Vegas Confetti Tournament
By Lee Samuels
Las Vegas – Same two teams, totally different games. Unreal, right? But the Wally Lacroix-coached AA Vegas Jr Golden Knights 16u – the defending USA Hockey National Champions – went into a hi-rev gear and flamed past the AA Charleston Colonials 4-0 to win the gold medal at the Vegas Confetti Tournament before another big crowd, this time at the City National Arena.
After the game coach Lacroix was asked did the size of the sheet of ice at the NHL-regulation sized City National Arena factor in this game. Question was asked because the ice sheet is much smaller at the Las Vegas Ice Center where these very same two teams battled fiercely in a 1-1 tie late Saturday night.
On Sunday, it was a totally different kind of a hockey game with a gold medal on the line.
Lacroix listened to the question and said “…the size of the sheet of ice here had nothing to do what you saw today.
“We stayed within our structure. We skated hard. We competed at high level. Do all of that and good things happen.”
“Better net presence,” coach Wally said. “We got closer to the net and atttacked which was something we did not do in our previous game against them on Saturday night.”
Puck hunter and bigtime goal scorer Heath Mensch was at his very best, getting a goal and assist. Ian Williams played one of his best games while firing off blue-flamed blasts. Harrison Whissel scored, added an assist on another scoring play and was awesome. Chase McCrossan’s goal, the 4th in this game, was a breaker which put away any hopes that AA Charleston Colonials may have had.
The elite defensive pair of John Purdy and Tristan Nelson worked hard and effectively. These two amazing athletes who were forwards last season made the transition to the defense when asked to do so by coach Lacroix. And look what we have – Purdy/Nelson are the best out there, maybe in all of the West at this level of the game.
Las Vegas goalie Zackary Ortolano was at his finest. He guarded his net like it was on a lockdown. Nothing got by him. This is one of many awesome Ortolano performances in meaningful games.
So many Vegas players had great games including #81 William Jacob of Las Vegas who has been playing at a high level throughout this season….It’s not just me watching but others have noted #77 Caden Berninger is putting together a string of really great games. He is a great player to track during a game…..
LV – Ian Williams
LV – Harrison Whissel from Heath Mensch, Anthony Mazza
LV – Heath Mensch from Anthony Mazza, Harrison Whissel
LV – Chase McCrossan
LV goalie – Zackory Ortolano