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Home Sweet Home for Ice Raiders in Sweep of Vipers

By Phillip Goodman

February 26, 2024

Is it the home cooking? The cozy, familiar beds? The energetic support of eight hundred roaring fans?

Perhaps it's the combo of all the above and more as the Reno Ice Raiders improved to 11-1 at home with the weekend sweep of the Breckenridge Vipers. Justin Sand locked down Friday's 3-2 win and Justis Gyori made enormous saves at key moments in Saturday's match to secure the 5-2 win in the games presented by a TNT Yard Service at The Jennifer M. O’Neal Community Ice Arena.

On Friday, Breckenridge struck first with a power play goal 4:26 into the game. Three minutes after that, Jake Minton punched home a Mickey Lang rebound on the Brewer's Cabinet Power Play tying the score 1-1. Lang and Andrew Peterson had the assists on the goal.

Late in the first, Ice Raiders' defenseman Alex Gunnoe rifled a wrister over Viper tender JR Engelbert sending Reno to break with a 2-1 lead. Hunter Sine and Simon Le Bleu were credited with the helpers on the cycle.

Neither team yielded any ground through most of the second period. The Vipers put the pressure on Reno with a couple of power plays but Reno held firm. Four minutes in, Justin Sand made the Lone Wolf's Chop Rodz save of the night on a Peterson Wealth Management Penalty Kill to preserve the one-goal lead.

Late in the second, the Vipers blocked a Reno shot in the high slot and the puck caromed out to the neutral zone giving the Vipers a 2-on-1 break. Michael Houlihan's wrister snuck under Sand for the game tying goal at 2-2.

With under two minutes to go in the second frame, Andrew Peterson's long outlet pass sprung Pavel Pustovoy and Roger Hutchison for a Reno 2-on-1. Pustovoy put on the brakes to dust a viper in the slot and teed up Hutchison for a one-timer that was saved by Engelbert. The rebound came right back to Hutchison's stick and he wasted no time burying what would stand as the game-winning goal.

The Ice Raiders held Breckenridge to only seven shots in the final period and none in the final 80 seconds with Engelbert pulled for the extra attacker. Sand made 22 saves on the night for the Ice Raiders' seventh straight win at home. Reno went 1-for-3 on the Brewer's Cabinet Power Play, 4-for-5 on Peterson Wealth Management Penalty Kills.

Saturday's tilt was another back-and-forth bout with teams trading goals. Jeff Jiron opened the scoring four minutes in. Jiron took a handoff from Pavel Pustovoy, carried the puck untouched to the crease, and roofed it over Engelbert for the 1-0 lead.

The Vipers answered three minutes later, punching in a rebound right after the Ice Raiders had completed a successful Peterson Wealth Management Penalty Kill.

With under four minutes left in the first, the Ice Raiders worked the puck around to Peterson at the point who found Gunnoe in the high slot. Gunnoe's wrister beat Engelbert high glove for the 2-1 lead.

Eight minutes into the second, Breckenridge tied the game 2-2 with an even strength goal that trickled through the arm of Gyori off a one-timer.

Then the third period belonged to Mickey Lang. 

Reno opened the third with a carryover Brewer's Cabinet Power Play from the second. Watson slid the puck through the goalmouth to find Lang open for the backdoor goal and 3-2 lead. Hunter Sine had the secondary helper. Watson's pass was the Sierra Sid’s Casino Assist of the Weekend.

Gyori made a crucial save halfway through the third to preserve Reno's 3-2 lead. Michael Houlihan stole the puck from Reno and had a shorthanded breakaway from the centerline in. Gyori came to the top of his crease and challenged the shooter to make the Lone Wolf's Chop Rodz Save of the Weekend.

With four minutes left, Mickey Lang found Jeff Jiron cutting into the slot from the point and set up a perfect one-time tee that Jiron buried for 4-2 breathing room.

Vipers pulled the goalie with 80 seconds left and Lang capped off his four-point night (2G, 2A) with the empty netter.

Reno outshot Breckenridge 30-26 and Reno killed all three PWM PK's. 

The Ice Raiders are back at it next weekend when the Sun Valley Suns from Idaho make their first ever visit to Reno Ice. Tickets for the series on March 1st and 2nd presented by Peterson Wealth Management are on sale now. For this series, we're excited to partner with Cancer Community Clubhouse (CCC) with limited edition jerseys sponsored by Hard Times Muy Thai (previously known as Reno City Kickboxing).

CCC serves members throughout rural & Northern Nevada and aims to create a space of connection for cancer patients and survivors of all ages and their loved ones through free community-based and volunteer-supported services in Northern Nevada.

Friday's LT Automotive Three Stars of the Game

  1. Andrew Peterson, two assists and incredible defense

  2. Roger Hutchison, Game Winning Goal

  3. Justin Sand, 22 saves

Saturday's LT Automotive Three Stars of the Game

  1. Mickey Lang (2G, 2A)

  2. Jeff Jiron (2G)

  3. Alex Gunnoe (1G)

Friday, 2.23.24 - Game 11: Reno Ice Raiders vs. Breckenridge Vipers Highlights:

Saturday, 2.24.24 - Game 12: Reno Ice Raiders vs. Breckenridge Vipers Highlights:


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