By: Steven Marsh/ UNLV Hockey Reporter
The 14th ranked UNLV Skatin’ Rebels (10-7-1) finally return home to City National Arena after playing the last seven games away from Las Vegas with the hopes to defend their home ice, ending a seven game winless skid in the process.
They will be taking on 21st ranked Stony Brook University (10-6), who is coming into Las Vegas riding a three game wining streak, most recently beating NYU in a home-and-home series.
Last Time Out: UNLV is coming off a pair of tough losses to 5th ranked University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona November 21st and 23rd. The losses capped off a rough month for the Rebels as the team went winless in the month of November; seven straight losses overall. The last win was back on October 19th at CNA vs. Midland.
Recent History With The Sea Wolves:
These two teams played each other last season in New York to finish the regular season, with Stony Brook coming away with a sweep against the Rebels, scoring six goals in both games of the series. Forward Keith O’Brien scored a hat trick for the Sea Wolves in the second matchup last season. The Junior has seven points so far this season. Leading scorer this season for Stony Brook Dustin Rinaldo (23 PTS: 11G, 12 A) also recorded two goals in last season’s series with UNLV.
Who To Watch For:
In addition to O’Brien and Rinaldo, UNLV will need to limit the play and space of Junior forward Joseph Slevin as well as Freshmen Michael Conlin and Brendan Pepe. Slevin comes in with 19 points to his credit (5G, 14A). He also recorded a goal against UNLV in last season’s series in New York. Conlin and Pepe both have 14 points. Overall, Stony Brook has six players with double digits points.
Keys to a UNLV Victory:
- 1. Defend Home Ice: As much as UNLV has struggled on the road this season (2-7-1), they have been dominant on home ice, where they have not lost a game so far this season (8-0-0). Important to feed off the great Rebels home crowd. Important to note also that 13 of the 18 remaining games on the schedule are at home.
- 2. Pressure the Goalie: Something UNLV has done well this season is getting a high volume of shots on goal. If they can continue that trend that could really benefit them in this series. Two of the three goaltenders for Stony Brook have goals against averages over 3.00 and save percentages under 90 percent. Richard Shipman has seen the bulk of the action (11 games) and has an 8-3-0 record, but does have 3.59 goals against average, with .898 save percentage.
- 3. Stay out of the Penalty Box: During this winless stretch, the Rebels allowed untimely power play goals that would result in the opposition tying the game or giving them the lead. It goes without saying that staying out of the box will go a long way in their pursuit to win these games.
Puck drop for both games at City National Arena is 7pm. Tickets are still available at rebelhockey.com/tix as well as in person at the door on game night.
UNLV will be hosting their annual Toy Drive. All attendees that bring a toy will receive $5.00 off their ticket at the door, both nights. Toys will be donated to Chet Buchanan’s annual KLUC Toy Drive.
UNLV will be wearing special holiday jerseys both nights and will be available for purchase at the game.
If you aren’t one of the lucky ones that can join us in person for this weekend’s games, follow along with UNLV Rebel Hockey on social media for updates throughout the games. Live stream of the games will also be available on our YouTube channel.