The Skatin Rebels hit the ice Saturday night after a year and a half hiatus for one last inter-squad scrimmage in preparation for their upcoming 2021 season.
Team Scarlet faced off with Team Grey in two 25 minute periods for a friendly competition before introducing their season against the University of Illinois.
"We have a good core group of guys that came back,” Head Coach Vignieri Greener said, “so everybody knows everybody, and the guys that did come in had ties with guys on our team for the most part. I’m happy with the outcome of the last week.”
Even with this game being a scrimmage between the team, the Rebels did not hold back with some light-hearted trash talk before the night began followed by some aggressive plays on the ice.
Team Scarlet used the night to show off their skills with their 7-1 victory. Jake Berry led the team with two assists, one in each period.
The first period consisted of three straight goals from Scarlet. Paxton Malone got team Scarlet on the scoreboard with an assist from Jayson Dimizio. This was followed by a goal from David Lenzin and Berry’s first assist of the night. Former player Nick Govid earned himself a goal in the last few minutes of the period as well.
Scarlet continued to dominate in the second period, only allowing Team Grey to score in the first minute. Manning Brendon knocked the puck past Scarlet goalkeeper Zack Wickson with an assist from Ezekiel Estrada to put Grey on the scoreboard.
Scarlet once again had a string of goals along with a strong defensive play to guarantee their blowout of the night.
Ten minutes after Brendon’s goal, Berry made a pass to Alec Johnson for a power-play goal. Nick Flanders was quick to get a goal after his teammate to propel Scarlet to a 5-1 lead.
Angelos Tsalafos saw an opportunity in the last three minutes of the game to nudge the puck into the net to put Scarlet ahead by five points.
With 30.2 seconds remaining, Michael Boutoussov knocked in a goal of his own after receiving a pass from Govid.
After the regulation time, each player on the team got a chance to score in a shootout before concluding the night.
Team Scarlet only managed to earn two points during the shootout with a goal by Lenzin and Grant Smith.
Team Grey popped off with four goals by Brendon Manning, Daniel Fisher, Hunter Muzzillo, and Adam Victorino.
The Rebels open the 2021 season with a home series against the University of Illinois on October 1st and 2nd at 8 pm. The team has two series against Arizona State during the season, one at home and one away, to challenge the boys and keep the excitement up.
"[Arizona State] are the games the boys get pretty excited for throughout the year,” Malone said. “They’re considered one of our rivals. They always put up a pretty good team so that gets the energy up for us and hopefully, with some fans in the stands it’ll get the energy up even more.”
Along with the Sundevils, the team ends their season with a home series at City National Arena against Oregon on March 4-5.
"I’m definitely excited,” senior Jared Erickson said. “Obviously Oregon is a big-name college program and to have them come to town here I think we’ll be able to pack the stands and put on a good show.”
The Rebels are looking forward to seeing the hockey community come together after a year off due to the pandemic. City National Arena is ready to be packed with fans once again with the building filled with smiles on and off the ice.
In the remaining weeks of pre-season training, the team focuses to improve every day in order to be ready to play against the big-name schools on their schedule.
"I think we need to get in shape. I feel like some guys are still out of shape,” Greener said. “Systems will be our main thing- we need to get our systems down. We haven’t done any systems yet. They did run a good power play in the game where [Jake] Berry gave it over to Alec [Johnson] and there was good movement with the puck throughout the game, but that’s all gonna get better in this next one.”