The Skatin’ Rebels returned to City National Arena for a weekend series against the Missouri State Ice Bears, sweeping them 2-0 in the series.
The weekend proved to be a big one with Missouri State coming off a sweep of its own against Central Oklahoma, the team that handed UNLV its first loss of the season and has been the only team to sweep the Rebels so far.
The Rebels entered the weekend with four players listed on the injury reserve with forwards Daniel Fisher and defensemen Adam Victorino, Jack Kennedy and Adrian Nicholas. Rebel Nick Flanders also sat out for the weekend on a day-to-day basis.
Game One, Oct. 29
Prior to the game Friday night, fans enjoyed a Halloween-themed tailgate that included a costume contest, free food and mini games for everyone to take part in.
The two teams stepped out onto the ice before a crowd filled with Halloween and Rebel spirit. Some fans dressed as dead UNLV cheerleaders to show their support towards the team.
The Rebels came out sloppy in the first period, trailing 1-0 off of a power-play goal from Jacob Wiethaupt as they headed into intermission.
The Rebels proceeded to outshoot the Ice Bears with 15 shots in the first period compared to the Bears’ nine shots.
During intermission, the Rebels shook off all the jitters and entered the second period with an explosive start as the Ice Bears were put on the back foot with two goals coming off of 14 shots to Missouri’s 12 shots and zero goals in the second period.
Bradley Golant was first up on the scoreboard at the 13:42 mark with Michael Boutoussov and Brendan Manning picking up assists.
Ezekiel Estrada slung in an acrobatic power-play goal with 1:15 remaining in the period, with assists coming from Paxton Malone and Luke Burke.
The third period didn’t slow down for the Rebels, as they ended up shooting 12 shots to Missouri’s seven shots and scoring two more goals to the Ice Bears’ one goal in the period.
Max Johnson answered off a solo goal from Missouri’s Jack Brachbill with one of his own at the 17:28 mark to secure the game with assists going to Angelos Tsalafos and Alec Johnson.
Malone was next up on the scoreboard after Missouri pulled its goalie, allowing Malone to score into an empty net in the last 15 seconds from a pass from Golant.
“The only team that’s gonna beat us right now is us,” said Head Coach Anthony Greener. “Once we settled in, I think we dominated most of the game.”
The Rebels gave up five total penalties compared to Missouri State’s six total, yet the most impressive stat was UNLV’s 41 total shots on goal compared to Missouri State’s 28 total shots.
UNLV showed up to play and dominated after the first period against the Ice Bears to kick off the series with a 4-2 victory.
Game Two, Oct. 30
The Rebels returned to the ice to finish the sweep against the Missouri State Ice Bears, as they put together a dominant 5-1 performance for their Halloween weekend.
Saturday’s tailgate included a trunk or treat where the Skatin’ Rebels joined their fans outside the arena to check out all the costumes along and to help pass out candy.
Once again, UNLV skated out in front of a spooky crowd, playing strong and not allowing the Ice Bears the lead throughout the game.
Alec Johnson started the night off right at the 2:18 mark with assists coming in from Cole Wyatt and Max Johnson.
The Bears answered back on a power-play goal from Evan Ross, but that would be the only goal Missouri would score against UNLV.
With the Rebels outshooting the Ice Bears 14-10 in the first period, UNLV would end up having its season-high in shots with a total of 50 compared to the Bears’ 27 total shots.
In the second period, Hunter Muzzillo scored off of a power play with Max Johnson and Alec Johnson picking up assists at the 15:03 mark.
“Really, I just got lucky,” says Muzzillo. “I was just at the right place at the right time Max had a phenomenal shot, as he always does. [He] just hit the post and kinda came right to me, and fortunately I was able to help the team out and put that one in.”
Boutoussov scored the third goal of the night for the Rebels, assisted by Golant and Kyle Quinn with 37 seconds left on the clock.
“It felt good,” said Boutoussov. “[Golant] got it to me there with some speed, and honestly, kinda fanned on it a little bit, but still felt good to get it in and get that 2-0 lead for the boys.”
The Rebels were not finished, scoring two more goals in the third, the first from Wyatt, assisted by Max Johnson and Malone, followed by Estrada’s second goal of the series, assisted by Manning.
The Rebels put up the most volume of shots in the second period with 19 shots versus the Bears’ 12 shots.
UNLV proved to be too much for Missouri, forcing them to switch goalies from Matt Griffin, who allowed four goals, to Ross Jones who allowed a single goal on 14 shots from the Rebels in 11 minutes.
UNLV won’t return to the City National Arena for the whole month of November, but will return on Friday, Dec. 10 when they face Arizona State for the first time this season.
Catch the Rebels Nov. 12 and 13 at 7 p.m. when they face Utah for the second time in the season. UNLV will travel once again for a series against Illinois on Nov. 19 and 21 for a puck drop of 7 p.m.
To watch the away series, follow the team on Twitter (@UNLVRebelHockey) for a link to the live stream.