Skatin’ Rebels Hit The Road To Face The Utah University Utes In Two-Game Series

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Robert McCollum stick handling the puck in the offensive against Utah. Photo courtesy of UNLV Hockey.

The UNLV Skatin’ Rebels (17-2) hit the road for a two-game series against the Utah University Utes (12-9) on February 3rd and 4th at Salt Lake City Sports Complex. The Skatin’ Rebels are coming off two shutout wins against the Oklahoma Sooners. Friday’s game would feature a 7:30 p.m. PST start time. Saturday’s game would start at 3:30 p.m. PST.

Game One, Feb. 3

Cole Wyatt would score his team-leading 10th goal of the season In a Skatin’ Rebels victory against the Utah University Utes Friday Night. The Rebels would also extend their winning streak to 11 games with the 6-1 win.

The first game in this series featured a goaltending matchup between the Skatin’ Rebels’ own Landon Pavlisin 0.943 saves percentage (sv%), and Utah’s goaltender Joseph Greilich 0.899 sv%. 

When the first period began both teams exchanged chances at both ends however despite a lead in the shots on goal the Utes would concede the first goal of the game. 

Jaxsen Wyatt would find the back of the net for his 3rd goal of the year for the Rebels to give them the 1-0 edge at 12:21. The goal was made possible by a turnover by the Utes in their own zone. 

The Skatin’ Rebels would head into the first intermission up by one goal, but trailing in the shots department 11-12. The defense was key to maintaining the lead in the final minutes of the first.  

The second period would feature a much slower-paced game in the ten minutes before UNLV would extend their lead to 2-0 when Cole Wyatt scored his 10th of the season at 11:32. The goal was set up by David Lenzen with his second assist of the season. 

However, that would not be the only goal in the second period as just over a minute later Daniel Fischer would score his second of the season off assists from Brenden Fehlig and Michael Boutoussov at 12:49. The Rebels would have a 3-0 lead, and carry that to the locker room. 

When asked about the goal Fischer said “Yeah it felt really good to get one it’s been a little while. It was a good play by my linemates. Boutoussov found Fehlig and Brenden made a little drop pass to me and I had enough time to go backhand forehand.” 

The Skatin’ Rebels were all over Utah in the middle part of the second period and that showed on the shot totals as well as they led 22-15 at the end of the period. 

Utah University looked to climb back into the game early after the third period began when forward Jules Donovan would score just two minutes into the final frame. The goal would be his sixth of the season set up by Ethan Noonan. 

Though the lead was now cut to 3-1 for the Rebels their sustained pressure in the offensive zone would prove fruitful when forward Max Johnson would restore the three-goal lead with a wrist shot off assists from Caleb Strong and Luke Burke at 7:39.

The Skatin’ Rebels forward Brenden Fehlig would take a hooking penalty shortly after Johnson’s Goal, but the Utes were unable to capitalize on the opportunity on the power play which would only build on UNLV’s momentum in this game. 

In the final ten minutes of play, despite Utah’s best efforts the Rebels would score two more goals coming from both Captain Hunter Muzzillo and Caleb Strong to lead the Rebels to a 6-1 victory. 

After the game we were able to speak with UNLV head coach Anthony Vignieri Greener about the teams performance “We got off to a slow start with the olympic ice and then the bus ride hear with the elevation it was to be expected, but we weathered the storm and got off to a bit of a lead. Then in the second period we got going and in the third we were back to our normal team firing on all cylinders.”

Coming into a hostile environment the Skatin Rebels would improve their winning streak to 11 games after outshooting the Utes 47-33 in the 6-1 win. The Rebels would move to 18-2 and the Utes would fall to 12-10. 

THREE STARS:

  1. MAX JOHNSON: 1 GOAL
  1. JAXSEN WYATT: 1 ASSIST
  1.  LANDON PAVLISIN: 0.970 SV%

Game Two, Feb. 4

The Skatin’ Rebels 11 game win streak would come to a halt on Saturday as they were defeated by the Utah University utes by a score of 5-1. The Rebel defense was the reason they won Friday night’s game and likewise it was the reason they would lose on Saturday afternoon. 

The second game in this series featured a goaltending matchup between the Skatin’ Rebels’ own Zach Wickson 0.918 saves percentage (sv%), and Utes goaltender Landon Anderson 0.914 sv%. 

The Rebels found themselves in a lot of penalty trouble early coming off a slashing penalty to Jayson Dimizio and a roughing minor to Alec Johnson. 

Forward Che Landikusic would score his 13th goal of the season off assists from Michael Urtis and Cole Musick at 13:11. A little time and space is all Landikusic needed to give the Utes the 1-0 lead which they would take into the intermission. 

When the second period began the Rebels looked for a response early as they looked to get back into the game. A hardworking forecheck would draw a UNLV power play off an interference penalty to Landon Langenbrunner. 

The Rebels scored a minute into the power play to tie the game at one in an attempt to swing the momentum at 9:26. The goal by Max Johnson came off a feed to the slot by Caleb Strong. 

The momentum swung the exact opposite way after the goal in the favor of the Utes as they would regain the lead off a shot from Logan Jackson to make the score 2-1 at 16:12. 

The Utes would go into the second intermission with a 2-1 lead. 

The third period began and the Utes would continue to back the Rebels into their own zone consistent with their strong forecheck. Momentum would pay off for the Utes by way of another goal coming off the stick of Benjamin Mickel at 2:55. 

Despite the pushback UNLV tried for in the third it was neutralized by the Utah defense and led to two more goals off turnovers for the Utes. One goal coming from Trent Gephart at 8:41 and the other from Ethan Light at 13:47, both unassisted. 

With this the Rebels win streak would finally come to a close with the final buzzer signaling a 5-1 loss. The Utes were dominant in all facets of the game and came out ready for the Rebels attack which is what led to such a wide margin of victory. 

With the defeat the Skatin’ Rebels would fall to (18-3) and the Utes would move to (13-10) with the victory. The Rebels will be back in action next week against the University of Arizona back home at City National Arena.

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