By Bethany Drysdale

Game One of the ACHA Division 1 men’s hockey championships began today in Frisco, Texas. The #13 Skatin’ Rebels played the #20 Robert Morris University Colonials at 10 am central time, marking the second straight year the Rebels have qualified for the D1 tournament. The RMU Colonials are located in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, just outside the city of Pittsburgh. (Approximately 55 miles east from my hometown!) RMU earned its spot in the tournament with an automatic bid, winning the CHMA League Championship in overtime with a goal from Andrew Hachmeister. This critical game was a must win for both teams, as they needed to win to advance – any loss would out them out of the tournament, ending their season. It was RMU’s Hachmeister who opened the scoring today at the 11:32 mark in the first period with a redirected shot, behind UNLV goalie Ben Giesbrecht. The slow start for UNLV did not last long, as Joseph Kaszpski scored his 12th goal of the season, assisted by Tristan Mayer at the 17:03 mark to tie the game 1-1.

The Skatin’ Rebels dominated the second period, not only in goal scoring but puck possession and hits. John Moeller scored 58 seconds from the puck drop to put the Rebels up 2-1. A minute later UNLV was on a power play, when they gave up a short-handed goal at 1:59 to RMU. Joe Kasupski was firing on all cylinders this morning, keeping the Rebels offensive production going at the 6:38 mark, scoring his second goal of the morning, unassisted, for this 13th goal of the season. His wrap around back-handed pass went five-hole on what was a dominating zone shift for UNLV. RMU used a coaches challenge at 7:40 to review a no goal call, but the goal was confirmed by the officials, and the scored remained 3-2 Rebels. At the 13:26 mark, Joe Kaszupski scored his 3rd goal of the game and 14th of the season, assisted by Tristan Mayer, to give Joe the hat trick and increasing the Rebels lead to 4-2. UNLV killed off a penalty before going 4 on 4 to end the second period.

UNLV continued to play their strong, physical game plan into the third. Giving up a goal to RMU’s Hachmeister, his second goal of the game, was the only offense the Colonials could manage in the third. The Rebels held on defensively, with great stops by Giesbrecht to seal the 4-3 win. 

Tomorrow the Rebels will play the #4 Ohio Bobcats at 10 am Central Time here. This is a key matchup between the two teams that faced each other last season, ending the Rebels tournament run in Columbus. Look for an intense, physical game with a lot of emotion on both sides, as they battle for a Division 1 ACHA Championship title.


Bethany Dysdale was voted ‘Best Writer’ by readers here on Vegas Hockey