AA Christmas Day Flashback – AA Las Vegas Mustangs – 16 Seasons Ago

December 25, 2001

By Lee Samuels

Las Vegas – Bigger than big.

Bigger than Arvada

Bigger than San Jose

The big teams are knocking on coach Rob Pallin’s rink door.

And the coach says his 31-4-2 AA Las Vegas Mustangs are ready to take a deep breathe and take on the best there is.

A rep from the purple and gold, the AAA L.A. Kings midget major team, called Friday to make arrangements for a game vs our Mustangs on January 5.

It took Pallin maybe three seconds to say yes.

On enemy ice?

No problem.

So this incredible all-heart Las Vegas Mustangs team goes into its biggest game.

Or as Mustangs winger Eddie Samuels says “we’re on the national hockey map now.”

That’s what happens when you skate with all you have, like Las Vegas did in the recent AA Silver Stick Tournament in Westminster, Colorado. The early round wins, the nerve-racking ‘biggest win ever” against Shattuck St. Mary’s, the tremendous heated game against AA Arvada in the gold medal game.

But as coach Pallin says there are always bigger games out there.

“You know what the crazy thing is,” he said while leaning back in his chair in his hockey office. “I see us beating the Kings in LA.”


The AAA LA Kings beat the AA Las Vegas Mustangs 3-2 in LA on January 5, 2001.

In a revenge game on January 19 in Las Vegas goalie Paul Lowden was strong in the net to help the Las Vegas Mustangs win their greatest game 2-1 over the Kings.

“Sometimes you need your goalie to steal one for you,” coach Pallin said after that historic win. Pallin added “I thought the game would never end. I kept looking at the clock on the scoreboard.” 

We wrote that night “the LA Kings lit the fuse and had cannons smoking in the third period. But Las Vegas goalie Paul Lowden stopped them all.”

Justin Johnson of Las Vegas played a big role in the win with long fiery passes to breaking forwards. 

Archie Dessert, playing for the Kings, fired off some extremely hard checks that night. 

Adam Naglich scored both goals in that game for Las Vegas. Those were his 31st, 32nd goals of the season. Justin Johnson had 2 assists, Spike Neely one. Troy Redman was in the net for the Kings. The hockey sister, Jessica Jasek, fired up the music during the game.

It was a three game weekend series vs the Kings.

AA Las Vegas 2, AAA LA Kings 1

AAA LA Kings 2, AA Las Vegas 1

AA Las Vegas 3, AAA LA Kings 1

Coach Pallin said “we fought through the checks, hooks, the rough stuff out there. These were not easy games playing a high tempo team like the Kings. It is our disciplined style of play which enables us beat teams like these.”