Thursday, January 26, 2017

By Lee Samuels

Las Vegas – This was a wild one – heavy action, hard checking, fiery shots on goal and all of that with a dramatic finish.

Final score: WSHL Las Vegas Storm 6, Fresno Monsters 4 and when the game was over referee Adam Hendren was pulling apart players.

It was a game both teams desperately wanted to win and hard intense action was immediate when the game got underway inside of the arctic-like North Rink at the Las Vegas Ice Center on Thursday night.

Fresno, in a playoff spot but trying to get a better position there, scored on its first two shots in about one minute.  GM/Head coach Gabe Gauthier called a timeout to re-ignite his top players.

Kyle Molony, who had an awesome game, scored first for Las Vegas, then the smooth skating Jeff Morgan zigzagged about and scored to tie the game 2-2.  Fresno scored once in the second period and then the game got totally unglued.

Las Vegas got big play from defenseman Nick Peck who skates with a big edge to his game. He got into a scrap –  four solid punches, then the referee and officials on ice pulled them apart – and later Nick had two dramatic assists.

Isaiah Letendre, whose long range ceiling-high fire usually winds up in nets, launched a blue-streak puck and scored from the right side to tie the game 3-3. Fresno went ahead 4-3, then Morgan scored again to tie it 4-4. At last with the clock ticking down Alex Roth – a hard worker on the ice – stuffed in a shot to make it 5-4, then the gifted goal scorer Nikita Pintusov hit an empty-netter to put away Fresno. That was Nikita’s 31st goal this season tying the Storm’s single-season most goals set by Vincent Dekumbis here last winter.

From the Blue Line –  It was brutally cold inside the rink and the ice seemed to be more slick than normal…..Fresno had a size advantage and there were very very hard checks in this game….The elite goalie Spencer Kozlowski was in the Las Vegas net. He had to deal with extreme incoming firepower from a variety of directions….Adam Hendren was the referee with linesmen Todd Owen and Jared Joeger. They were busy all game particularly in the dark corners of the north end of the rink….Athletic trainer Kendall Galor was there attending to players from both teams who needed medical care. She is the best there is in Las Vegas…..Fresno got a great game from defenseman Kaleb Manny Fingers who is from a very small town in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains – Coleman, Alberta, Canada. He works extremely hard during the game…. Fresno had more penalities 11-6 – the 4th straight game in which Las Vegas has had very few penalities….Las Vegas more shots 46-33….Evan Zucker was on the Las Vegas bench with coach Gabe….A scout was taking a look at Jeffery Morgan during the game…There was a run on large black coffee, no sugar, at the Ice Center snack bar – that’s how cold it was…Cameron Zucker from the Storm’s AAA team was at the game. “You don’t recognize me do you,” he asked laughing. A Storm fan said wow you’ve gotten much taller….In the Las Vegas Ice Center parking lot a large Golden Eagle bus from Fresno was idling and warming up with the heat turned on high waiting for the Fresno players….Two more games in this very hot series with games here Friday and Saturday nights….

LAS VEGAS SCORING

LV – Kyle Molony (3rd goal of season)  Nicolas Ondrejkovic assist

LV – Jeffery Morgan 25th (Ted Astrom, Nick Peck)

LV – Isaiah Letendre 24th – powerplay (Ted Astrom)

LV – Jeffery Morgan 26th

LV – Alex Roth 16th

LV – Nikita Pintusov 31st (Sam Sykes, Nick Peck)