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Ice Raiders Reign Over Kings in Weekend Rout

By Phillip Goodman

March 18, 2024

The Reno Ice Raiders continued their home dominance by soundly defeating the Sin City Kings 13-0 on Friday and 10-4 on Saturday at The Jennifer M. O’Neal Community Ice Arena. Reno improved to 13-3 at home including a perfect 4-0 against Sin City for the season. 

The weekend series presented by BJ's Nevada Barbecue Company was as festive as ever with the standing-room only mob of fans donning special St. Patrick's Day Ice Raiders' gear and varied kelly-green outfits.

On Friday, one of Coach Tim Tookey's Key Acura of Reno Three Keys to the Game was to get a quick jump on the Kings. Jesse Woinicki got the Ice Raiders' engine started with the first goal of the night a mere 43 seconds into the game. Woinicki's top-shelf one-timer would stand as the game winning goal with still 59 minutes to play and a dozen more goals coming.

Andrew Peterson potted his first goal of the night two minutes later, a sharp-angle wrister that bounced out of the net as quickly as it went in.

Matt Robinson in his third game back from injured reserve got his second point of the period when a Jon Sobieski shot rebounded right to Robinson's stick with Bullock scrambling outside the crease.

Late in the first, Jake Minton fired a low shot that Bullock saved but did not have totally covered. Johnny Garrity saw the puck between the pads and punched it over the line for the 4-0 lead.

The Ice Raiders added three more goals in the second period all at even strength:

Sin City's best scoring chance came on a power play late in the second period. Justin Sand made this Lone Wolf's Chop Rodz Save of the Weekend robbing a King with the glove to keep the shutout going.

From there, it continued to be all Reno all night:

Justin Sand stopped all 30 shots for technically his third shutout of the season. Back in November, Sand and Justis Gyori combined to shutout the Park City Pioneers, Sand started the first 40 minutes in those contests and Gyori locked down the final 20.

The Ice Raiders put 24 shots on Bullock and six on Jordan. Reno only took four penalties all night and was a perfect 3-for-3 on the Peterson Wealth Management Penalty Kill but was 0-for-2 on their Brewer's Cabinet Power Plays. Seventeen of the 19 Ice Raiders contributed at least one point, led by Peterson's four, Woinicki's four (1G, 3A), and Sine's four (2G, 2A).

"I think we were pretty ready," said Captain Andrew Peterson of Reno's explosive start to the game. "Everyone was fired up to get going. Vegas has a pretty good team and they're a newer club. We appreciate them coming up to play."

Coach Tookey called for the same three keys to Saturday's game - quick start, support, and composure - and for the most part got that. 

Matt Robinson's one-timer from Jesse Woinicki broke the ice less than three minutes in. The next ten minutes of play was a seesaw battle with neither team yielding ground. Hanging on to the 1-0 lead, Justis Gyori made the Lone Wolf's Chop Rodz Save of the Night stopping a 2-on-1 chance.

Sin City's William McDonnel snuck a shot from the wall by Gyori to tie the score with under eight minutes left in the first. The 1-1 tie would hold through early in the second until Hunter Sine carried the puck to the high slot and rifled a wrister five-hole for the 2-1 lead.

Just 71 seconds later, Pavel Pustovoy pushed the lead to 3-1 with a nifty skate-to-stick move and finished with the backhander over Bullock.

Zoran Saavedra brought the Kings to within a goal halfway through the period but that was as close as Sin City would get. Only 18 seconds after the ensuing faceoff, Pavel Pustovoy found Simon LeBleu going hard to the net with his stick ready to redirect the puck past Bullock for the 4-2 lead.

Before the end of the second, elementary school buddies Johnny Garrity and Jake Minton set each other up for goals. Minton made a nifty kick-pass to spring Garrity on the left wing and Garrity's wrister beat Bullock. Minty's intentional boot won the and the Sierra Sid’s Casino Assist of the Weekend. Five minutes later, Garrity returned the favor finding Minton wide open between the Kings' defense and Minty Fresh sent Reno the locker room up 6-2.

The other Saavedra brother Aziz tried to mount a comeback with an early third period goal but for the third consecutive time the Ice Raiders answered on the very next shift. Adam Barba's drive from the right point was kicked right to Matt Robinson and Robinson had a wide open net for the rebound and 7-3 lead.

Good defense leads to good offense as demonstrated by Jake Minton's Kelly Brothers Painting Hit of the Night in open ice to restart an Ice Raiders' attack. Garrity collected a Jeff Jiron rebound and swept a backhander in for the 8-3 lead.

Garrity's hat trick goal came right after a face off and centering pass from Matt Robinson for the 9-4 lead. Simon LeBleu put the last nail in with under a minute to go for the 10-4 final.

Zeph Fagergren designed the Ice Raider's holiday logo then collectively with Adam Barba and Simon Le Bleu finished the jersey design with gold trim and white borders.

"Everyone in the locker room was pretty jazzed to wear the new unis," said Andrew Peterson after Friday's win. "It worked out good."

Both teams were only 2-for-2 on penalty kills in a moderately tempered game compared to previous bouts. Reno bombarded the Kings with 68 shots on net to the Kings' modest 24. The Kings also had no answer to Johnny Garrity in the faceoff circle as Garrity won 18 of his 22 draws and Reno won 63.6% of faceoffs on the night.

The Ice Raiders have next weekend off and will return to action March 29th and 30th against the McCall Mountaineers presented by Nevada Retina Associates. This series will count as the first round of playoffs for the revamped Mountain Hockey League. Per the MHL site, there will be a four-team playoff and Reno sits as the no. 2 seed to McCall's no. 3 seed. 

"Since McCall won the first two games of the season, Reno will have to win both games against McCall in two weekends," said Ice Raiders' General Manager Jess Peterson. "If we can pull that off, then we'll play a 20-minute fourth period like an overtime to see who advances."

Before that, make sure to join the Ice Raiders for an Eat & Greet at Taste of Chicago on Thursday March 29 from 6pm to 8pm.  Taste of Chicago on 294 E Moana Ln #1, Reno, NV 89502 will be offering food and drink specials for Ice Raiders fans. If you want an authentic Chicago Deep Dish pizza, call in your order at least one-hour ahead.

Friday's LT Automotive Three Stars of the Game

  1. Andrew Peterson - 3G, 1A, 4pts

  2. Justin Sand - 0GA, 30 Saves

  3. Hunter Sine - 2G, 2A 4pts

Saturday's LT Automotive Three Stars of the Game

  1. Johnny Garrity  - 3G, 1A, 4pts

  2. Matt Robinson - 2G, 1A, 3pts

  3. Simon LeBleu - 2G

Friday, 3.15.24 - Game 15: Reno Ice Raiders vs. Sin City Kings Highlights:

Saturday, 3.16.24 - Game 16: Reno Ice Raiders vs. Sin City Kings Highlights:


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