UNLV Hockey’s offense dominates in series sweep against Arizona State

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Mason Kelly shoots a snapshot that finds the back of the net against Arizona State Sun Devils on Jan. 20. Photo courtesy of UNLV Hockey / RJ Forbus.

UNLV Hockey bounced back against the Arizona State Sun Devils, taking the series with a 2-0 sweep. The Rebels outscored Arizona State 18-7 and outshot them 76-38 throughout the weekend. The Rebels advance to a 17-5-1, while the Sun Devils fall to a 9-14-1 record.

Game One 

The Rebels dominated the Sun Devils in a 10-2 win. Max Johnson, who scored a hat trick, earned the first star of the night. Bradley Golant and Jayson DiMizio earned the second and third stars of the night. 

“It starts with me, then our defensemen, then the forwards,” goaltender Vinny Benedetto said, who saved 14-of-16 shots faced. “We overall had a great game.”

Las Vegas local and former Las Vegas Thunderbird Anthony Bonaldi made his return to Sin City, which ended shortly after being pulled towards the end of the first period. 

Both teams had an aggressive start, with Max Johnson taking the first penalty of the game for slashing 40 seconds into the game. 

Cole Wyatt drew the first goal of the series on the Rebels’ third shot on goal at 2:51, assisted by Caleb Strong and Nicholas Flanders.

Flanders and Arizona’s Wyatt Palmer were quick to shove after the whistle at 4:04, setting the tone for the rest of the game. 

Both Jake King from the Sun Devils and Nick Doyle from the Rebels were sent to the penalty box for roughing at 7:12. 

The Rebels ended the four-on-four right off the face off with a goal from Mason Kelly, assisted by Luke Burke at 7:35.

Arizona State cut the Rebels’ lead in half with a goal from Hunter Friesen at 12:28, with an assist from Caden Butler,

Jayson DiMizio added onto the lead at 15:17, scoring his first of the season during a delayed penalty he drew, with assistance from Bradley Golant.  

In the ACHA, if a team scores a goal during a delayed penalty, they still get a power play, and Mattias Dal Monte extended the Rebels lead to 4-1 on the man advantage with assistance from both Cole and Jaxsen Wyatt. 

The Rebels headed into the locker room for the first intermission with a 4-1 lead while outshooting the Sun Devils 17-5 in the first period.

The Rebels started the second period with a short-handed goal from Golant under a minute into the period.

The physicality of the game continued with a brawl breaking out between Doyle, Jaxsen Wyatt, Heath Mensch, Justin Stathopoulos, and Arizona’s Ryan Quast and Ian Erdman, sending Doyle, Stathopoulos, Quast and Erdman to the box. 

The Rebels Max Johnson added onto the Rebel lead, making it 6-1 with assistance from Golant and Dal Monte at 16:55.

The Rebels closed out the second period with a dominant 6-1 lead with 27 shots on goal, compared to Arizona State’s 11.

Max Johnson opened up the third period with a goal 19 seconds in off of a rebound, assisted by Golant and DiMizio. 

Mensch contributed to the score column with a goal assisted by Kelly and Stathopoulos to make the score 8-1 at 8:42.

The lead grew to a 9-1 lead, with a goal by Max Johnson and assisted by DiMizio, giving Johnson a hat trick and his 19th goal of the season. 

“You get shut out, the next game you want to come back and put everything on like we did,” Max Johnson said. “We just gotta keep going from here.”

The Rebels entered double digits as Kelly scored with assistance from Jake Berry and Jaxsen Wyatt at 15:49.

The Rebels not only dominated the Sun Devils in goals, but also in shots. The Rebels outshot the Sun Devils 37-16. 

Game Two

The Rebels took game two of the series and its first responders night, winning 8-5. Kelly scored a hat trick and finished the game scoring four goals, earning himself the first star of the night. Dal Monte earned the second star of the night with a goal and two assists, and Michael Boutoussov earned the third star of the night with an assist. 

Stathopolous took the first penalty for the Rebels at 1:06, sending the Sun Devils on the power play. 

The penalty kill did not stop the Rebels, Kelly opened up the UNLV scoring with a short-handed goal at 2:37, unassisted.

“It was electric, got the crowd into it too,” said Kelly. “The bench got into it too. It was a team effort.”

Erdman was sent to the box at 4:16 for holding, sending the Rebels on the power play.

The power play became a four-on-four, as Golant was sent to the box for slashing at 5:02.

Dal Monte doubled the Rebels’ lead with an even-strength goal at 9:05, assisted by Boutoussov.

Butler put the Rebels on the power play once again, as he was sent to the box for high-sticking at 12:15. 

Kelly scored his second goal of the game and his ninth of the season at 12:31, assisted by Dal Monte to make the score 3-0.

Joey Carollo ended the first period with a roughing penalty, sending the Sun Devils into the second period with a power play. 

The Rebels continued its series domination in goals and in shots, outshooting the Sun Devils 14-6.

Daniel Fisher was sent to the box for too many men on the ice at 4:57, once again putting the Sun Devils on the power play.

Newlin brought both teams to an even match, as he was sent to the box for too many men as well at 5:48, bringing the penalty kill to a four-on-four.

Matthew Gross got the Sun Devils on the board at 10:17, with assistance from Conner Tilmon.

Ty Marchant put the Rebels on the power play at 16:20 for hooking.

Gross cut the Rebels lead with a short-handed goal at 17:35, with assistance from Palmer.

The Rebels immediately bounced back with a goal from Kelly, assisted by Ford and Tristan Rand at 18:12.

Golant added onto the Rebel lead with a goal at 18:14, with assistance from Stathopoulos and Berry.

The Rebels continued to outshoot the Sun Devils 25-14 at the end of the second period.

The Sun Devils started off the third period with a power play, as DiMizio was sent to the box for slashing at 19:02 in the second.

Tilmon cut the Rebels lead to two with a power play goal, assisted by Gross and Marchant, 46 seconds into the period.

 Kelly capitalized on a penalty shot, as he was tripped by Connor Kruk, giving the Rebels a 6-3 lead.

Chase kept ASU in the battle with a goal at 3:36, with assistance from Palmer.

Erdman cut the Rebels lead down to one with an unassisted goal at 4:48. 

Palmer gave the Rebels the man advantage for unsportsman-like conduct at 7:12.

Cole Wyatt capitalized on the power play, giving the Rebels a 7-5 lead, with assistance from Jaxsen Wyatt and Dal Monte.

Flanders was sent to the box for high sticking at 7:59, giving the Sun Devils the man advantage.

Arizona State was once again given the man advantage as Jaxsen Wyatt was sent to the box for hooking at 12:37.

Carollo was once again sent to the box for interference at 16:30, putting the Rebels on the penalty kill.

Ryan Quast was also sent to the box for unsportsmanlike-like conduct at 16:30, bringing both teams to four-on-four.

Cole Wyatt scored his second of the game during that four-on-four, assisted by Kelly to seal the Rebels victory over Arizona State 8-5. 

The Rebels took game two in both goals and shots, outshooting the Sun Devils 39-22.

“Discipline is number one,” UNLV Head Coach Anthony Greener said. “We had about nine penalties tonight, and it’s not acceptable.”

Up Next

The No. 5 Rebels take on the No. 3 University of Central Oklahoma Bronchos on Jan. 26 and 27 at home. Puck drops at 7:30 p.m. both nights at City National Arena. Tickets are free for students at the door. 

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