By Grace Mello and Joshua Boyd
This week the Inaugural USPHL Las Vegas Showcase took place. It ran from Monday, Dec. 19 through Thursday, Dec. 22. This was the first ever USPHL’s showcase event west of Minnesota and it featured all seven Premier Pacific Division teams, all five Premier Northwest Division teams, as well as the Provo Predators of the USPHL Premier’s Mountain Division. Here is a recap of how teams with .500 or better records did as well as a look at top performers for all teams.
Las Vegas Thunderbirds (4-0-0-0)
Winning all four of their games at the showcase, the hosting Las Vegas Thunderbirds were one of just two teams to go undefeated this week. They opened with a 5-2 win over the Rock Spring Prospectors, had a decisive win over the Seattle Totems, and finished with a 4-2 win over the Rogue Valley Royals. The Tbirds pulled off a huge win over the Pacific Division leaders, the Fresno Monsters, in Game 2 with a score of 4-2. They are currently in third in the division with 39 points just behind San Diego and Ontario who have 40 each.
Top Scorers: Frederic Pinel F (3-5-8), Samuel Dumont F (5-3-8), Nick Bonaldi D (1-3-4)
Top Goaltender: Simon Johnson, 1-0, 28/30, .933 SV%, 1.36 GAA; Loic Morin, 1-0, 37/49, .949, 2.00 GAA; Sam Peterson, 1-0, 30/32, .938, 2.00 GAA
Bakersfield Roughnecks (4-0-0-0)
The fourth place Bakersfield Roughnecks brought the heat this week as they were one of the two teams to go undefeated in the first ever Las Vegas Showcase. Though going undefeated, they faced a lot of adversity with two OT games. They opened with a 2-1 OT win over the Rogue Valley Royals, continued with a 2-0 shutout win over the Bellingham Blazers, and closed the week with a 5-2 win over Lake Tahoe and a 4-3 OT win over the Seattle Totems.
Top Scorer: Carson Lindstrom F (1-4-5), Noah Carpenter D (2-1-3)
Top Goaltender: Connor Adams, 1-0, 24 saves on 24 shots (24/24), 1.00 save percentage
(SV%), 0 goals against average (GAA)
Fresno Monsters (3-1-0-0)
The Fresno Monsters, who lead the Pacific Division with 47 points, started the showcase off with a shutout win over the Bellingham Blazers. They were upset by the hosting Las Vegas Thunderbirds 4-2 but came back to finish the week with a 5-1 win over the Rock Springs Prospectors and a 6-3 win over the Northwest Division leader, the Vernal Oilers.
Top Scorers: Noak Persson F (7-8-15, led all Las Vegas Showcase players), Jacob Gagnon D (1-2-3)
Top Goaltender: Ethan Jourden, 2-0, 43/46 .935SV%, 1.58 GAA, 1 shutout
Vernal Oilers (3-1-0-0)
The Oilers lead the Northwest division and picked up wins over three Pacific Division teams this week. They started with an 8-2 win over the Long Beach Shredders, a 7-4 win over the Lake Tahoe Lakers, and a 6-5 win over the Ontario Jr Reign; their only loss was to the leader of the Pacific Division, the Fresno Monsters.
Top Scorers: Alex Rene Bartakovics F (4-6-10), Filip Lezzani D (2-7-9)
Top Goaltender: Austin Gilbert, 2-0, 50/54, .926 SV%, 2.19 GAA
Provo Predators (3-1-0-0)
The visiting Provo Predators had quite the success at the showcase after an initial 5-2 loss to the Ontario Jr Reign, they came back with a 6-1 win over the Lake Tahoe Lakers, a decisive win over the Long Beach Shredders, and a thrilling 4-3 OT win over the San Diego Sabers to end the week.
Top Scorers: Wilder Jacober F (1-5-6), Brent Scott D (2-2-4)
Top Goaltenders: Landon Palmer, 1-0, 20/21, 0.952 SV%, 1.00 GAA; Wyatt Gottschall, 1-0, 11/12, 0.917 SV%, 1.05 GAA
Ontario Jr Reign (3-1-0-0)
Starting off strong, the Jr Reign had wins 5-2 over the Provo Predators, 7-2 over the Seattle Totems, and earned a shutout over the Rock Springs Prospectors. They only fell to the leader of the Northwest Division in a close, 6-5, game.
Top Scorers: Matteo Pero F (1-8-9), Max Kathol F (3-6-9), Ethan McKibbin F (3-6-9), Amir Shakirov D (2-5-7)
Top Goaltender: Julian Arenal, 1-0, 20/20, 1.00 SV%, 0 GAA
San Diego Sabers (3-1-0-0)
The Sabers managed to pick up two shutout wins this week, over the Rogue Valley Royals and the Rock Springs Prospectors. They also picked up a 7-3 win over the Seattle Totems to open the showcase. Their only loss was in OT to the Provo Predators.
Top Scorers: Nevio D’Alessandro D (2-8-10), Lucas Lundy D (3-6-9), Mario Paganini F (4-3-7)
Top Goaltenders: Ethan Blackburn, 2-1, 90/97, 0.927 SV%, 2.32 GAA; Herman Renden, 1-0, 13/13, 1.000 SV%, 0 GAA
Long Beach Shredders (2-2-0-0)
With two tough, decisive losses to start the showcase, the Shredders had to fight to come back. Finishing the week with two wins, they did just that. Wednesday they finished 10-4 over the Rogue Valley Royals and Thursday 3-2 over the Bellingham Blazers.
Top Scorers: Nathan Compton F (2-5-7) and Drew Mazza D (0-5-5)
Top Goaltender: Aidan Patterson, 1-0, 28/30, .933 Sv%, 2.00
In other action
The Lake Tahoe Lakers won their final game 4-2 against the Bellingham Blazers. D Stefan Leitner had five goals. Donovan Guldenmann was the leading goaltender stopping 39 of 41 in his first junior win.
The Seattle Totems escaped with a point off a closing OT loss to Bakersfield. Jesse James Aitken posted a 4-2-6 line to lead the way.
The Bellingham Blazers were led by Kieran Maloney who had three points. Ty Angus stopped 62 of 64 shots in 89 minutes.
Six players recorded points for the Rock Springs Prospectors, though they did not pick up a win.
Scott Vanderhoff was a point-per-game player for Rogue Valley. Kaeden Edstrom was impressive in stopping 93 of 99 shots in goal.