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By Trent Singer, 04/07/24, 1:45PM MDT



SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — In a game in which they struggled to sustain offense, the Vegas Junior Golden Knights (NV) needed just one big shot to bask in championship glory.

Lizabeth Smith broke loose and began the celebration for the Knights.

With 10:32 remaining in overtime of the 1A title game, the eighth grade forward dashed to the goal and ripped a shot into the net, sending her Vegas teammates into a raucous celebration and sealing a 1-0 victory over Team South Dakota (SD) in the 2024 Chipotle-USA Hockey Girls Tier II 14U 1A National Championship Sunday afternoon at the Scheels IcePlex.

“It’s incredible,” Vegas coach Gordie Mark said as he tried to hold back his tears. “I’ve won a Calder Cup. I’ve won the WHL championship as a player. This is right up there with those because nobody thought we could do it.

“We’re not the biggest. We’re not the strongest. We’re not the most skilled, but we work hard, maybe harder than anyone. We play really well in our D-zone and have two of the best goalies in the tournament on our team, and if you’ve got goaltending, you’ve got a chance.”

The win capped a stellar tournament performance for Knights goaltender Olivia Frasso, who notched 23 saves to record her second shutout of the tournament. 

Frasso started four of the team’s six games, finishing with a 0.49 goals against average and .977 save percentage, while her teammate in goal, Nicolette Gentile, had a 1-1 record in two starts during the tournament, finishing with a 1.02 GAA and .964 save percentage.

“She was unbelievable,” Mark said about Frasso. “Our other goalie, too, she got us into the playoffs. She played really well and shut these girls out in the pool play games. That’s no easy task.

“I’ve got a 1A and a 1B. They’re both capable of being anybody’s No. 1.”

It was all defense in the opening period, much of which was played in the neutral zone with very few scoring opportunities at the net. Each team notched two shots on goal before South Dakota found its offensive rhythm in the second frame.

The bigger-bodied South Dakota team out shot the Knights 23-10, including 10-5 in the second period. However, Vegas kept things close by limiting good chances around the goal, sending both teams into the second intermission tied at 0-0.

“We go out there, and we’re trying to play a style of hockey that can be pretty simple,” South Dakota coach Austin Koenig said. “It’s also something that takes a lot of work to be able to do, and they executed it well.

“Throughout the entire tournament, they bought in, and it worked. We just didn’t get the puck bounces that we needed to go our way offensively, but I’m extremely proud of the way they played defensively in this game.”

In the opening minutes of the third, the puck bounced off the end boards and landed on the stick of South Dakota’s Lily Gorra, but Frasso denied Gorra’s shot attempt and covered the puck to avoid further danger.

With a little more than five minutes remaining in the period, Frasso made another stellar save when she robbed South Dakota’s Taylor Sorben on a shot from the high slot, catching the puck with her glove to not allow a rebound.

In overtime, South Dakota’s Callie Pederson was whistled for the game’s only penalty with 13:21 to play, but the Knights were unable to score on the power play.

South Dakota goalie Moriah Lincoln finished with nine saves before Smith provided the game-winning heroics.

“There was a little puck bounce, and she was coming down the wing,” Mark said about the game-winner. “I saw a lot of room far side, low. She hits that shot all the time in practice, so I was hopeful she’d just get it off before she got a stick on it.

“She didn’t know it went in.”

Throughout the Knights’ six games in the tournament, Smith led the way with six points. She was one of three Vegas players to score three goals, and she led the team with three helpers.

“Honestly, ending on a win like this, there’s no other feeling,” Smith said. “For me, it clicked when they were playing the national anthem on the ice. I was like, ‘This is the national game. We can win this.’

“Going into overtime is scary, but that’s the best way to do it.”

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.




By Trent Singer, 04/04/24, 10:00AM MDT




SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- It had been about two full decades since Gordie Mark officially hung up the skates, but the game wasn’t ready to let him go just yet.

For the past several years, one of his friends had been constantly bugging him to help with the Vegas Junior Golden Knights 16U youth team.

Eventually, Mark succumbed to his friend’s persistent badgering, and a few days after joining the team for a practice late last summer, his friend called with another proposition.

“He’s been after me for six or seven years, and I finally relented and thought it would be fun,” Mark said. “Three or four days later after I agreed to do it, he called back and asked me if I wanted to be the head coach of the girls team. We just went from there.”

In his first year as a coach at any level, Mark has guided the team to triumphant heights.

After leading them to a 16-0-0 record in the Pacific Girls Hockey League, the Golden Knights earned the No. 1 seed in mid-March at the 14UAA playoffs, where they qualified for a spot on the national stage.

