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The Silver Knights’ line charts have looked a little different over the past few weeks. A combination of injuries and callups to the Vegas Golden Knights has challenged multiple players to step into the shoes of top-six roles.

For forward Daniel D’Amato, those shoes have fit just fine.

He’s tallied four goals over the team’s last six games, including a shorthanded tally against the second-place Tucson Roadrunners. So, what’s been the key to his success in this greater role?

“I want to keep things simple and stick to my game,” D’Amato said. “I feel like sometimes people try and change their game when they move up the lineup or get new opportunities. But my game’s what got me here, and I think it’s working so far.”

“I’ve tried not to get away from what makes my game good and what makes me effective. But I think one of the things that’s working for me this year is trying to slow down the game a bit for myself mentally,” he added. “Obviously I always play with pace, but there are times where I feel like I can slow it down a bit and help make plays, help get into scoring spots where I’ve been rewarded.”

That fast-paced play has not gone unnoticed.

Tune into any Silver Knights broadcast, and you’re almost certain to hear “with speed on the forecheck” whenever D’Amato takes the ice for a shift. General Manager Tim Speltz praised not only his speed, but also the growth in D’Amato’s game after a juniors career hindered by a COVID-canceled season.

“I think he’s taken steps every year,” Speltz said. “I think what we’ve characterized him as a late developer, and I think now we’re seeing that. He’s taken the necessary steps. And Daniel’s got good speed, really good speed. So when he’s using that, it’s been a good asset for him. He’s been shooting the puck more, and I think he’s seen the results from that, too.”

These first and second line chances aren’t just earned because of production. They’re also a reflection of D’Amato’s dedication to the coaches’ instructions. As far back as development camp in July, Head Coach Ryan Craig emphasized the importance of a defensive, 200-foot game at the professional level.

It’s a message that has clearly paid off for D’Amato.

“I think what’s allowed me to get that opportunity up the lineup has been focusing on my details defensively,” added D’Amato. “I’ve been around a lot of people that have said that if you can get the trust of the coaches, and they trust to play you, that you’ll be able to get opportunities. And on the PK, that’s where they’ll show trust. I still have a long way to go, but I’ve really focused on that, and I think it’s helping.”

And while D’Amato’s game has taken strides, it is not a journey he has taken alone.

“The older guys have been great, really showing us how to grow our game and play the right way,” he said. “We work hard every day, because we all want to get better. But they’re also making sure that we’re treating people with respect, doing the right things, and that’s what they’ve built our dressing room off of. I think that will go a long way for us as players and as people.”

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