LAS VEGAS — In Las Vegas, it’s hard to bet against a team with a player named Dice.
Dak Dice was among three different Idaho Jr. Steelheads players who scored goals in a 3-0 victory over Traverse City in the UHU national tournament’s opening round.
The Steelheads — who are the back-to-back defending national champions — outshot the Hounds 44-16, including 23-4 in the opening 20 minutes.
Idaho gave the Hounds a shot for the third-period comeback, taking five penalties. Traverse City was 0 for 6 with the man advantage.
Macky Power scored in the first period off a Victor Carlsson assist, Kyle Williams struck in the second period and Dice tacked on an empty-netter with 1:34 remaining.
David Krejcik made 41 saves on 43 shots he faced, while Idaho’s Danny Kowalski stopped all 16 shots fired his way.
The Soo Firehawks — the Midwest Junior Hockey League’s other entrant in the six-team field — won their opening-round game 6-5 over the AHI Fighting Spirit.
The Hounds and Firehawks face off today at 10:15 a.m. PST, with Traverse City needing a win to bolster its hopes of advancing out of the round-robin stage. The Hounds play the Jersey Shore Wildcats on Friday at 1:15 p.m. PST.