Vegas Jr. Golden Knights Talking Hockey with Darren Eliot

16U T1ER Dixon Cup Championship: Las Vegas Golden Knights 4 vs. Indiana Elite 2

The Las Vegas Jr. Golden Knights were victorious against Indiana Elite in the 16U Championship game. After a silent first period, the Knights added three unanswered goals. Jaxon Sabataso, Carson Craig and Liam Butsavich all found the back of the net for the 3-0 Vegas lead. Late in the period, Jake McIntosh scored to put Indy on the board, 3-1. In the third period, Micheal Esposito scored getting Indiana within a goal, 3-2. Late in the third, Collin Spencer netted the final goal of the contest for a 4-2 final. Goaltender Jacob Brumm earned the win in net stopping 13 shots. 

VJGK 10U AA Crowned Fargo Squirt International Champions

VJGK beats Duluth in finals of the Fargo Squirt International tournament 6-1 to take home championship banner, the club's second time doing so.


  • 9-0 W vs. Team Gatorade
  • 7-2 W vs. Team Doritos
  • 3-1 L vs. San Diego Oilers
  • 3-2 W (SO) vs. Vermont Flyers
  • 3-2 L vs. Team Austria Stars
  • 6-3 W vs. Cole Harbor Red Wings
  • 6-5 W (SO) vs. Atlanta Flames
  • 3-2 L vs. Team Romania Wolves

12U AA Girls VJGK Take Home Win in Austin Last Weekend

Head Coach Sheri Hudspeth took led her VJGK team to a win in Austin TX at the Can/Am Challenge Cup.

The girls took all four games throughout the tournament with the help of some outstanding goaltending from Nicolette Gentile – including a shutout in the championship game. The team won the championship game, 1-0, with game-winning goal coming off the stick of Savannah Easton.


W, 3-1

W, 7-3

W, 6-1

W, 1-0

14UAA VJGK Dominate Halloween Bash in Vegas

The Vegas Junior Golden Knights 14U AA team showed dominance in the Halloween Bash in Las Vegas this past weekend, led by Wally Lacroix and Todd Owen.

The team played the Anchorage North Stars, Arizona Hockey Union and Golden State Elite in the tournament. The VJGK skated to a plus-20 goal differential as they ran the table in the tournament. They only gave up one goal throughout the weekend, backstopped by goaltenders Kameron Laskaska and Kellen Hardy. Everyone offensively joined the scoring as well. Every skater recorded at least one goal. Chase Nehring and Riley Mabutas led the way offensively as each earned themselves a hattrick.

The coaches were pleased with their teams play this week, specifically their forecheck pressure. They will now move on to play in the prestigious CCM invite in Chicago this weekend ads the tenth ranked team in the entire country.

The 12UAA Crowned Champions at Halloween Bash in Vegas

The Vegas Junior Golden Knights 12U AA took home the win this weekend at the Halloween Bash in Las Vegas, led by Brian Salcido.

VJGK  v. Utah Jr. Grizzlies  Final score 6-1

VJGK v Arizona Jr Coyotes  Final score 2-1

VJGK v. Dallas Penguins  Final Score  4-1

VJGK came into the championship game owning the first seed as they went undefeated and had the highest goal differential in the tournament. In the finals, they defeated the Golden State Elite Eagles, 2-1.

The Vegas Jr. Golden Knights 12U AA team wins the Ft. Lauderdale, Florida National Hockey Showcase event September 17-19, 2021. 

Every player scored over the course of six games where team went five and one.  The National Showcase Hockey Series features top Tier 2 organizations across the United States. 

Players were able to catch a Miami Marlins game and see crocodiles on a fan boat tour in the Everglades while in Florida.  

The next National Hockey Showcase event is in Nashville, TN October 22-25.

The Vegas Junior Golden Knights 10UAA won their division at the Inland Empire Tournament in Riverside, California.

The team went 4-0-1 over the weekend in some close matchups. The division only had three teams, but the tournament was competitive throughout. Almost every game was decided by two goals or less, except for the championship game where they won, 6-2. 

Friday, Sept. 3 – W, 7-4 vs. Jr. Gulls
Saturday, Sept. 3 – T, 4-4 vs. Jr. Ducks
Sunday, Sept .4 – W, 5-4 vs. Jr. Gulls
Sunday, Sept. 4 – W, 3-1 vs. Jr. Ducks
Monday, Sept. 5 – W, 6-2 vs. Jr. Ducks

In addition to a successful hockey weekend, the team had most of their Saturday off. Players, coaches, and parents had a fun day together at the beach. 

Overall, the U10 AA team had a great weekend. They won their division and spent time bonding – and that’s what travel hockey is all about.