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UNLV on track for strong run in second half of first ACHA D-I season

 

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For UNLV, making the move this season to the ACHA Division I ranks has meant increased competition and increased preparation.

The Rebels have not missed a beat in adjusting nicely to new opponents and new road rinks.

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“I like that we’re progressing up,” said UNLV head coach Anthony Vignieri-Greener. “We’re continuing to get better every day and we’re moving in the right direction. Guys are stepping up at the right times and new guys are stepping right in. Things are definitely trending in the right way and we’re just keeping our focus on getting better every day.”

Vignieri-Greener said that the chemistry between new players and returning players is “getting there, a work in progress.”

“Last year was a little bumpy in the beginning and the same can be said for this year,” said Vignieri-Greener. “Our program is unique in making the jump (to ACHA D-I) and we had to bring in 19 new faces this year. It’s kind of unusual to have that many freshmen walk through the door and have them outnumber the upperclassmen. We have zero seniors on our team and just three juniors, so kind of in a weird spot, but we’re gelling together, both on and off the ice.”

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Forward Joe Kaszupski is a player that Vignieri-Greener calls “the best player I have ever coached.”

“How he works on the ice, off the ice, in school – the kid is just phenomenal,” Vignieri-Greener added. “I’ve only had him here three months, but I’ve known him a long time. If I would have known what he could bring to our team, I would have begged him to come sooner.”

Adding to the team’s depth, all four goalies – Ben Giesbrecht, Alex Feese, Erik Eidissen and Mike McDaniel – have at least one win this year.

Overall, the Rebels don’t talk about the Oct. 1 shooting that seriously injured assistant coach Nick Robone, but Vignieri-Greener said that Robone “is back to normal, can’t skate yet, but he’s doing everything he should be doing.”

Photos/Jerry Gallegos

— Matt Mackinder

(Dec. 27, 2017)