Skatin’ Rebels travel to Central Oklahoma for first road series

Nick Flanders (11) stays open for the puck during the first Rebel Hockey game of the season against Illinois on Oct. 1, 2021. Photo by Kayla Faasse

UNLV Hockey (4-0) leaves City National Arena for the first time this year to take on Central Oklahoma (7-0), where both teams hope to come out undefeated.

“This is a good opportunity for us to see where we really are at,” assistant coach Nick Robone said. “I mean in our league championships are won on the road.” 

“We never get to play a home championship game or anything like that, so you gotta learn to win when you’re not at City National. This is a good chance for us to see where we’re really at, follow our itinerary, realize it’s a business trip, get out there, get full points, and come home.” 

So far, both the Rebels and Bronchos have demonstrated strong offense in their games, with high scoring. UNLV has averaged 4.5 goals per game during the four games played this season with 18 total goals. 

Central Oklahoma has played in more games, having averaged 5.5 goals per game out of their seven for the year with 39 total goals.

“We feel good,” Robone said. “I think our guys have done a really good job listening to what we’re trying to communicate with them and our systems that we are putting in place to kinda help slow down a very good central Oklahoma team but it really starts on the backend of our goalies and defense. We take care of the puck. I think we will be fine offensively.”

The Rebels swept both Illinois and Utah with their first two at-home series, staying undefeated after struggling offensively to get into the flow of the game and multiple close games. 

“Obviously everybody wants to start undefeated so we’ve done that, and there’s obviously things we need to clean up,” defenseman Hunter Muzzillo said. “It’s early in the season, we’ve been sloppy at points. There hasn’t been any time as evident by being down 3-1 to Utah in the last game.”

In the first game against Utah, forward Nick Flanders came off the ice with an injury mid-game and did not play in the following game. After returning to practice this week, he looks to hit the ice against the Bronchos. 

Flanders heads into the series with three assists and one goal under his belt for the year. 

“We just gotta keep working as a team,” Flanders said. “They got some individual guys in their program and we don’t really have that on our team so we are pretty deep and  if we keep working hard how we’re doing then we are looking at getting another sweep.”

Looking at the series from a stats point of view, the Bronchos enter the game with an advantage, but if the Rebels continue to play disciplined with good penalty kills and power-plays there’ll be a hard fought battle between the two. 

The puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Oct. 15 and Oct. 16. A livestream of the games can be found on the Rebel hockey YouTube channel. Follow the team on Twitter (@UNLVRebelHockey) for live updates along with a link to the stream.

“So far I mean you can’t really complain about going up 4-0 but I feel like we are not at our potentiel and once we get there we’re gonna be dangerous,” Flanders said.


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