Saturday, January 6, 2018

By Lee Samuels

Las Vegas – When it was over – a riveting 3-1 game won by the unbeaten Norcal Ice Raiders over the Las Vegas Cavalry we spoke to Norcal’s captain Weston Nash – all 6’1, 220 of him.

“Are you the best in the league” we asked as he stood outside of the rink glass at City National Arena on Saturday night.

“Of course we are,” Weston said. ‘We never lose. Best team in our division.”

“Can we tell the Vegas players how great you are.”

“Go ahead and tell them it came from me.”

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Which we did of course – deliver Weston Nash’s message first to Cavalry coach Adam Stio who took a hard look at the game sheet and said ‘…we are on the cusp of where we want to be.”

Then came walking out of the locker room was Justin Battaglia who had an awesome game for the Cavalry.

“Norcal is a good transition team, meaning they can move the puck from the d-zone forward to the next line and off that go,” Justin said.

Yes, Norcal had some great team speed.

Lost in all of this was the awesome play of Cavalry goalie Rick O’Dria who made repeated stops, some of which seemed impossible to stop but he did it.

And this all came from O’Dria who is from Florida and who had sent a pre-season text to contact GM/Head Coach Stio on the Cavalry’s team website, then went to a tryout and made the club. 

Plus Las Vegas had the defensive connection of Richie Crossley and Devin Lane who were voted on Vegas Hockey last year as ‘the best defensive pair of all time.” 

Norcal scored first in this game, then Lucas Bankson scored for Las Vegas and Norcal got the last two goals.

There was a massive, festive crowd at the game.

And most of them wore Vegas Golden Knights gear – even the little ones who were pushed around in strollers shaking their rattles. 

From the Blue Line –  Game announcer hockey dad Steve Poscente was outstanding calling goals and assists clearly…There were a lot of Las Vegas hockey folks at the game and a lot of Arizona Bobcats parents and players too who were watching….Upstairs, the McKenzie River dining area was absolutely jammed…The game temperature heated up in periods two and three with great action on the ice….More on Norcal captain Weston Nash: He has played for the MWHL’s Salt Lake Rebels and last season was captain of the the Oakland Ice Raiders…Cavalry was without Cody Milligan (out serving a penalty) and Zack Smith (not available).