Sunday, December 1, 2019
LAS VEGAS SILVER STICKS REGIONAL
LAS VEGAS ICE CENTER, FLAMINGO AVE
GOLD MEDAL GAME
AA Cal Wave 2, AA Vegas Jr Golden Knights 1
CAL WAVE 6, GOLDEN STATE ELITE 1
LAS VEGAS JR GOLDEN KNIGHTS 4, AA IDAHO JR STEELHEADS 1
THE GOLDEN ONES
By Lee Samuels
Las Vegas – When you step back and take a hard look here it all sinks in: This Wally Lacroix hockey club – the AA Vegas Jr Golden Knights 16u – is unique and special. Special in the way with a will do win, their attack blueprint, a brutally tough defense and rostered with the two best goalies in the West – Zackary Ortolano and Colton Miller.
The Vegas Jr Golden Knights have the ability to make great opposing teams look ordinary – which is what they did in a staggeringly great performance in a 4-1 win over a very strong AA Idaho Jr Steelheads 16u team to advance to the gold medal game here at 1:30 pm.
When this 14-team Silver Sticks Las Vegas Tournament began the top most feared teams were the AA Anaheim Jr Ducks and the AA Golden State Elite. Those teams however are out of the tournament. Cal Wave, in a shocker – really a shocker – upset Golden State Elite 6-1.
Ortolano in the net was awesome for Las Vegas. D-men John Purdy and Matthew Lackas were too. Lackas defensively crushed and rubbed out Idaho attackers against the far boards. He played so well a fan at the rinkboards commented “…there isn’t a Vegas game in town without a Lackas playing well.”
There have been plenty of great tier hockey teams in Las Vegas starting in 1999-2000 when the Triple Threat Line of Travis Roseberry, JC Caron and Spike Neely led the Rob Pallin-coach AA Las Vegas Mustangs 18u to the first winning season of any Vegas team on tier level.
However, this AA Vegas Jr Golden Knights 16u team appears to have more depth. For sure, a lot of heart.
After beating Idaho, coach Lacroix, from the locker room, said “our young men played a great defensive game. Ortolano played well. Discipline and structure – two things are young men are buying into. Still a lot to learn, but we like the progression so far.”
From the Blue Line – Heath Mensch is an extremely hard worker on the ice, always angling about to fire off a shot. He is a great player to track during a game…..Matthew Lackas dealt hard fierce checks entire game. He’s a good teammate to be on your team, not the enemy team. …..D-man John Purdy is a powerful d-man who can also fire off long range blasts when needed….This Vegas Jr Golden Knights team is so well coached – its skater spacing on the ice, set ups in attack areas, power play structure and abilities to handle dealing with a 5 on 3 situation against them.
And, it’s only December for this team.
Las Vegas scoring
LV – Heath Mensch from John Purdy, Anthony Mazza
LV – Ian Williams
LV – Anthony Mazza from Heath Mensch
LV – Heath Mensch from Caden Beringer and Ian Williams
Vegas goalie – Zackary Ortolano