Shawn Slaght, All Lacrosse All The Time – A Division of the Edge of Philly Sports Network
Playing the first-ever NLL lacrosse game at the Michelob Ultra Arena, the Panther City Lacrosse Club spoiled the Las Vegas Desert Dog’s home opener 9-3 on Friday night in Sin City.
Before any lacrosse was played, there was an opening ceremony welcoming the Desert Dogs to Las Vegas in front of 7,072 fans. The all-star ownership group of Wayne Gretzky, Dustin Johnson (represented by Janet Gretzky), Steve Nash, and Joe Tsai were introduced and the club was given the key to the Las Vegas Strip.
To the game, it was a low-scoring affair up to the fourth quarter. PCLC only held a slim 4-3 lead heading into the final frame but rattled off five goals in the fourth while shutting out the Desert Dogs.
Really, it was the trio of Will Malcom (1g 3a), Patrick Dodds (1g 3a) and Dean Fairall (2g 1a) that gave the Desert Dogs’ defense fits all night. Despite Brandon Clelland winning the faceoff battle 9 to 6, Las Vegas’ offense struggled to find any momentum.
PCLC jumps out of an early lead
Fairall opened the scoring 1:27 into the first quarter on the man advantage. Fairall’s quickstick shot got by Las Vegas’ starting goaltender Landon Kells.
Will Malcom would make it 2-0 as he rifled a shot into the back of the net with 10:46 left on the clock in the first.
It was a low-scoring affair right off the hop as Panther City held a 2-0 lead after the first quarter.
History made in the second quarter
It took until the 6:39 mark of the second quarter, but it was Jacob Ruest who made history at the Michelob Ultra Arena, or the Dog House as they are calling it. Falling to the turf, Ruest’s shot beat PCLC goaltender Nick Damude for the first ever home goal for the Desert Dogs.
Will’s brother Tony Malcom would get in on the action with 3:04 on the clock to make it 3-1 for Panther City.
Phil Caputo would round out the first half scoring to extend PCLC’s lead to three by a score of 4-1.
All Las Vegas in the third
The Desert Dogs found some momentum in the third quarter, scoring a pair of goals while keeping Panther City off the scoreboard.
Wiley veteran Zack Greer scored on the power play 2:08 into the third quarter for his first goal as a member of the Desert Dogs.
Charlie Bertrand would then pick up a rebound off Greer’s shot at 5:42 and bury it to narrow Panther City’s lead 4-3.
PCLC dominates fourth quarter
Panther City would rattle off five straight goals in the fourth quarter to spoil the Desert Dogs’ home opener.
Jonathan Donville opened the scoring 1:48 into the quarter for his first-ever NLL goal to make the score 5-3.
Only 13 seconds later, Tony Malcom scored his second of the game off a feed from Tyler Burton to extend Panther City’s lead to 6-3.
With John Wagner in the penalty box for Las Vegas serving a five-minute high sticking call, Panther City took full advantage. Patrick Dodds scored the first power play goal with 3:53 left to play. Cameron Wengreniuk added the second power play goal 51 seconds later to make it 8-3 for the guys in purple.
Fairall rounded our the scoring with 1:31 left to make it 9-3. That final goal did sit well as off the ensuing faceoff Burton and Rob Hellyer dropped the gloves for a tilt.
Make the final score 9-3 for the Panther City Lacrosse Club over Las Vegas in the Desert Dogs’ home opener.
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Shawn Slaght has been a sports reporter across the Canadian prairies for over 10 years and has experience covering everything from junior hockey to World Cup skiing to all levels of lacrosse. He is the Saskatchewan correspondent for All Lacrosse All The Time.