The UNLV Skatin Rebels improve to 4-0 on the season following their overtime win against Utah Saturday afternoon on Oct. 9 at City National Arena.
The first period was much tamer and calm compared to the teams’ first meeting Thursday, with less shoving and scrums after the whistle to start.
Utah got on the board early courtesy of a powerplay goal from Michael Urtis. Urtis’ goal marked the first time UNLV trailed in a game this season.
The Rebel power-play unit got an early chance to show themselves after Dylan Dix went to the penalty box during the first period. The powerplay did not provide UNLV any scoring, however, it has shown improvement in puck movement.
A mess in front of Wickson midway through the second frame provided Utes' captain Alex King an easy tap in goal to put Utah up 0-2.
The second period saw the post-play scrums return, with both teams convening on each other after almost every whistle.
Utah’s Wyatt Light was sent to the box for hooking, leading to a Skatin Rebels power play. Max Johnson went to work below the goal line and fed a pass to Jared Erickson waiting in the slot where Erickson ripped a shot past the Utes' goaltender.
Erickson’s tally brought UNLV within one of the Utes to round out the second period, putting the Scarlet and Gray in a better position to tie the game heading into the third period.
UNLV had a chance to tie the game early in the third by going on the power play, however, the Utes' penalty killers killed off the man advantage.
The Utes would respond to the successful kill with a goal on a breakaway from Wyatt Light to put Utah up 3-1.
Ezekiel Estrada responded with a goal of his own at the halfway mark of the period, bringing the Rebels within one.
Luke Burke became the center of scrums as he was against the Rebels’ opening series against the Illinois Fighting Illini, drawing a boarding penalty on Dix and sending the UNLV power-play unit out in crunch time.
Alec Johnson scored just a few seconds into the Rebel power play, tying the game and firing up the bench.
A. Johnson then took an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty during the celebration of the game-tying goal and put the Utes power-play unit out with less than nine minutes remaining in regulation.
Rebels defenseman Jake Berry sacrificed the body in a huge way on the penalty kill, blocking shots and trying to stay involved in the play while hobbling in pain. Wickson made a huge diving save to rob Utah of the go-ahead goal to the awe of many.
Berry had to be helped off the ice by the training staff and did not return to the game.
A huge scrum broke out shortly before the period ended, with A. Johnson slamming a Ute to the ice and Burke being tackled then powerlifting a second Utah player on his shoulders while barking at him the whole way up and the whole way back to the bench.
The teams remained locked at three apiece and ended up going into overtime.
The start of the overtime period saw high energy from the Rebels as they gained the zone. Jayson Dimizio caught a tape-to-tape pass from Erickson, and wristed the game-winning goal home.
"It felt great, it was my first goal so I needed it,” Dimizio said. “Definitely a good way to end the game.”
The Rebels improved to 4-0 this season before heading on the road, leaving off on possibly their best game yet, despite the 3-1 deficit the team faced.
"That was the best three periods of hockey we played all year,” Head Coach Anthony Greener said. “The score doesn't show it but we stayed disciplined, the penalty kill was good, the powerplay was good, [an] overall team win.”
Both goals the Rebels scored in the third to tie the game came within the final half of the period when UNLV truly picked up the pace of the game.
"We were down 3-1 in the third period and to crawl back shows the grit that we have and the potential we have,” Erickson said. “I’m really proud of our guys.”
Looking ahead, the Skatin Rebels go on the road for the first time to play the University of Central Oklahoma in a two-game series. UCO is 4-0 on the year as well, having beaten Oklahoma, Colorado, and Arizona State. Puck drop for both games is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Oct. 15 and 16.