Sunday, February 28, 2016

Logan, Utah –  For UNLV it was heartbreak. For Las Vegas defensman Mike Trimboli and Utah State it was a return to glory.

Utah State cooled down ultra hot UNLV and won 4-1 in an ACHA Western Regional Final 4 game today at the Eccles Arena on a chilly blustery day with rain showers in the forecast.  Trimboli and Utah State will return to the U.S. Nationals for the third time in four seasons. Last year at this time Trimboli and Utah State were eliminated in a historic Final 4 game against Boise State which went seven overtimes.

UNLV, with new coaches Anthony Greener and Nick Robone, had a shockingly great season at 24-8-2. UNLV here earlier eliminated San Diego State 5-1 and Northern Arizona University 5-1.

In the Final 4 game today Utah State got off to a four goal lead and held on to it for much of the game. UNLV’s goal came from Bryden Marsh who has six goals here and 40 for the season. It was the final game for UNLV seniors who included Chris Jones, a great caring team leader who had an awesome season. He scored 2 goals here at the Regionals.

Trimboli grew up in Las Vegas and played for Pokey Reddick-coached AAA and AA Nevada Stars midget level teams at the Las Vegas Ice Center. One of Trimboli’s teammates was Arturo Castro, a former UNLV player who is now the President of the UNLV club. Trimboli at Utah State majors in Business with a minor in Hospitality.

There were four Western teams who advanced to the U.S Nationals. Two teams, #1 ranked ASU Elite and #2 Utah, got automatic bids and did not play here. Utah State and ASU Maroon – who ironically UNLV outworked and beat pretty badly recently in Las Vegas – also advanced.

About a hour after the game was over Mike Trimboli told his family in the arena how meaningful it was for Utah State to win and advance to the U.S. Nationals “…particuarly with this being my senior year.”

The last game of the season of a season is always hard, particularly for a UNLV team whose skaters were together for over six months, drew huge crowds at home games, played spectacularly and who rarely lost.

When the game was over and the UNLV players were in the handshake line at center ice UNLV coaches Anthony Greener and Nick Robone shook hands with the Utah State players who included Mike Trimboli who told them “...congratulations, what a great job you did turning around the UNLV program.” 

Coaches Greener and Robone said thank you and moved on, quietly shaking hands with the game officials who were by an open gate at the rinkboards. As Greener left the ice he glanced to his left. The Utah State players were piled in a group at center ice getting a team photograph.




Final Score – #5 WEBER STATE 3 #7 ASU MAROON 4  —  ASU Maroon advances to U.S. Nationals

Final score –  #3 UTAH STATE 4, #9 UNLV 1

UNLV goal – Bryden Marsh 40th goal of the season

ASU Maroon and Utah State advance to the U.S. Nationals