway 13 seconds into the game. Wickson was able to prevent an early goal with a pad save.

Oklahoma found themselves with their first scoring chance on the power play at 8:21 after a slashing call on UNLV forward Michael Boutoussov. 

A turnover on the Sooner’s power play forced by Jayson Dimizio led to a short-handed goal by Jaedin Ness. The Ness goal and Dimizio assist gave the Rebels a 1-0 lead at 9:38.

The Skatin’ Rebel’s momentum grew with a cross-checking penalty on Oklahoma by Conner Frye at 12:21. 

The Rebels scored on the power play from leading point scorer Cole Wyatt at 13:40. With assists coming from both Bradley Golant and Alec Johnson on the play.

When asked about the importance special teams aspect of the game coach Nick Robone said, “I think that it’s crucial in the later parts of the season, especially once you get to the national tournament to have both your penalty kill and power play clicking and that’s what sets you apart from winning and losing those close games.”

The Skatin’ Rebels would take a 2-0 lead into the first intermission as they looked dominant in all facets of the game including outshooting the Sooners 12-5 in the period. 

Entering the second period, the Rebels used the Sooner’s aggression against them and scored within thirty-two seconds, giving the Rebels a 3-0 lead.

Rebel forward Kyle Quinn scored from coast to coast on a rush through all five Oklahoma skaters.

While the Rebels’ offense was dominant on Friday, so was their defense. The Rebels only allowed seven shots over halfway through the game. 

Eventually, the pressure would break through for the Rebels and the lead would be extended to 4-0. The goal was scored by Cole Wyatt for his second goal of the night after a keep-in of the puck at the Sooner blue line. 

This would be the third straight series Wyatt has scored goals with both his backhand and his forehand. He leads the team with nine goals and twenty-one assists for thirty points.

The Rebels would take this 4-0 lead into the third period, which was filled with physicality before and after the whistle. Thirteen different penalties were given out in the third period. Including a total of 5 ten-minute misconduct penalties. 

The Skatin’ Rebels however would not let this phase them as they would add one more to the scorebooks before the game would conclude coming from Azzaro Tinling at 4:04. 

Despite an effort for the Oklahoma Sooners to fight back in the game with a total of twelve shots in the third period, they fell to the Skatin’ Rebels 5-0.

The final shot totals would be 38-20 in favor of the Skatin’ Rebels as they move up to 16-2 on the season. Meanwhile, the Oklahoma Sooners would fall to 4-11-4.

THREE STARS:

  1. COLE WYATT: 2 GOALS
  1. ALEC JOHNSON: 2 ASSISTS
  1.  ZACH WICKSON: 20 SAVE SHUTOUT

Game 2 Heading: Skatin’ Rebels Shutout Oklahoma Sooners In Back To Back Games

Byline: Donovan Hicks

Game Two, Jan. 28.

Rebel goaltender Vince Benedetto records his first shutout win of the season as the Skatin’ Rebels cruise to a second straight shutout victory against the Oklahoma Sooners 4-0. 

The first game in this series featured a goaltending matchup between the Skatin’ Rebels’ own Vince Benedetto 0.955 sv%., and the Sooner’s goaltender Gage Redman 0.897 sv%. 

The previous game featured a strong performance all around from the Skatin’ Rebels and game two started out similar to game one. Early in the first period, the Rebels jumped out to a 7-0 shot total. 

A tripping penalty committed by Sooner’s skater Alec Secord, followed by another tripping penalty by Cameron Bickford lead to the Skatin’ Rebels being on a two-man advantage.

The Skatin’ Rebels did not score on the power play however they scored just after both penalties expired as Dylan Ford would find his first goal of the season at 11:36 off assists from Riley Jensen and Nicolas Flanders.

The Rebels continued to pour pressure for the remainder of the period holding the Sooners to only six total shots. The Skatin’ Rebels entered the first intermission leading 1-0.

In the beginning of the second period, the Oklahoma Sooners had the opportunity to gain momentum after generating four straight power plays. 

The Sooners had quality possessions in their power play opportunities however the Rebels’ penalty kill would not just hold strong, they produced offense.

During the fourth Sooner power play, the Rebels extended their lead with a shorthanded goal from Michael Boutoussov off assists from both Bradley Golant and Hunter Muzzillo at 11:06. 

The shift in play allowed the Rebels to carry the 2-0 lead into the second intermission. They also lead in the shot category 24-13 after two periods.

While the Sooners fought back in the third period the UNLV defense kept the Sooners out of the Rebels’ zone. The Skatin’ Rebels killed an early third-period penalty then converted the defense to offense.

In the middle of the third period, Bradley Golant scored a power-play goal off assists from Jayson Dimizio and Flanders at 7:47. 

They also went on to add an insurance marker in the final minutes coming off the stick of Jaedin Ness for his second goal of the series at 18:10.

When the final buzzer sounded the Rebels were once more victorious by a score of 4-0. This would be Benedetto’s first shutout of the season for the Rebels stopping all twenty shots he faced. 

He’s such a great kid,” Coach Nick Robone said. “He works so hard to practice as a competitor. He deserves every bit of that shout-out tonight.”

When asked about the importance of the defensive part of the game coach Nick Robone said, “Yeah, I think it’s big because we try and take pride in our D zone.”

With these two wins the Skatin Rebels would improve to (17-2) and the Oklahoma Sooners fall to (4-12-4). 

The Skatin’ Rebels will head to the road to play against Utah on Friday, Feb. 3rd at 7:30 p.m. PST and Saturday, Feb. 4th at 4:30 p.m. PST.  

They’re coming off a split with UCO (University of Central Oklahoma) this weekend at home and they’re a tough team to play,” Robone said. “We need to make sure we’re ready to go.”

THREE STARS:

  1. BRADLEY GOLANT: 1 GOAL 2 ASSISTS
  1. VINCE BENEDETTO: 20 SAVE SHUTOUT
  1. DYLAN FORD: 1 GOAL

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