Utah Falls to Rebels, 11-6, in Tough Road Test

LAS VEGAS - The University of Utah took on the UNLV Rebels on Saturday in Las Vegas and lost 11-6. The game was tied at halftime but UNLV proved to be too much to handle for the Utes.

"I think the effort was certainly there," said Utah Head Coach Rick Kladis. "We are going to play teams who are deeper, more skilled, more mature, etc, but the effort is something we have been focusing on and it was there today."

The Rebels won the first face-off and were able to take a long possession and scored which was the only goal in the first quarter. The Utes had several attempts in their offensive end, but were unable to capitalize. The Rebels scored early in the second quarter but Utah answered right back when Nash Cantrell (Boise, ID/Timberline HS) caught the ball one handed behind the crease and scored on a wrap around diving shot.

UNLV would score midway through the second quarter and Utah again answered back with a goal by Sean Sloan (Salt Lake City/Judge Memorial HS) who caught an errant pass on the crease, caching the goalie off-guard. Sloan then spun and shot for his first collegiate goal. Utan then scored with 21 seconds left in the half when Cody Cantrell (Boise, ID/Timberline HS) received a pass while cutting down the alley and quick sticking it past the UNLV goalie to tie the game at 3 at the break.

The Utes took their only lead of the game in the third quarter when there was a scramble to endline off a shot that was kept in bounds. The Utes were able to control the scrum and found Sloan wide open on the crease with no goalie in the cage for an easy goal. A four goal run by the Rebels put the game at 7-4 at the end of the third quarter.

UNLV scored the first goal of the fourth quarter to take a 8-4 lead. Nash Cantrell scored off a roll dodge in the alley to make the score 8-5 for UNLV. The Rebels then scored two more goals before Sloan finished his hat-trick. The Rebels would tack on one more goal for a 11-6 win.

Utah Goalie Jeff Neilsen (Tustin, CA/Beckman HS) had 20 saves. The Utah face-off squad won 12 of 19 face-offs.

"It feels nice to finally open it up," said Sloan. "Hopefully the floodgates are open and it will continue."

The Utes will begin a tough, five game in eight days swing this Sunday as they head to Boise to take on Boise State (3/9). The Utes will then head to Oregon to face No. 8 Oregon (3/11), No. 19 Oregon State (3/12) and No. 17 Simon Fraser (3/14). The Utes will then return home to take on No. 23 Arizona (3/17).


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