Friday, March 10, 2017

By Lee Samuels

Las Vegas – There was speed and more speed. There was hard hitting. There were tricky plays

And there was goalie Dustin Wolf of the AAA LA Jr Kings 16u.

The Micah Sanford-coached AAA Nevada Storm 16u sure tried hard but came out on the short end 4-0 to the AAA LA Jr Kings 16u in a Pacific District Regional game on Friday evening at the Las Vegas Ice Center.

One of the differences in the game came from the Kings net. Kings head coach Jack Bowkus stood on the team bench and carefully watched his goalie Dustin Wolf in his gold jersey and dark blue helmet notch another shutout. This season in 18 games #31 Dustin Wolf has a 1.63 gaa and a 94.7% save percentage. Those are staggering numbers. Dustin is young, only 15. He is from Tustin, California and is listed at 5’10, 150. And Dustin has signed to play in the Western Hockey League (WHL) next season, specifically the WHL Everett Silvertips who drafted him when he was a bantam level goalie.

Bowkus, in his 22nd season in the Kings youth hockey organization, said his club played well against the Nevada Storm but there is a deep concern for the next team on the Kings schedule: the Anaheim Jr Ducks.

The coaches here collectively agree Anaheim is the team to beat. Only one team of this six-team field will advance to the U.S. Nationals. And the Kings play Anaheim next here on Saturday morning.

The Nevada Storm skated hard and the game seemed much closer than a four-goal final. There were scoring opportunities, there were some very hard checks – some delivered by Cameron Zucker and Matthew Valdez – and Storm goalie Anthony Bonaldi, one of the best – if not best goalie in the city – played very well.

For coach Sanford the blueprint for his team now is to advance and make the Final 4.

There is no easy path, not that there ever is in the Pacific District Regionals.

The Storm takes on another top team the Everett Jr Silvertips on Saturday.

From the Blue Line –  The NHL LA Kings have purchased the LA Jr Kings youth hockey program but so far there have not been any coaching changes….On the bench with Storm coach Micah Sanford was his assistant Adam Naglich who was one of the great goal scorers in Las Vegas hockey history – both in ice hockey and roller hockey….Cameron Zucker’s older brother Evan, a tremendous scorer himself, was at the arena…There were two famous team managers here in this game: Helen Alex for the Kings, Natalie Zucker for the Storm.

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The AAA Nevada Storm 16u are an exciting team which plays hard and include #2 Alexander Hone, #8 Steven Avalone, #11 Jaiden Wild, #12 Aidan McNabb, #13 Justin Brooks, #16 Cameron Zucker, #22 Matthew Valdez, #23 Darion Conway, #24 Dylan Davenport, #25 Anthony Rodriguez Jr., #26 Alexander Furste, #27 Dane Whittet, #28 Zach McClenahan, #31 Cameron Birchill, #37 Anthony Bonaldi, #44 Cody Printzen

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Standings

Las Vegas Ice Center

Pacific District Regional

AAA 16u

FINAL FOUR

Anaheim Jr Ducks 3-0-0 —  12 goals, 1 against

L.A. Jr Kings 2-1-0 — 10/5

Everett Jr Silvertips 2-1-0 — 10/8

Alaska Oilers 1-2-0 — 12/14

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Nevada Storm 1-2-0 — 5/10

Alaska Blue Devils 1-2-0 — 5/12

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Friday scores:

Pacific District Regional

AAA 16u

Anaheim Jr Ducks 7, Alaska Blue Devils 0

Everett Jr Silvertips 5, Alaska Oilers 3

L.A. Jr Kings 4, Nevada Storm 0

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Saturday Scores  – Las Vegas Ice Center

Anaheim Jr Ducks 3, L.A. Jr Kings 1

Alaska Oilers 7, Alaska Blue Devils 4

Everett Jr Silvertips 5, Nevada Storm 3

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Nevada Storm goal scorers in Pacific District Regionals

2 – Zach McClenahan

2 – Cameron Zucker

1 – Anthony Rodriguez Jr