Las Vegas Wolves vs Orange County Checkers

Wolves Maul Checkers

The Las Vegas Wolves picked up their first wins of the season, sweeping visiting Orange County Checkers by scores of 15-1 and 17-4 at Sobe Arena in Las Vegas. Cody Incollingo scored three goals and an assist for the Wolves on Friday night. Jonathan Royka scored the Checkers lone goal. John Albanese scored four goals and an assist to lead the Wolves on Saturday. The wins improved the Wolves’ record to 2-4.

Utah Spiders MWHL

Spiders Sting Wolves

The Utah Spiders won both games of their weekend series on January 20-21 with visiting Las Vegas Wolves. The Spiders won 8-6 on Friday and 12-5 on Saturday. Jake Beard and Carl Bombardier scored two goals each to lead the Spiders on Friday. Cody Milligan scored twice for the Wolves. James Russon scored a hat trick to lead the Spiders on Saturday.

San Diego Skates Chris Liang MWHL

Skates’ Cup Runneth Over

The San Diego Skates celebrated their MWHL Cup homecoming with a dominating 15-2 victory over the Las Vegas Wolves. Rookie Chris Liang scored three goals and two assists to lead the Skates.

It took the MWHL Cup Champion Skates just 33 seconds to get on the board, as playoff MVP Max Balaban ripped a shot past Wolves goalie Greg Norris on a pass from Brandon Richardson. Maik Tatavosian converted a play from Liang and Ryan Bahl to make it a 2-0 game for the Skates at 12:45. Richardson scored his first goal as a Skate at 10:45 from John Riley and Balaban.

The onslaught continued with defenseman Brandon Nevarez finding the net at 10:27 from Mickey Andrade and Clay Blankenship. San Diego native Joe Fortunato, now living in Las Vegas but still playing for San Diego, stung his new neighbors with a goal at 8:06 from Ryan Creamer. Riley drove to the net to score from Richardson at 6:56 then defenseman Erick “Moose” Meussner scored with an assists from Fortunato and Bobby Lim to make it a 7-0 game. John Albanese salvaged the period for Las Vegas by ruining Jarren Skaife’s bid for a shutout at 1:08 on a play setup by Jon Royka and Sebastian Galas.

If the goal by Albanese gave the Wolves a lift, it didn’t last long. The Skates started adding to their lead at 17:15 of the second period with a goal by Lim from Riley and Blankenship. Riley scored his second goal of the game at 13:07 from Lim and Meussner on the power play. Liang scored his first goal as a Skate at 11:35 from Tatavosian. Fortunato scored his second goal of the game at 5:14 from Tirell Stokes and Weston Cydell to raise the score to 11-1 in favor of the Skates.

Tyler Gibson offered a glimmer of hope for the Wolves with a goal at 4:24 on a play created by Dillon Lieberg and Galas. But Tatavosian turned off the lights with his second goal assisted by Liang and Creamer at 1:12 .

Leading 12-2 to start the final period, the Skates eased off the pedal but couldn’t help scoring a few more. Richardson finished a nice pass from Riley at 17:34 then Liang scored his second goal of the game at 17:01 from Richardson and Riley. The Skates eased up and rolled their third and fourth line for the remainder of the period, but Liang still managed to cap his hat trick with 33 seconds left in regulation.

Notes: The Skates started 15 players from their championship team along with 5 newcomers including Liang, Richardson, Lim, Blankenship, and defenseman Andreas Rahm. Blankenship’s appearance marked a return to the Skates after a season off. The Wolves lineup included Galas and Todd Brautigam, members of Las Vegas’ original MWHL franchise, as well as journeyman Matt Sablan who has played with four MWHL clubs including Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Orange County, and San Diego.

San Diego Sweeps Las Vegas

The San Diego Skates completed a weekend sweep of the Las Vegas Wolves with a 13-3 victory at Iceplex. Brandon Richardson scored three goals and three assists to lead the Skates.

The game opened with a ceremonial face-off in honor of Victor Barger, father of Skates goalie John Barger and longtime patron of the team. Mr. Barger has been battling cancer for most of the past year. His wife, Cheryl dropped the puck as Mr. Barger watched from the end boards. After the face-off, the Skates banged their sticks in a salute then opened the end boards to pose for a picture with their honorary “dad.”

Richardson opened the scoring for the Skates at 16:04 on a play set up by Mickey Andrade and Weston Cydell. Rookie defenseman Corey Stark gave the host Skates a two goal lead at 14:11 with a goal from Chris Liang. John Riley scored at 7:23 with help from Richardson and Andreas Rahm. Max Balaban scored the first of two goals at 6:59 from Cydell and Richardson. Ryan Bahl and Riley set up Balaban’s second goal at 3:19 then the trio combined again, this time with Bahl getting the goal and Balaban and Riley the assists 2:20 to give the host Skates a 6-0 cushion heading to the intermission.

The Wolves snapped back in the second period with a quick goal at 19:26 by Dillon Lieberg. John Albanese picked up the assist. But the Skates regained control quickly with Richardson netting his second goal of the game at 18:33 with assists by Balaban and Riley.
The Skates seemed content to coast for most of the remainder of the period with Ryan Creamer scoring the only other goal at 5:44 from Liang.

Leading 8-1 to start the final period, Skates captain Mickey Andrade scoring an unassisted shorthanded goal at 18:24. Jonathan Valenzuela, the MWHL’s top defenseman in 2016, opened his account with a goal at 16:55 from Balaban and Richardson. Then last year’s MWHL MVP Cydell scored an unassisted goal to assert himself at 9:11 giving the Skates an 11-1 lead.

Libber took another dig at the Skates with a Wolves goal at 7:50 from Austin Ziakis and Albanese. But Richardson responded by converting a pass from Balaban to right things for the Skates. Clay Blankenship scored his first goal since returning to the Skates at 5:31 from Chris Greenwood. Then Sebastian Galas closed out the scoring with a goal for the Wolves to end the game at 13-3.

Notes: Richardson closed the series with five goals and six assists for 11 points, good enough to put him on top of the MWHL scoring table. Riley finished with 10 points, good for second, and Balaban closed with 9 points tying him with Arizona’s Justin Havriliak for third.

MWHL Network

Wolves to Appear on MWHL Network

The Las Vegas Wolves return to the Mountain West Hockey League versus the MWHL Cup Champion San Diego Skates will be webcast live on the MWHL Network on Saturday November 19, 2016. MWHL Network webcasts feature multiple camera angles, on-screen graphics, intermission and post game interviews, and play-by-play announcer. The second game of the two-game series between the Wolves and the Skates will also be webcast starting at noon on Sunday November 20.

The MWHL Network is the Mountain West Hockey League’s media division. It has provided live and recorded coverage of MWHL games and news since 2012. This season the MWHL Network will introduce a studio program, MWHL Tonight, featuring news, scores, highlights, and interviews.

Fans wishing to watch the action should check the league website for details: