Rebel Hockey dominated the 2021 Chicago Classic tournament over the weekend, coming out with three straight wins and the championship title.
“Obviously, I’m really proud of the guys,” head coach Anthony Greener said. “I’ve been here six years with Coach Nick [Robone] and this is the closest knit group we’ve had. So it’s great to see that they have won three games in a row.”
Adrian College, Nov. 19
The Rebels conquered the Adrian Bulldogs 4-2 in the first game of the Chicago Classic as they improved to the next round.
The Bulldogs entered the tournament with a 14-2 record and as the defending ACHA national champions, but the Rebels came out strong defensively to maintain their win streak while hindering Adrian’s eight-game streak.
The first period showed off the defense for both teams, as the puck was traded back-and-forth down the ice for possession between the two teams.
Max Johnson kicked off the scoring for the night with a power-play goal with 57 seconds left on the clock. The goal was assisted by Hunter Muzzillo and Luke Burke.
The Bulldogs were quick to respond with a goal of their own 20 seconds later with Chris Donaldson knocking the puck in, assisted by Emanuel Silvero.
The two teams finished off the first period tied at one a piece, with Adrian outshooting UNLV 13-12.
Early in the second period, Muzzillo was sent to the penalty box for roughing, putting the Bulldogs on a power-play.
Silverio was quick to take advantage of the extra man on ice, shooting the puck into the net behind Rebel goaltender Zach Wickson with assists coming from Nash Hatcher and Samuel Spaedt.
The Bulldogs took the lead, 2-1. The Rebels gained full power on the ice and immediately took action to prevent Adrian from scoring any more points.
UNLV dominated the remainder of the period, barely letting Adrian touch the puck as they maintained control of the game. With 7:23 on the clock, Nick Flanders tied up the game once again with an assist from Bradley Golant.
The teams entered the second intermission tied at 2, with the Rebels outshooting the Bulldogs 13-8.
Max Johnson scored the game-winning goal at 9:21 of the third period, assisted by Blaise Arkle and Cole Wyatt, giving UNLV the lead 3-2.
It only took 30 seconds and the Rebels secured their win with an extra goal sent into the net by Jayson Dimizio, assisted by Burke, putting UNLV up 4-2.
For the remainder of the game, the two teams began to play more physically on the ice, but sent only Silverio into the box for cross-checking towards the end of the period. The Rebels maintained the lead and held the Bulldogs to their previous two goals.
UNLV outshot Adrian 37-33, with Wickson finishing the night off with 31 saves under his belt, compared to Bulldog Noah Decottignies’s 33 saves.
Minot State, Nov. 20
The Skatin’ Rebels returned to Fifth Third Arena Saturday night for day two of the tournament as they took on the No. 2 ranked Minot State, winning 2-1.
The Rebels entered the game off a win against the defending national champions, Adrian College, from the night before with a record of 10-3.
The Minot State Beavers entered the game undefeated with 11 wins under their belt, leaving the arena with UNLV stripping away their winning streak.
The first period of the game started off slow for both teams as they fought for control of the puck, with no scoring until the final minute.
Ezekiel Estrada skated past the Beaver defense to put the Rebels on the scoreboard with an unassisted goal with 24 seconds to go.
Despite the goal, UNLV only managed to get seven shots in the first period, compared to Minot’s 12 shots.
The Rebels began to pick up speed in the second period, gaining more control over the puck. Halfway through the period, Alec Johnson was sent to the penalty box for high sticking putting the Rebels on a penalty kill.
With less than four minutes to go until intermission, Max Johnson put the puck into the net once again, assisted by Kyle Quinn to boost UNLV’s lead to 2-0.
For the remainder of the period, the Rebels were able to keep the Beavers’ scoring opportunities to a minimum to give them a total of five shots for the period. The Rebels had 11 shots on goal.
Heading into the third period, UNLV was able to find consistency in its plays while continuing to limit Minot’s possession of the puck.
Towards the end of the game, Max Johnson was sent to the ice for cross checking, giving the Beavers a power play advantage.
Davis Sheldon shot the puck past goaltender Zach Wickson, with the assist coming from Wayde Johannesson to put the Beavers on the scoresheet, 2-1.
Once the Rebels returned to full power, they were able to prevent any more scoring from happening.
The Rebels finished off the game with 39 shots, while the Beavers finished the night off with 21 shots.
UNLV took home their second win of the weekend, winning 2-1 while demonstrating an impressive defense throughout the night.
Prior to the game, Minot State maintained a game average of 6.4 goals, but the Rebels were able to hold them to a single goal for the night.
Liberty, Nov. 21
UNLV took on Liberty for the final game of the tournament, ending the weekend with a 2-1 win to bring home the Chicago Classic Championship.
“I’m so proud of the boys,” Max Johnson said. “It’s definitely huge for our program, and moving forward we just need to keep playing like that and winning games and we’ll be fine. We proved ourselves this weekend and I think people will start to know who we are now.”
Max Johnson finished the weekend with three goals, improving to the Rebels lead scorer with 11 goals and eight assists this season for 19 total points for UNLV.
The Flames entered the game with a two-game win streak, losing that streak to the Rebels, who improved to an eight game win streak.
The first period saw no scoring from either team with both defenses starting off strong. The teams traded possession of the ball throughout the period, but the Rebels managed to outshoot the Flames 14-11.
The Skatin’ Rebels entered the second period determined to bring home the trophy, with Dimizio scoring within the first five minutes.
The goal was counted as unassisted to give UNLV a 1-0 lead.
The Rebels found consistency in the period as they outshot the Flames once again 14-8.
UNLV secured the win against Liberty in the third period with Wyatt putting the puck away in the net, with assists coming from Dimizio and Jake Berry for a 2-0 lead.
Jacob Kalandyk scored a goal for Liberty with 3:25 remaining on the clock to bring the Flames up 2-1, avoiding a shutout.
After the goal, Liberty quickly pulled their goaltender, Hunter Virostek, in hopes of tying the game for some overtime. The Flames were unsuccessful in doing so, ultimately losing the game 2-1.
Wickson earned himself MVP of the weekend with 86 total saves for the weekend, being the first star of the game for games one and three and second star of the game for game two.
The Rebels left the arena with a new trophy and the title of the Chicago Classic Champions as they return to Las Vegas to enjoy their Thanksgiving break.
“We just played the No. 6 team- beat them, the No. 2 team- beat them, the No. 3 team- beat them,” Greener said. “We deserve every bit of the ranking that we were. We should climb the ranks, but the one thing we have told everyone is that we’re not satisfied. We’re going to continue to win.”
The Skatin’ Rebels enjoy a week off before hitting the road to travel to Arizona, where they will face Grand Canyon for a weekend series.
The games will take place on Dec. 3 and 4 for their final road series before returning to City National Arena. Both games will have a 6:30 p.m. puck drop.
Fans will be able to watch Rebel Hockey live on Dec. 10 and 11 when they host the Arizona State Sun Devils.
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Another game, another awesome article by the one and only. Never disappointed!