Thursday, January 20, 2015

By Lee Samuels

Las Vegas – After a line brawl, hard checks, a player ejection, ultra heat from the visiting bench to the referee, the game between the WSHL Las Vegas Storm and the San Diego Gulls went 4-4 in regulation, plus two overtimes and an OT/Shootout which went nine players deep.

Finally, after 3 hours, 23 minutes, the Thursday night game was decided.

Felix Brunner, the 9th OT shooter for Las Vegas, skated hard towards the San Diego net, deked a move and unloaded a power blast of a shot. The puck was driven so hard Gulls goalie Jokaim Jutras of Quebec took a step backwards and, checked his glove and then turned to take a look deep into the net. The puck was there, settled quietly on the cold ice.  Game over. The Storm players rushed off the bench and the Las Vegas Ice Center’s electric scoreboard made a clicking noise, then read Storm 5, Gulls 4.

It was a big win for Las Vegas which was in an 0-9-1 funk of a streak dating to December 7.  This one was rough and physical with a playoff feel to it including a brawl early, with furnace-like heat turned up in a game both clubs desperately wanted to win.

There were all kinds of heroes for Las Vegas – the grittiness and hard play from Beau Ricketts, the two goals from Vincent Dekumbis, an amazing goal from Kyle Pachecho who fired off a shot, followed the play and then ripped a rebound into the net.  Then, two five-minute OTs – the first 4 x 4, the second 3 x 3 and then the mind-numbing OT/Shootout.

Brunner, who is 6’0, 170 and from Austria, was named the Star of the Game, Dekumbis was the #2 Star. There should have been a Star for Storm goalie Patrik Jokela who was under heavy fire much of the game and who made nine straight saves in the OT/Shootout.

It was something to see and there are two games remaining in this series on Friday and Saturday nights at the Ice Center.

From the Blue Line –  At the end of the second period Storm defenseman Brandon Bavis went to the snack bar for a red bag of Skittles. A few moments later young Storm defenseman Jake Kenna got his Skittles. Both played exceptionally well in the third period and in the two OT periods….Jiro Ryyppo of the Storm was a great player to track during the game.  In the heat of action Jiro played a composed, deliberate game which was very effective – what a great skater he is….At the boards, parents said that one of our favorite players – Quinn Travis – is out with a fractured ankle and is now home to recover in Colorado….Adam Stio was referee, Adam Hendren – a Six Time Vegas Hockey Referee of the Year – was one of the linesmen.

Las Vegas goal scorers

LVS – Vincent Dekumbis (14th)  Assists – Nikita Larinov, Alkhas Kochkarev

LVS – Kyle Pacheco (14th)

LVS – Vincent Dekumbis (15th)

LVS – Beau Ricketts (20th)

LVS – Felix Brunner (6th)

Shots on Goal

Las Vegas 43-41