UNLV Hockey skates to national tournament, attributes boost from - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

UNLV Hockey skates to national tournament, attributes boost from Golden Knights

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LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

The Vegas Golden Knights aren’t the only hockey team in town making history these days. This past weekend the 'Skatin’ Rebels' won the ACHA Division 2 Regional Championship, a first in program history.

"Our day-one goal is to win a national championship. We put together a good team and I think we can make a run at it," UNLV hockey head coach, Anthony Vignieri Greener said.

"We had nationals on our bucket list and now we're going to go check it off,” sophomore forward Dion Antisin said.

The 'Skatin' Rebels'' 30-win season is also a program-best and the team now sits just five wins away from national title. The coaches said this is the most talented hockey team UNLV has ever seen and the most motivated. It's a quality they attribute to the arrival of the NHL’s newest expansion team.

"The Vegas Knights are not only helping the team, but the community, the kids see that,” Greener said.

"They're already starting to feel that there are more eyes on hockey and they're the product," UNLV hockey general manager, Zee Khan said.

"Yeah it adds motivation to us too. We get the bigger crowds. We always want to perform in front of them, never want to disappoint. We always want to win," Antisin said.

UNLV hockey has called the Las Vegas Ice Center home for the past 11 years, but this time next year, the 'Skatin' Rebels' will be stepping out and stepping up to a brand-new NHL practice facility.

"From a player development standpoint, these kids have such a great chance to grow as individuals because they're going to be sharing a room with them next season," Khan said.

The future looks golden, but the team said the focus now is about bringing home the gold.

"Everyone is thriving on it now it's not just the Rebels, but the Golden Knights. We're kind of joining as one and all the fans are liking it," Greener said.

"To know you're building something that is going to last a long time, it's awesome to think about,” Antisin said. “We know we have that going on right now, so we're really excited, but we just want to make it the best it can be these next few weeks. We just have to go work for it now."

The 'Skatin’ Rebels' fly out to Columbus, Ohio on Tuesday, Mar. 14. They are scheduled to play their first game the following day against Grand Valley State.

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