Saturday, January 31, 2015

“He’s amazing. He reminds me of Paul Coffey, the smooth way he skates, making it seem so effortlessly.”

— WSHL coach Gabe Gauthier, talking about Las Vegas Storm bantam Steven Avalone.


By Lee Samuels

Las Vegas – It was an action game, both teams skating hard, the score tied and then Steven Avalone of the Nevada Storm Bantam AA club took off with the puck down the ice. He weaved, powered in, unloaded a blast of a shot and scored.  It was dramatic action, helping the Nevada Storm’s Bantam AA team beat the Las Vegas Jr Wranglers 5-2 in the opening game of a Best of Three City Series game before a crowd jammed into the Las Vegas Ice Center on Friday night.

And how important was that goal? Well, the winner of this series advances to the U.S. Nationals. 

“Steven is the real deal, an AAA Tier 1 level player,” said his coach Micah Sanford. “He has the right kind of hockey sense, gets good positioning, can skate, is smart with the puck. He will be a top player on the next level of his game and when the time is right he will have no problem playing junior hockey.”

Steven scored his 19th goal. His teammate Cameron Zucker, the youngest brother of Jason Zucker, has 21 goals and another teammate, a skilled, hard working Cody Printzen scored 2 goals in this game to give him 19 for the season.

While Avalone was leading the way, a powerful Storm defenseman John Hallett fired off some hard checks.

The Jr Wranglers battled all the way, led by a very fast, gifted skater in Issac Gomez who can move and is a danger to score at any time. Issac works hard in practices and also works with a speed skating coach.

Game two is Sunday 11:25 am at the SoBe Ice Arena.

From the Blue Line –  Steven Avalone had a scratchy throat so he drank some chilled Cool Blue Gatorades before the game. ….There were two premier coaches in this game. Micah Sanford is a Las Vegas scoreking at all levels. The Jr Wranglers folks were raving about their coach, Ken Quinney.  His sons Gage (WHL Kelowna Rockets) and Langdon (AAA Arizona Bobcats 16u) are high level players….Coach Nick Robone was with Micah on the Storm bench.

Here is how the scoring went:

Nevada Storm – Justin Brooks, 20′ blast left side

Las Vegas Jr Wranglers – Hunter Barto, dramatic close range chip which had heat on it while getting into the net.

Nevada Storm – Steven Avalone, with scored tied he shook loose, went down the ice and scored

Nevada Storm – Cody Printzen who skated hard the entire game

Nevada Storm – Cody Printzen, a big goal which gave the Storm a 4-1 lead

Nevada Storm – Darion Conway, whose goal made it 5-1 Storm

Las Vegas Jr Wranglers – Robert Purdy, a very popular player who blasted a shot from mid range. The Jr Wranglers fans exploded and high-fived when he scored.

Shots on goal – Storm 20-18


Las Vegas Storm – Anthony Bonaldi

Las Vegas Jr Wranglers – Luke Fundator