Friday, January 19, 2019

By Bethany Drysdale

Las Vegas – The #8 UNLV Rebels were back on home ice for a nine game homestand, beginning with the #24 Utah Utes. Starting in goal for UNLV was Ben Giesbrecht, making his 10th start of the season. The crowd was packed in, as usual, for the Rebels. Looking to start off the scoring, Angelos Tsalafos had an early chance for an open net which sailed wide. Kameron Fink has a strong shot that was blocked topside. But penalties by the Rebels put them down four times in the first period. Zach Lawson broke through, scoring a short-handed goal on a Utes turnover in the neutral zone. Assisting on the goal were Jordan Rea and Connor Hetzel with 8:11 left in the first period. Utah saw how it was done, and answered back with their own short-handed goal on a 2 on 1 breakaway. At the end of 1 the shots were UNLV 6, Utah 8.

The second period started with some back and forth battles for puck possession. Cody Williams scored a big goal in the middle of the second period with Joe Kaszupski getting the assist. The physical game of UNLV resulted in a 5 on 3 powerplay opportunity for the Utes. UNLV’s penalty kill unit was phenomenal! Bodies blocking shot after shot the Rebels kept the Utes from scoring. UNLV goalie Ben Giesbrecht was on his game, seeing the puck from every angle. The last four minutes of the period were a defensive win for UNLV keeping the Utes from tying the game. At the end of 2, the shots on goal were UNLV 17, Utah 21.

The fast, furious third period went over for five minutes without a whistle. With 12:40 left UNLV was still leading 2-1. Two quick penalties on both teams resulted in a 4 on 4 for 1:43, with UNLV getting a man advantage for 6 seconds. Five on five resumed with 8:50 left in the game, with no scoring on the power play. Cody Williams made a great play on goal but the whistles  blew as the referees lost sight on the puck. After the pushing and shoving,  UNLV managed a power play with 6:37 left in the game. Utah called timeout with 6:17 to go while the Rebels have a 5 on 3 for 1:26. The penalties on both side added up throughout the game. Four on four, once again with a little over 4 minutes left in the game. Utah gets a 5 on 3 advantage for 51 seconds on a tripping call. Jared Turcotte of UNLV puts the puck in goal with an empty netter. Turning the puck over at the faceoff dot, the Utah defense did not see Turcotte squeeze in to intercept their pass for the final goal of the game. Final score – UNLV wins 3-1.

Come to City National Arena tomorrow – Saturday – for Game Two against the Utes at 7:30 pm. We will be in the stands, supporting the Skatin’ Rebels. Hope to see the stands packed, making plenty of noise!