President’s Day, 2019

By Lee Samuels

Las Vegas – In an all-out historic battle for the gold, William Jacob and JJ Williamson scored and goalie Zachary Ortolano was ultra-strong in the net to help the Wally Lacroix-coached AA Las Vegas Jr Golden Knights 16u win and capture the President’s Day gold medal today at the Las Vegas Ice Center.

Las Vegas beat a very strong AA Hockey Central Panthers 16u of Alberta 2-1 in a game which was decided in the final moments. The Panthers came into this tournament with a 24-1-5 record.

William Jacob of Las Vegas scored early, scorching a shot from the right side, and then teammate JJ Williamson got the game-winner from short-range with about 1:45 left in the game.

It was a hard, clean, tactical battle with hardly any penalties. Vegas captain Trent Carter helped clear pucks from danger areas, sending pucks down outside lanes. Vegas goalies Ortolano and Colton Miller have had awesome seasons for the AA Vegas Jr Golden Knights 16u who got their biggest win of the season here today.

Las Vegas went 3-0-1 here this weekend.

Lacroix said after the gold medal game “everyone on our club competed at a high level and believed in each other.

“When we talked about this game we talked about having a complete game from start to finish. Our entire team played well including players who didn’t have as much ice time as others.

“So proud of them today.

“I thought the young men on our team bought into what coach Todd (Owen) and myself teach – believing in the systems and following through – an amazing thing to see in a game like this.

“We also spoke about the team which makes the least mistakes is the team which usually wins.”

From the Blue Line – The Matt Johnson-coached AA Las Vegas Jr Golden Knights bantam team made it to the gold medal game and wound up in a high octane battle against the Alaska Oilers. The game was 1-1 after regulation, then Alaska – with an unreal massive crowd packed into the North Rink at the Ice Center – scored in OT to win it 2-1.  Micah Williamson scored earlier for Las Vegas. Ken Curtis and Matthew Lackas got the assists…. Max Madison, goalie for Vegas, was awesome in this exciting high-speed battle. Matt Johnson is a premier youth hockey coach here in Las Vegas.