Skatin' Rebels Upend Utah in Midnight Game

  • October 09, 2021, 09:56 PM (update October 09, 2021, 10:12 PM)
  • Dominic Lavoie
Skatin' Rebels Upend Utah in Midnight Game Kayla Faasse The Rebels celebrate after defeating the Utah Utes 5-2 on Oct. 8, 2021.
Led by UNLV forward Max Johnson’s four-point game, the Skatin' Rebels beat the Utah Utes in a 5-2 victory Thursday night.

The UNLV Skatin Rebels took the ice for their third game of the new season Thursday night on a date with the Utah Skatin Utes. 

The game had a midnight start time Thursday night to celebrate Greek Life on campus. 

The start time and celebration of fraternities and sororities brought out plenty of UNLV students to pack the stands at City National Arena. 

The crowd was intense, booing the Utah Utes vigorously when they hit the ice, and popping when the Skatin Rebels took the ice for the opening period. 

The game kicked off with an early UNLV turnover in the neutral zone leading to a two-on-none that would be instantly shut down after a late offsides call. 

The Rebels continued to play unorganized, seeing a multitude of turnovers in the first period.  

The rough stuff after the whistle would see its spark after UNLV defenseman Jake Berry collided with Utes forward Michael Urtis, sending Urtis to the ice. 

Berry came back around as the official was addressing his penalty and speared Urtis in the midsection. Rebel forward Michael Boutoussov came from behind and cross-checked Urtis in the upper back while he lay on the ice. 

Berry got hit with a minor penalty for interference, while Boutoussov was sentenced with a minor penalty for cross-checking, sending the Utes on a two-man advantage. 

The game went into the second period knotted at zero, while the Rebels killed off the five-on-three early on in the frame.

M. Johnson notched the opening goal seven minutes into the period off of a beautiful wrist shot that beat Utah goaltender Landon Anderson under his right arm.

UNLV forward Brendan Manning tucked a goal of his own after a rebound to put the Rebels up 2-0.

Urtis scored for Utah 30 seconds later to give the Utes bench life. 

Skatin Rebel Bradley Golant received a perfect pass from Angelos Tsalafos and ripped a shot off of the crossbar, but did not get a lucky bounce as the puck stayed out of the cage. 

The Scarlet and Gray took to the power play, where defenseman Alec Johnson potted the Rebels’ third goal of the period.

Light found two additional posts behind Wickson, neither of which benefit the Utes. The pucks stayed out of the net and the deficit stood at three.

Rebel forward Cole Wyatt opened the third and final frame with a goal to give UNLV a 4-1 lead. 

Boutoussov got sent to the penalty box once again after piling onto Utah defenseman Steven Pawlow and repeatedly forcing his head into the ice.

Utes forward Landon Langenbrunner brought Utah within two after a deflection sent the puck up and over Wickson’s shoulder late in the period.

M. Johnson potted the empty-net goal to seal Utah’s fate with 5.2 seconds remaining in the game to the delight of the crowd. 

The aforementioned crowd played a large role in the game, razzing Anderson at every chance they could, creating various chants to support the Rebels, and making their presence known to the Utes. 

"[The crowd] definitely turned up and it was great motivation for us,” Manning said post-game. “I hope it’s something we can do every year from now on.”

The Skatin Rebels improve to 3-0 on the season, with all three wins being backstopped by Wickson in the cage, punctuated with goals in bunches and standout defensive plays when the Rebels got in a rhythm. 

"It starts with [Wickson] in the back end, our [defense] held it down, and the offense chipped in when they needed to,” Skatin Rebels Head Coach Anthony Greener said. “It was a good team win.”

Wickson’s three wins on the year have been made easier by the group of players in front of him that play with a degree of physicality and precision night in and night out.

"Every time [we’ve] been in the penalty kill they’ve blocked shots and make it easy for me to keep shots to the outside,” Wickson said. “They’ve just been playing really good.”

The game was not without penalty trouble for UNLV however, as they continued their physicality from their Illinois series.

"That's what our coaches harp on us about,” Manning said. “That’s one component of our game we need to work on, and once we do that and we’re 5 on 5 there’s no reason we should be losing to anyone.”

The Skatin Rebels take the ice for a Saturday matchup in their second game against the Utah Utes, with puck drop scheduled for 12:20 p.m. 

The game will be a family day, where families of four or less get in for only $20, with each additional ticket being $5. Family packages can only be purchased at the door.

Individual tickets can be purchased at rebelhockey.com with tickets ranging from $5-10 each, or they are free with your RebelCard.

Dominic Lavoie

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