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Sweep of Barracudas Caps off Successful Ice Raiders' Third Season

By Phillip Goodman

April 8, 2024

Donning white Renegades jerseys presented Key Acura of Reno, the Reno Ice Raiders gave both sold out crowds at The Jennifer M. O’Neal Community Ice Arena plenty to roar and cheer about in the final games of the '23-'24 campaign. 

On Friday night, Reno fought off the Mansfield Barracudas with a 4-2 win led by Matt Robinson's two goals and Justis Gyori's 21-save effort. On Saturday, the Ice Raiders left it all on the ice in an 11-4 rout led by Bobby Watson's six points and Tony Tyrell's hat trick. 

To open the series, Mansfield struck first but their lead would be short lived. The Barracudas flubbed a pass at the Ice Raiders' blue line and Matt Robinson buried his breakaway chance, tying the score 1-1.

The tie held through half of the second period until Mansfield tried to break the puck out of their zone. Jake Minton got a boot on the Barracuda's outlet pass and the puck deflected to a wide open Robinson all alone in the slot for the 2-1 Reno lead. It is the second time this season Minty Fresh has earned the Sierra Sid’s Casino Assist of the Weekend by kicking the puck to an open teammate.

Moments later, Bobby Watson tucked home a Brewer's Cabinet Power Play making it 3-1 Reno.

With two minutes left in the second, Alex Gunnoe put back Hunter Sine's rebound, giving Reno a 4-1 cushion. 

Barracudas added one late to trim the deficit to 4-2 .Mansfield nearly cut the deficit to one with six to play but Gyori made the Lone Wolf's Chop Rodz Save of the Night to preserve the two-goal win.

The final score could have been far more titled for Reno had Barracuda's goalie and club owner Josh Messick not stood on his head all night. Reno bombarded Messick with 52 shots on net plus a dozen more that were blocked by the Barracuda defenders.

For the first game in a while, the Ice Raiders were out-drawn, losing the circles by a 34-28 edge. Reno finished 1-for-2 on the Brewer's Cabinet Power Play and successfully killed both Peterson Wealth Management Penalty Kills.

Saturday's contest was never in doubt for the Renegades. Bobby Watson opened the scoring during 4-on-4 play barely two minutes in. Six minutes later,  good defense led to offense and Tony Tyrell finished with a slick wrister making it 2-0 Renegades.

Barracudas broke Gyori's early shutout bid but Nathan Hogge responded quickly for Reno pushing the lead back to 3-1. Less than a minute after Hogge's tally, Bobby Watson knifed through two defenders for what is easily a candidate for the goal of the year.

The 4-1 lead carried through to the second period until Jeff Jiron got into the scoring action with a Brewer's Cabinet Power Play goal making it 5-1 Reno. Jiron's goal would eventually be credited for the game-winning goal.

The Ice Raiders' offensive onslaught continued through the rest of the game:

Reno poured 58 shots on net, 23 on Nicky Wydock who gave way to Messick after the seventh goal. Messick faced 35 of those 58 in less than 30 minutes of play, allowing four more for the 11-4 final.

The Renegades' special teams came up big again, going 1-for-3 on the Brewer's Cabinet Power Play, successfully killing both Peterson Wealth Management Penalty Kills, and depositing two shorthanded goals. Reno also reclaimed their faceoff crown winning 57.0% of the draws led by Julian Herrera (68.4%) and Bobby Watson (62.5%)

After the final handshakes and hugs, the Renegades in a classy gesture made one last victory lap around Reno Ice to acknowledge the fans that made Reno Ice a thunderous, exciting environment to play hockey. Reno finished the season 17-9-2 overall and won 17 of 20 home games, all played before standing room only crowds.

"We are dominant at home because of our tremendous fan base," said Captain Andrew Peterson about Reno's home record. "I think Reno Ice is a really tough place to play for opposing teams to be honest. Teams are kind of scared and nervous to play here."

As for the 0-8 road record, the Ice Raiders also entered hostile environments in Sun Valley, New York (FDNY), and McCall plus questionable officiating and fan conduct in Breckenridge. Peterson added, "​​We had a difficult road schedule and played very good teams who are always stacked at home. Disappointed for sure in the road win-loss record but what can ya do?"

Coach Tookey later reflected on the wild ride it has been for him since coming to Reno and finishing his first season behind the bench. 

"I came here as facilities manager and zamboni driver," said Tookey. "Then I started coaching with the Reno Hockey Academy that Mike Harder set up with the kids, the adult programs, and then coaching travel hockey. When Mike left [for Colgate NCAA D1] the opportunity came to coach the big guys. It's been a terrific, wonderful season. The guys are great, the fans are super. It's super exciting that I've got my friend [James Tebbe] as an assistant coach with me. Tebbers is a great calming guy to have on the bench with us. We're both having a blast." 

Tookey's experience playing in the NHL and AHL combined with his proven success and camaraderie with the Ice Raiders that run the Battle Born Hockey School make him a natural addition to the Reno camps.

"Now it's going into where I get to teach hockey camps with these gentlemen and I look forward to it," added Tookey. "The way we're playing hockey right now everybody wants to be taught by these guys. They've got a lot of experience and value things they can teach. And I'm just happy to be with them."

Tickets are still available for the The Third Annual U.S.Eh! Classic, USA VS CANADA on Friday April 12 and Saturday April 13. Tickets for the Classics Cup are only $10, and all proceeds will benefit the JUSTin HOPE Foundation

On behalf of the Ice Raiders' players, staff, and management, THANK YOU to all the fans and sponsors that made season three an overwhelming success. We hope to see you all back in October. Until then, please try to support those that supported us all season long. 

Intermission interviews and Phillip's wardrobe are brought to you by The Nest Reno. Between now and April 13th, Ice Raiders fans can take 15% off their entire purchase (excluding sale/clearance items) when you mention the Ice Raiders at checkout.

Friday's LT Automotive Three Stars of the Game

  1. Matt Robinson - 2G, 1 Block, 9 Shots, +2

  2. Hunter Sine - 2A, 2 Shots, +1

  3. Morgan Ellis - 3 Shots, +1, Strong physical game

Saturday's LT Automotive Three Stars of the Game

  1. Bobby Watson - 2G, 4A, 7 Shots, +4

  2. Tony Tyrell - 3G, 2PIM, 2 Blocks, 5 Shots, +4

  3. Ellis O'Dowd - 1G (first career Ice Raiders' goal)

Friday, 4.5.24 - Game 19: Reno Ice Raiders vs. Mansfield Barracudas Highlights:

Saturday, 4.6.24 - Game 20: Reno Ice Raiders vs. Mansfield Barracudas Highlights:


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