The Skatin’ Rebels took to the ice at City National for the last time of the 2021-22 regular season, sweeping the Oregon Ducks in front of an overfilled arena.
The Ducks are currently a Division II hockey team, but heading into next season they will be making the jump to a Division I program.
Saturday’s game for the Rebels included a short alumni game for the former players, with senior night following behind to kick off the night.
Game One, March 4
The Skatin’ Rebels defeated the Ducks 2-1 to start their final series of the regular season.
UNLV established possession of the puck at the midpoint of the first period, after both teams struggled with control of the puck at the beginning.
Even with little puck possession, Oregon was first on the scoreboard with a shot from Jimmy Gaga, assisted by Tobin Fix to give the Ducks a 1-0 lead.
It did not take long for the Rebels to score their own goal of the night, with senior Angelos Tsalafos shooting the puck past Duck goaltender Henry Bradford. The goal came with assists from Michael Boutoussov and David Lenzin to tie the game.
With no penalties in the first period, the Rebels saw themselves on two penalty kills in the second period.
At 11:34 Ezekiel Estrada was sent to the box with two minutes for roughing. Six minutes later, Nick Flanders found himself in the penalty box for tripping with two minutes.
The Rebels managed to hold the Ducks off on both penalty kills, but couldn’t capitalize on any goals of their own, leaving the second period scoreless.
The Ducks saw their own penalty trouble in the third period, receiving three penalties throughout the period.
Duck Austin Pultz entered the box with two minutes for roughing at 14:26, putting the Rebels on their second power-play of the night.
Flanders managed to capitalize on the play to give the Rebels a 2-1 lead, with assists from Brendan Manning and Paxton Malone.
For the remainder of the game, UNLV prevented Oregon from scoring anymore goals to secure the victory.
The Rebels made 46 shots against goal compared to the Ducks 17 shots.
Three Stars of the Night
The three stars of the game were David Lenzin, Angelos Tsalafos, and Nick Flanders.
Flanders was named the first star of the night as he scored the game-winning goal.
The second star of the night was given to Tsalafos, after he put the Rebels on the scoreboard in the first period.
David Lenzin earned the third star of the night with his assist in the first period.
Game Two, Senior Night March 5
The Skatin’ Rebels finished their regular season with a strong 5-2 defeat over the Oregon Ducks, extending their win streak to five.
Before the game began, UNLV held a short ceremony to honor the three seniors on the team, including Angelos Tsalafos, Sean Plonski, and Captain Jared Erickson.
The Rebels hit the ice and instantly showed improvement in their performance compared to the night prior, starting off with strong puck control.
Michael Boutoussov scored for the Rebels on the second shot of the night, assisted by Lenzin and Bradley Golant.
Shortly after the goal, Golant entered the penalty box for two minutes after being called for cross checking. Thirty seconds later, Jayson Dimizio joined Golant in the box for two minutes of his own for tripping.
The two penalties put the Ducks on a 5-on-3 power-play.
With the two man advantage, Connor Rendell scored for the Ducks assisted by Isaiah Strategos and Austin Charmholm to tie the game.
It didn’t take long for the Rebels to return the favor, with Estrada scoring his first goal of the series. Luke Burke and Tsalafos assisted with the goal to give UNLV a 2-1 lead.
No scoring was seen in the second period by either team, leaving the fans with a similar score from Friday night’s game as the teams entered the third period.
UNLV returned to the ice and dominated the third period, extending its lead with a goal from Jaedin Ness.
The goal led to an eruption in the crowd as Dimizio and Golant assisted in the goal, giving the Rebels a 3-1 lead.
Less than a minute later, Nick Slayton entered the penalty box for tripping, putting the Rebels on a power-play.
Flanders was quick to take advantage of the opportunity, shooting the puck past the Ducks’ goaltender Rodney Peterson for another goal on the board. Estrada and Jake Berry assisted in the goal for the new Rebel lead of 4-1.
Hunter Voyles was caught for cross checking at 13:15, allowing the Rebels on another power-play.
Brendan Manning snuck the puck past Peterson to score for UNLV, assisted by Flanders and Estrada for a new score of 5-1.
With six minutes left in the period, Ness was sent to the penalty box for interference, finally allowing the Ducks a power-play of their own.
On the power play, Pultz managed to sneak the puck past UNLV goaltender Vince Benedetto for a goal, assisted by Charnholm for the updated score of 5-2.
UNLV held onto the lead for the remainder of the game, as the Rebels outshot the Ducks 40-17.
In honor of the three seniors’ last home game at City National Arena, Tsalafos, Plonski, and Erickson were named the first star of the night.
The Skatin’ Rebels prepare to head to Nationals next weekend as the No. 4 seed in the tournament, located in St. Louis, MO.
UNLV will have a bye the first day of games, playing in round two at 10:15 a.m. CST on Friday, March 11 against the winner of No. 13 Pittsburgh and No. 20 Navy.
All of the ACHA National Tournament games will be broadcast live on HockeyTV for those fans that are unable to attend in person.