UNLV Skating Rebels reach Final Four of ACHA Tournament
The UNLV Skating Rebels rebounded from a COVID-cancelled campaign last year to post their best season, finishing 26-4-1 and reaching the Final Four of the 2022 American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) National Tournament in St. Louis in March. .
After the pandemic disrupted play last season, head coach Anthony Vignieri-Greener thought he had set tough preseason goals for the men’s hockey club, now in its 17th year.
“At the start of the year, we thought we could make some noise and put on the ACHA tournament and challenge some nationally respected programs,” the coach said.
But it turns out the Skating Rebels had higher ambitions.
After a sluggish start to the season, the team scored 16 wins in a row, a club record. The winning streak included capturing the Chicago Classic Tournament Championship in November against three ACHA-ranked teams.
“Winning three games on the road against three big competitors, that really put us on the map. It may be cliché, but it’s the closest locker room I’ve seen in my time with the program,” said Vignieri-Greener, who played on the left wing for UNLV from 2006. to 2010.
Team camaraderie translated into momentum at the ACHA Tournament, where victories over Liberty University and the University of Pittsburgh led the Rebels to their first-ever Final Four berth.
As the team’s season ended in the semi-finals of the tournament, Vignieri-Greener attributes its success to the dedication of its players.
“(Assistant) Coach Nick Robone and I have been here for about seven years now and we’ve worked hard to build a student-athlete culture that’s more than just working hard on the ice. It involves hard work in the classroom and in the community.
Vignieri-Greener won’t let his team rest on a strong 2021-22 campaign. He’s already challenging the schedule by scheduling games against tougher opponents next season, including matchups with three NCAA Division 1 schools.
“We have full team buy-in and our fan base is growing,” the coach said. “Our student-athletes are welcomed by the UNLV community on campus and we are seeing more and more faculty and staff showing up to our home games at City National Arena.”
The 2022-23 season begins this fall for the Skating Rebels, who play their home games at the City National Arena in Summerlin. UNLV competes in Division 1 of the American Collegiate Hockey Association, which consists of nearly 400 non-college collegiate club teams nationwide in three divisions.
Learn more at RebelHockey.com.