Updated: Dec 28, 2022
By Phillip Goodman
Reno Ice Raider Nick Anderson led all scorers with an 11-point weekend en route to 13-4 and 8-1 wins for the Ice Raiders over a revamped Breckenridge Vipers squad. The line of Anderson, Mickey Lang, and Paul Frys combined for 16 of the 21 Reno goals, giving Ice Raider netminder Justin Sand all the support he needed for both wins.
Friday was game one of the Vipers’ season while Reno entered 2-3-1 after splitting games in McCall, Idaho before Thanksgiving. It took half a period of the teams feeling each other out until Matt Robinson broke open the scoring for Reno by slamming home an Andrew Peterson rebound for the 1-0 lead. Kevin Sundee, Reno Ice Arena’s General Manager and now Ice Raider walkon, earned an assist.
From there Reno unleashed their fury of goals on Breckenridge goalie Tom Brown, who according to Vipers’ coach Rich Batenburg, opted to stay in the game and take the drubbing. Reno led 4-0 after 20 minutes on goals by Nick Anderson, Ramzy Anderson, and Lang. The Ice Raiders kept the momentum rolling by scoring 20 seconds then 5:33 into the second, both goals by Paul Frys. Nick Anderson scored the next two, then Robinson and Dana Navratil padded the Ice Raiders’ lead to 10-2 going into the second intermission.
Nick Anderson’s fourth goal came early in the third at even strength. Jeff Jiron’s wrister from the right point made its way through a maze of bodies for a 12-4 lead. Mickey Lang made it a baker’s dozen to cap the 13-4 Friday victory for Reno. Sand stopped 28 of 32 shots on Friday including the Lone Wolf’s Chop Rodz save of the night, thwarting Garret Bailey’s shorthanded breakaway chance in the second period keeping the Vipers at bay.
Breckenridge seemed to have Reno contained for the first period on Saturday until a too-many-men penalty led to an Ice Raiders’ Brewer’s Cabinet Power play. On the ensuing faceoff, Frys dangled the puck off the dot and backhanded a pass to an open Nick Anderson for the easy tap in.
One minute later, Roger Hutchinson delivered the Marked Studios hit of the weekend and possibly the best highlight sequence of the season. From his defensive end, Mickey Lang cleared the puck to center ice directly onto the stick of a Viper defenseman who then looked down to play the puck. Hutchison absolutely steamrolled through the Viper player leaving the puck at center ice for Lang to scoop up. Lang fired a laser from the right circle that beat Brown for the 2-0 lead.
Less than five minutes into the second with a Viper in the box for interference, Nick Anderson weaved his way through three Vipers and slipped a wrist shot past Brown for a 3-0 lead. That score held through intermission then Frys put back a Nick Anderson shot for a 4-0 lead early in the third.
Sand denied all 24 Viper shots through 45 minutes before Coach Mike Harder gave Sand a rest to allow Justis Gyori his first action of the season.
In his first minute on the ice, Gyori made two impressive saves one of which became an assist. Gyori directed a Viper shot with his blocker to Matt Robinson who promptly fired the puck cross-ice off the boards to a streaking Ramzy Anderson. The perfect pass gave Ramzy a breakaway from the redline and Ramzy lifted a backhander top shelf over a diving Brown for the 5-0 lead.
Lang stuffed home a rebound for the 6-0 lead then Jeff Jiron made a slick move around a Viper to beat Brown for the 7-0 lead. Lang’s hat trick goal came on a breakaway that was sprung by a long Paul Frys pass giving Reno the 8-0 lead.
The only blemish of the night was a defensive miscommunication on the Ice Raiders’ breakout. Two Reno defenders collided with the puck in front of Gyori’s crease and Luke Noble pushed the puck in before Gyori could find the puck in the pile of bodies below him with 32 seconds remaining. Other than that the defense was solid in front of Gyori, who only needed to make three saves in his 15 minutes of action.
The slash line of goals/assists/points on Friday for the Ice Raiders’ top three: Lang 2/5/7; Anderson 4/3/7; Frys 2/4/6. On Saturday that line continued that domination: Lang 3/0/3; Anderson 2/2/4; Frys 1/3/4.
“I just think that when you're playing with guys like Ando and Mickey the game is really easy,” said Frys, who also coaches youth teams in his hometown of Portland, Ore. “They find spaces, we move the puck, the puck does the work. We're just having fun out there.”
Special teams were a big factor for the weekend. The Peterson Wealth Management penalty killers only allowed two 2 goals on 12 attempts while their power play continued to be effective, scoring on three of four advantages (no goalies were pulled in any advantages)
“Huge character wins,” said Ice Raider Julian Herrra, sporting quite the shiner from his bout with Viper defenseman Tommy Mines. “I think it showed our identity a lot. We might have started off a little [poorly] this year but we’re on the rebound now, trying to get some wins under our belt just sticking to our systems, making sure we do whatever coach says. We’ve got a good Coach this year who makes us play disciplined and follow a system. As long as we stick with that I think our squad will work hard and come out on top the majority of the time.”
Up next for Reno: a weekend off then the Las Vegas Millionaires begin their rivalry in the Biggest Little City on Dec. 16 and Dec. 17, both games starting at 8pm PST. Familiar faces Sam Mancini, Bobby Watson, and Drake Deberry make their return to Reno but in opposing unis for the first time. Tickets will go on sale the week of the 16th.
Both games presented by Nevada Retina Associates were standing-room-only sellouts, continuing Reno’s streak of capacity crowds going back to last season.
Sundee, being rewarded with more playing time after strong showings against Park City, was noticeably effective on the Peterson Wealth Management penalty kills including serving as the lone forward in two-man disadvantage on Saturday. Sundee owned the faceoff dots winning 21 of 32 draws (65.6%) over the weekend.
Zeph Fagergren was in good spirits Saturday night after needing 20 stitches to close a gash in his lip from an errant Ice Raider clearing attempt. Zeph had nearly as many stitches as the Ice Raiders had goals.
Vipers’ defenseman Tommy Mines was unavailable for Saturday’s game after Julian Herrera sent Mines to the emergency room for x-rays in the second period of Friday’s tilt. Mines’ late hit and elbow on Ryan Drizen left Drizen with a gash on the nose bridge and Herrera was the first to step up in Drizen’s defense. Mines was assessed a roughing minor and the Ice Raiders only needed three seconds to score on the Brewer’s Cabinet Power Play.
Special Teams stats for the weekend: Reno PK only two 2 goals on 12 kills; Reno’s power play continues to be effective scoring on 3 of 4 advantages (no goalies were pulled in any advantages this time)
Friday’s Landsinger Real Estate Three Stars of the Game: 1. Nick Anderson 2. Mickey Lang 3.Paul Frys
Saturday’s Landsinger Real Estate Three Stars of the Game: 1.Mickey Lang 2. Nick Anderson 3.Paul Frys
Ice Raiders’ apparel makes for the best gifts for the Reno sports-lover in your life. Order a jersey here, grab gear at the games and at the Bar Down Pro Shop inside Reno Ice.
Friday, 12.2.22 - Game 5: Breckenridge Vipers @ Reno Ice Raiders Highlights:
Saturday, 12.3.22 - Game 6 Breckenridge Vipers @ Reno Ice Raiders Highlights: