Monday, March 13, 2017

By Lee Samuels

Las Vegas – One more practice – just one – and then the UNLV Rebels will gear up and head to the U.S. Nationals in Columbus, Ohio.

The Rebels are scheduled for their final team practice on their home rink 8 am Tuesday at the Las Vegas Ice Center.

Then it’s time to gear up and go to the airport.

UNLV is heading to the U.S. Nationals with a 30-7-0 record, with a small army of goal scorers, a reconstructed defense which has been brilliant and with three elite goalies. It is unquestionably the best UNLV ever and the first to go to the U.S. Nationals.

The U.S. Nationals.

That’s the place where UNLV head coach Anthony Greener always wanted to go when he played for the Rebels and yet he never got there.

Greener played in the very first UNLV game back in 2005 when the Rebels opened the season against UCLA. The UCLA players skated onto the ice wearing their famous light blue jerseys and golden helmets. The arena was packed at the Santa Fe Stations Arena.  Greener skated on the top line like he did in every game played for the Rebels.

“Those two seasons we went unbeaten at home I thought we were going to make it to the Nationals but we fell short in the Regionals both years,” Greener said. “Like the season we had Scott Rensmon in the middle and Josh Jasek and myself on the wing…..”

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Greener said….

“No one knows how hard it is to win games when it is do or die. You make one more mistake than the other team and that’s your season”

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How the 2016-17 UNLV got to the U.S. Nationals was the result of recruiting by Greener and assistant coach Nick Robone and putting a hard focus on elite defensemen like Nicklas Giers, Steven Terry and premier goalies like Terry Martin, Erik Eidissen and Alex Feese.

And a dynamic hometown player named Cody Williams who led the Rebels in goal scoring for the second straight season.

“We’ve always had people who could score,” said Greener mentioning UNLV goalkings like Mike Zenzola and Robbie Silvernail.

Plus, this season UNLV ticked its game schedule to the upside to play better teams

Greener added “our goal from Day One this season was to win a National Championship.

“Now it is time to do work.”

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UNLV will take on Grand Valley State on Wednesday 5 pm at the Chiller Rink in Dublin, Ohio.

“Their top six forwards are really skilled,” Greener said. “We don’t want to get into a shoot out with them – just play our systems and grind them down.”

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UNLV’s Top Goal Scorers

36 – Cody Williams

32 – Dion Antisin

29 – Jake Saxe

25 – Viktor Brask

23 – Tristan Mayer

13 – Steven Scamorza

UNLV’s goalies

Alex Feese 9-0-0, 2.31 gaa, 91.2% save percentage

Erik Eidissen 12-5-0, 2.30 gaa, 91.9% save percentage

Terry Martin 8-2-0, 2.20 gaa, 92.1% save percentage