Friday, January 11, 2019

By Bethany Drysdale

Las Vegas – City National Arena was packed Friday night as both sheets of ice were busy as usual. The Summerlin Hospital Rink was hosting the Mountain West Hockey League’s Las Vegas Jesters vs the San Diego Skates. Hosting Military Appreciation Night, the Jesters honored all servicemen with free admission for both games this weekend against the Skates. Early in the first period the Jesters sustained consistent offensive zone shots on goal while out-skating the Skates on the Jesters home ice. The first goal of the night was scored by the Jester’s Dan Wegryzn on a power play with 8:26 left in the period. He was assisted by Justin Battaglia and Johnny Albanese. San Diego then served a five minute penalty for fighting and Vegas capitalized on the man advantage. At the end of the first period Vegas had more shots 13-8.

Three minutes into the 2nd period, Justin Battaglia scored on an unassisted goal to put the Jesters up by two. It did not take the Skates long to answer back with a goal of their own as when #11 went five-hole on Danny Kirkovich. The game became more physical after offsetting 2 minute minors and an interference call gave the Skates a 4 on 3 advantage. This set up the second scoring goal by the Skate’s #8 and knotted the score 2-2 going into the second intermission. Shots on goal were even at 24.

The final period was fast and furious with another offsetting roughing call five and half minutes into the period. The 4 on 4 was to the benefit of the Jesters as Kody Holmes put one in glove side, top shelf, on a centering pass set up by Todd Brautigam and #88. Less than a minute later the Skates tied the game 3-3. The game was intense as two players were set off on a five minute major for fighting. The final score came from Justin Porter with an assist from Zach Smith and Justin Battaglia. The power play goal was tucked in low, stick side on the Skates goaltender with 3:39 left in the game. Despite a final rush from the Skates, the Jesters held them off to win with four of a kind over 3.

The Jesters are now in sole possession of 2nd place in the Sierra Division and will be back in action Saturday night at City National Arena at 7:30 pm to finish the home series against the Skates. It will also be Military Appreciation Night where veterans showing their ID can see the game for free. The team is also selling raffle tickets with a winner being drawn Saturday night to win seats for a NHL Vegas Golden Knights home game against the Minnesota Wild featuring Vegas native Jason Zucker – the Vegas Hockey Player of the Year 12 straight times