Thanksgiving Day, 2019
By Lee Samuels
Las Vegas – It was an all-out thriller, two skilled teams going at it and it was decided late when Heath Mensch scored dramatically on a 3 on 1 break followed by a clutch goal from Kenneth Curtis lll to give the Wally Lacroix-coached AA Vegas Jr Golden Knights 16u a 2-0 win over the never-quit AA Valencia Flyers 16u here today before a large holiday crowd packed into the SoBe Ice Arena.
Las Vegas got an all-out effort from premier goalie Colton Miller to win their first game here in the 14-team Silver Stick Regional Tournament.
It was all good…except in the eyes of coach Wally it’s got to get better.
One of the bigtime teams here, Cal Wave, is next on the Las Vegas schedule 6:15 pm this evening right back at the SoBe Ice Arena.
Lacroix, whose AA Las Vegas Jr Golden Knights 16u are defending National Champions, said his club needs a “higher compete level and we need to get more traffic in front of the net” for the next game which happens to be vs mega power Cal Wave here tonight at 6:15 pm.
“Got to work a lot harder,” Lacroix said. “There are 14 teams here. Only one team advances to the Silver Stick Nationals.”
The big buzz in the arena is that the AA Anaheim Ducks 16u are one of the best – if not the best – team here.
But Lacroix knows because a team like AA Anaheim may be the best it doesn’t mean they leave town with gold.
Las Vegas has tremendous awesome players – many of who look a lot bigger than they did when they won the U.S. National Championship last season. John Purdy is taller, thicker and taking care of the team’s physical play defensively. William Jacob is super smart with the puck particularly deep in attack areas. Ian Williams has always been a hard worker even against the big California teams. Micah Williamson has awesome speed. Colton Miller has a tremendous skillset and is unquestionably one of the best goalies in the West.
The 14 teams here in AA 16u are the most ever in a Silver Stick Regional. Fans are buzzing about the AA Anaheim Ducks, AA Cal Wave and Lacroix added to his checklist another dangerous club the AA Golden State Elite.
Las Vegas goals
Heath Mensch unassisted
Kennneth Curtis lll from William Jacob
Las Vegas goalie