Skatin’ Rebels close out historic season

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UNLV Goalie, No. 1 Vinny Benedetto, protects the goal against the University of Arizona. (Photo by DJ Cabanlong/Scarlet & Gray Free Press)

After a historic season, the Skatin’ Rebels close out the 2023-2024 season with a 25-6-2 regular season record. Despite rough losses throughout the season, the Rebels made it to the national championship game for the first time in program history. 

The Rebels added several new players to fill in for the graduating class, including defenseman Nick Doyle and forwards Tristan Rand, Heath Mensch, Mason Kelly and Justin Stathopolous.

Bradley Golant established himself as the season’s top goal scorer with 44 goals. Cole Wyatt trailed Golant by only three goals, with 41 goals. 

The Rebels started the season with a 9-1-0 record, sweeping Grand Canyon University, University of Utah, and the University of Arizona. They suffered its only loss to Arizona State, in which they bounced back in game two. 

UNLV had a fiery start to November, sweeping the San Diego State Aztecs 6-1 in the first game and 8-1 in the second before heading into a bye week before the Chicago Classic. 

After a bye week, the Rebels took on the Chicago Classic, where they faced Illinois State, Ohio, and the defending national champions, Minot State. 

Illinois State took the first game with a 4-3 win. Ohio took game two with a 3-2 win. The Rebels bounced back with a win against the No. 1 ranked Minot State, shutting them out 3-0, with Zach Wickson stopping all 41 shots on net.

The Rebels took the first series of December against the Arizona Wildcats, taking game one 6-1 and game two 4-2. The Rebels closed the 2023 semester by splitting a series against the University of Jamestown.

The Rebels saw a tough start to 2024, dropping two games against Minot State, with the first by a shootout and shutout in game two. UNLV bounced back against Arizona State with a series sweep.

UNLV split its next two series against the University of Central Oklahoma and University of Utah.

The Rebels added two more games to the win column with a dominant sweep at home against the Oregon Ducks shutting them out in both games.

The Rebels closed the season with a final series sweep against the Colorado Buffalo. They honored seniors Max and Alec Johnson, Vinny Benedetto, Nick Flanders, Jake Berry, Michael Boutoussov, Luke Burke, Daniel Fisher, Grant Smith and Jaedin Ness with a pregame ceremony and the win. 

The Skatin’ Rebels had a historic run in the national tournament. After knocking off Missouri State with a 7-2 win, the University of Pittsburgh in a 5-1 quarterfinal win, and UCO in a 6-4 semifinal win, the Rebels played in the first championship game in program history. 

The team faced Adrian College, to which they fell 3-0. They held each other off until the third period, where Adrian struck and took the championship.

Rob McCollum earned the most points throughout the tournament with five, including a goal and four assists. 

Golant was efficient in the tournament finishing with four points, including two goals and two assists. 

Four Rebels made the ACHA all-tournament teams; two were named honorable mentions. Mattias Dal Monte and Golant were awarded spots in the first all-tournament team, while Alec and Max Johnson were named to the second all-tournament team. Jayson Dimizio and Benedetto were the honorable mentions of the team. 

Up Next

After a historic season, the Rebels are preparing for the next one. The team announced on March 19 that they would be playing two games against NCAA Division I teams next season. 

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