By Bethany Drysdale, Kat Craner and Christina Oka
With the UNLV regular season coming to a close, the playoff picture is coming into focus for the Rebels. One reason for their continued success this season has been a freshman forward from Victor, New York. Not far from Lake Placid, where the 1980 Miracle on ice pushed USA hockey into the spotlight, Victor is a small town just outside of Rochester. A place where hockey and lacrosse are popular sports; Brendan Manning started playing hockey with his older brother. At age 3 or 4, Brendan started ice skating. He credits his love of hockey to his family. His father grew up playing hockey and his mother was a big supporter of both her sons playing on the ice.
This season, as a UNLV forward, Manning has played 28 games, tallying 10 goals and 6 assists. Last season, the 20-year-old Manning spent his time in the EHL, playing 29 games with 12 goals and 13 assists, keeping up a consistent presence on the ice.
His most memorable hockey moment, “I would have to say, probably, playing hockey for one year with my brother. My brother was always one grade ahead of me, and he played high school hockey growing up, but I never did, because my team, when I was playing youth hockey, was always full season for travel, and it wasn’t half a season for travel AND high school, so I never had that chance to play with him until one year, finally, my team was a split team, it was travel AND high school, so I had the ability to play with my brother, which I did, and it was really fun.
“We won our high school championship and everything, and it was a really fun year. I would say that was probably, like, the best memory. But I would say probably that playing for a Canadian league when I was a sophomore was probably one of the most exciting moments of my hockey career because not every kid gets the opportunity to play in a really profound league like that. I was 15 years old, and I was going to Toronto on a Tuesday to have a game at 7:00 at night, and then I would have to drive, 4 hours back home, and I would literally get home at 3 in the morning and have to get up and go to class the next day. It kind of separated me from others, in terms of a normal school life, and, like, a normal teenager’s life, so, I would say that was probably one of the things I will always remember is the dedication I needed to have at 15 years old to play hockey.
We asked Brendan what advice he has for young kids in Las Vegas who are now catching on to hockey now.
“I would say that, if you’re young, I don’t think that you should go 100% into hockey, that you should try other things. Other sports are going to compliment hockey as well. I don’t think a kid should play one sport when he’s young. I think a kid should play more sports because, you know, if you play baseball, if you play soccer, all of those things are going to compliment hockey. If hockey is your favorite thing, that’s fine. But as you get older you can start to fade away from your other sports and take hockey a little more seriously. But you have so much time, and, you know, when you’re that young, it doesn’t really matter. Everybody, you know, hits a growth spurt at a different age, and that’s the best thing you can do is stay active when you are young. It’s just going to make you a better hockey player, in 5 or 10 years.
“I don’t think training and lifting weights at 10 or 12 years old is going to be beneficial when you’re 20. I think that everybody should just be active, be a kid. Don’t take it so seriously. You don’t have to live the life of an NHL kid when you’re 10 years old. There’s no point in that, it’s not going to make you any better. It’s just really demanding, and I don’t think that kids realize that when they’re that young, and the same with parents. It can be a lot, and it just catches up to you so quick. So, just, there’s so much time for hockey, and you’re going to be playing it for so long. When you’re young, those are the things that you’re going to enjoy the most, so just go with your friends and school, just playing baseball, playing soccer… You want to have three sports in the year. That’s the goal, to be active year-round. That will make you a better hockey player.”
As for his Brendan’s long-term plans, “In 5 years, I will hopefully be graduated from UNLV, but I think I’m going to try to play a year or two, or maybe more than that, in Europe. I’m not sure where. I just know that I’ve always kind of wanted to see something different and play in an area I’ve never seen before. I think playing in Europe is always something that I’ve wanted to do because it’s something different.
“I’ve never even been to Europe, so I feel like my first time to go play hockey there would be special. I also know that hockey in Europe is a little bit different of a style of game. There’s nothing for sure yet. I’m just trying to kind of go with the flow, and I’m going to try to enjoy UNLV while I’m here, and then whatever happens, happens after that.”
Manning is an International Business major and thinks the idea of commercial real estate is a possibility for a career outside of hockey.
For now, The Rebels are focused on bringing home a division 1 ACHA title to Las Vegas. Follow Brendan’s team the Rebels as they make their way to Frisco, Texas and fight it out March 19-24 for a National title.
Saturday, February 29, 2020 – The Anthony Greener-coached UNLV Rebels went 3-for-3 in Colorado including a 5-4 win over Colorado University on Saturday night in Boulder, Colorado. The Rebels will now return home and gear up for the upcoming ACHA D1 20-team US Nationals. – Lee
UNLV REBELS 5
COLORADO UNIVERSITY 4
UNLV goal – Paxton Malone from Jayson Dimizio
UNLV goal – Kirk Underwood from Jake Saxe
UNLV goal – Kirk Underwood from Jake Saxe, Orion Linnehan
UNLV goal – Paxton Malone from Jared Turcotte, Liam Gentile
UNLV goal – Eric Williams – long blast – powerplay goal
UNLV goalie – David Anderson
Colorado goalie – Grant Payne – his final game as a great graduating CU goalie
With the 5-4 win over Colorado the Rebels are now 22-13-1 this season – ACHA D1 Ranked #13
1st Period Notebook….
Only one senior in CU lineup tonight
Muzzillo wide left with a shot for Rebels
Muzzillo crashes net, shoots – shot is blocked
48 fans on the stream right now
CU’s David Mitchell blasts down the ice, fires on Anderson – no goal
McIntosh scores for CU
Paxton Malone scores for UNLV
Scrap, not a great one, on the ice
End of 1st Period – Game is tied 1-1
Zamboni issue – we’re in a delay….one Zamboni broke down, the second Zamboni needed water in its tank….however it is back onto the ice…..players are back onto the ice….
50 fans on the stream right now……
CU long blast goes in – Colorado takes 2-1 lead…..
Getting physical on the ice…
UNLV leads 4-2 near end of second period…
CU broadcaster Chase Howell calling the game tonight
FRIDAY FEB 28 FINAL SCORE
UNLV Rebels (21-13-1) 8
Colorado University 2
Colorado goalie – Grant Payne
UNLV goalie – David Anderson
Shots on Goal – UNLV 33-25
UNLV goal – David Lenzin from Adam Nishino and Daniel Fisher
UNLV goal – Eric Williams from Paxton Malone and Jared Erickson
UNLV goal – Paxton Malone 20th from Bas Assaf
UNLV goal – Orion Linnehan from Sean Plonski, Kirk Underwood
UNLV goal – Daniel Fisher from Hunter Muzzillo, David Lenzin
UNLV goal – Jared Turcotte
UNLV goal – Jake Saxe – late-game powerplay goal from right side – from Jake Berry
UNLV goal – Jared Turcotte – his 2nd goal this game
Anderson stops breakaway shot in 3rd period
CU puts together a hard skating late-game attack run at Anderson
UNLV on powerplay with 4:40 left in the game
That is it – game is over…
CU had no broadcasters calling this game – we only saw the video
UNLV is down to its final regular-season game here Saturday night
Friday, Feb 28, 2020
Boulder, Colorado – This is it – the final two games of the regular season for the Anthony Greener-coached UNLV Rebels who take on ACHA D1 Colorado. The games will be at the Williams Village Recreational Center. Both of the games – Friday, Saturday nights – will begin 6 pm local time. After these games the field of 20 teams will be announced for the ACHA D1 Nationals.
Escondido, Ca. – The WSHL Las Vegas Thunderbirds will open a weekend series of games tonight on the road vs the San Diego Sabers here at the famous Iceoplex. Faceoff, 7:45 pm.