Sunday, January 27, 2019.
By Bethany Drysdale
Las Vegas – A disappointing loss for the UNLV on Saturday night as the Rebels fell to the Colorado State Rams 5-3. The hometown crowd was lined up out the door for the Federal Employee Night at City National Arena. With Papa John’s pizza given free to any Federal employee affected by the shutdown and the NHL Vegas Golden Knights on an All-Star break, there was a standing room only crowd at the Summerlin Hospital Rink. Coming into this game 17-4-1, the #7 UNLV team looked to keep their unbeaten home streak going against the Colorado State Rams. Two minutes into the game, D’Andre John scored a quick goal, with Jordan Rea centering a pass for the assist. Colorado players may have had the height advantage but UNLV was quicker and more precise in their puck handling.
Pax Malone of UNLV scored the second goal at 11:13 with an assist from Joe Kaszupski. This fast dominate game is the bread and butter of the hard-working Rebels. Staying with the game plan the Rebels were the better prepared team. Unfortunately, the Rams disrupted the Rebels game plan with physical and often unnecessary penalties. Colorado scored their first goal of the weekend at 10:51, answering right back to the Malone goal. Penalties mounted on both sides and the mental game of staying focused on what they do best became harder for UNLV. The penalties continued throughout the second period, and Colorado took advantage of a tired UNLV penalty kill unit who had just played on a 5 on 3. Scoring at 10:20 in the second, the 2-2 tie and a 3rd Colorado goal at 4:37 put the Rebels in a game of catch up. Kameron Fink of UNLV scored in the last 90 seconds of the period to knot it even at 3 going in the third period. Shots on goal at the end of two were 26 for UNLV and 22 for Colorado State.
The tension on the ice was intense beginning the third period. More penalties on both sides left both teams down a man twice in the first 10 minutes. With the score tied 3-3 and 10 minutes to go, it became a matter of which goalie would blink first. After Friday’s 4-0 shutout win UNLV goalie Ben Giesbrecht continued to make huge saves in the game. Unfortunately in what looked like goaltender interference, Colorado broke the tie with 5:51 left in the game to go up 4-3 on the Rebels. Less than 90 seconds later, Colorado scored the backbreaking goal and held on to win with a final score of 5 to 3 over the Rebels. The final moments of the game were some of the most tense moments all season with players of both sides having players ejected for game misconduct penalties.
More exciting home games are coming up for UNLV at City National Arena when they host the University of Arizona on February 8 and 9, 2019, at 7:30 pm. Come out and support the team and see what the excitement is all about when the Rebels take the ice. I promise you will not be disappointed. If you cannot make the game, come say hello to the team weekday mornings at their practices. The Rebels are very happy to see fans embracing hockey in Vegas.
Bethany Drysdale was voted the 2018 “Best Hockey Writer on Vegashockey.net” by our readers.