Saturday, February 18, 2017

By Lee Samuels

Las Vegas –  Mike Yochum makes goal scoring look easy. His on ice radar was locked in while scoring three goals from a variety of areas and distances for the Nevada Storm High School team which battled bravely in a 6-4 loss to a Glenwood Springs Grizzlies H.S. team from Colorado which played with grit along with fierce checking in all four corners of the Las Vegas Ice Center. It was rough out there at center ice, seriously, on a cold rainy night.

The two teams may meet again this weekend. Both teams advanced to the Final 4 here on Sunday at the President’s Day Tournament. The Nevada Storm, 1-1-1 overall, will next play in an eliminator game against the North Vancouver Storm. The Storm is coached by Jeff Bruckner.

Yochum is working on a seven-goal weekend. Teammate Chris Otomo, a gifted goal scorer and a very creative player, weaved about in the shark waters near the Grizzlies net to score a phenominal goal. 

High School hockey is in its second season in Las Vegas. It was Gabe Gauthier, the hockey director at the Las Vegas Ice Center, who organized a Nevada Storm High School team one year ago. The Storm played an independent schedule in its first season. This current team Storm team plays in the Ducks League, Division 3.

Division 3 is good for such a young Storm team. The powerful Ducks Division One high schools in SoCal include Orange Lutheran High School, Santa Margarita Catholic High School and JSearra Catholic High School.

To play on a high school team in Las Vegas a player must be actually be enrolled in high school, have good grades – nothing in the failing grades department.

Mike Yochum, whose 34 season goals are among the best among all Las Vegas premier goal scorers at all levels of hockey here in town, likes mathematics and the world of business. When the Storm team was near Yorba Linda, Ca. he took the time to visit President Richard Nixon’s Library and afterwards Mike said he would like to visit more Presidential libraries.

For Storm head coach Jeff Bruckner all of the tournament games this weekend are a prelude to the biggest games of the season. In two weeks the Storm High School Team will be playing in the Ducks League, Division 3 league playoffs.

From the Blue Line – The crowd was big and the fans were really into this game….The Storm split goalie time with Gage Dunakoski and Sam Kjos….That was Scott Rensmon loading in final scores and figuring out playoff brackets on the award-winning Las Vegas Ice Center website….The Storm will take on a North Vancouver team in a Final 4 game on Sunday 7 pm.