DALLAS — For people who don’t live in Las Vegas, it might be hard to quantify just how much the Knights mean to this city. After all, they played their triumphant first season during the immediate aftermath of 1 October. It formed a bond with the people of Vegas that will never be broken.
Tragedy struck Las Vegas again when a gunman shot and killed three professors and wounded another in UNLV’s Beam Hall on Wednesday. The all too familiar sound of sirens and alarms pierced the air, with emergency vehicles shutting down everything within two to three miles of the airport, including all roads to and from the airport. It was revealed within an hour that the gunman was eliminated by campus police officers as soon as he stepped out of Beam Hall.
While their home city was in a state of shock and disarray, the Knights were in St. Louis preparing for a game against the Blues. A sobering reality set in for Vegas residents and surely the team. For the second time in their brief seven year history as a franchise, the Knights had the responsibility of bringing Las Vegans together and giving them reprieve in the wake of a mass shooting.
This time, the opportunity to bring the community together for a moment was immediate. Puck dropped in St. Louis just six hours after the shooting rampage began. The Blues honored the victims with a moment of silence as the iconic UNLV block text logo adorned the scoreboard. This also meant that Knights updates and fan reactions were streaming in at the exact time as crucially sought after updates from the tragic events earlier in the day. It was a stark reminder that life must go on. Even in Vegas, even after unspeakable tragedy.
The Knights came out slow Wednesday night, which was understandable given the circumstances. The Blues got out to a 3-1 lead in the first period. However, the Knights notched an inspiring effort over the next two periods, outscoring the Blues 5-1 for the rest of the game for a 6-3 win. It was a resilient comeback effort that resembled the city the team represents.
Saturday’s effort was far less dramatic, but every bit as meaningful. With their fathers traveling with them to Dallas, the Knights were the ones who built a 3-1 first period advantage over the Stars. Unlike the Blues, they managed to pad their lead instead of blowing it. A second straight six-goal effort for the Knights resulted in a 6-1 final in the Metroplex.
This month has been far kinder to the Knights than last. They’ve have won four of five to start December after winning just three times in their final 11 games in November.
The Knights are back at home against the Sharks tomorrow for a 7 p.m. start at T-Mobile Arena.