Utah bounces back, beats UNLV 4-1
October 6th, 2018
Salt Lake City, UT
Utah returned to the rink on Saturday night with confidence and beat #12 UNLV with a score of 4-1.
UNLV controlled the offensive game early, but Utah managed to keep it a scoreless first period with strong d-zone play and a 6-4 lead on the shot chart.
This season Utah been successful by putting numbers on the scoreboard first. The second period illustrated this once again. Rookie Forward Wyatt Light started the scoring at 13:33 of the first period with assists from Brett Myer and Joseph DiBenedetto. DiBenedetto followed up with a tipped powerplay goal with assists from Brett Myer and Tristen Leberknight to give Utah a 2-0 lead. UNLV answered with a power play goal at 5:19 of the second to pull the Rebels within one.
Utah’s Light responded in kind, and wowed the crowd minutes later when he picked the pocket of UNLV’s breakout. He immediately turned around and placed the puck top shelf behind the UNLV goaltender’s left shoulder at 3:48 of the period. Utah led on the shot chart 21-15 after the second.
Rookie Owen Leberknight also scored his first goal as a Ute an empty-netter in 1:19 of the final frame. Both Leberknight and DiBenedetto scored their first goals as Utes. Speaking about his goal, Dibenedetto said, “It felt good. It was a really frustrating week last week, but it was good to go in there tonight.”
Both goalies from Friday, Patrick Kasper and UNLV’s Jesse Gordichuk, played in Saturday’s rematch. Kasper made 28 saves for Utah and Gordichuk 24 for the Rebels. Kasper had a good relationship with his glove that was apparent from the multiple highlight-reel saves for the night.
Key Players for Utah’s Win:
First, rookie Wyatt Light had multiple breakaways, one of which lead up to a goal. Another was the puck theft from UNLV’s breakout. Light’s speed was a problem for UNLV and one they could not solve. Second, Joseph Dibenidetto scored his first goal as a Ute and made plenty of crucial defensive plays for Utah. Third, Patrick Kasper continued to keep pucks out of the net and helped Utah earn their third win of the season.
This was a big win for Utah. UNLV was ranked #12 in the league and this showed that Utah is able to compete at that level. Rookie Owen Leberknight mentioned, “I think we picked up the confidence levels from last night.”
Utah is now 3-1 and will hit the road for the first road trip of the season. They have one game versus Jamestown on Thursday, and a double header against Minot State on Friday and Saturday.