HENDERSON, N.V. – The Henderson Silver Knights begin a three-game home stretch before the Christmas break against the Coachella Valley Firebirds. The Knights have played the Firebirds only once so far this season, a 5-4 home victory. Henderson will also be celebrating Lucky Launch, the team’s annual teddy bear toss game. Tonight’s game will air on Vegas 34, with puck drop set for 7 p.m. PT.
The Silver Knights are returning to home ice after a five-game road trip, including three straight wins in their most recent matchups. The team is looking to build on that momentum heading into tonight’s matchup.
“We’ve played the right way,” said Head Coach Ryan Craig after Wednesday’s morning skate. “We’ve defended well, worked away from the puck, worked above the puck. We’ll need to continue to do all of those things against a really good hockey team tonight.”
The players are eager to carry those strong habits into this matchup, especially after their most recent home games contributed to a frustrating stretch of hockey.
“I think we’re definitely a little hungry,” said captain Jake Bischoff. “Last time we were home, our homestand didn’t really go how we wanted it to. But we’ve been playing some good hockey recently, so hopefully we can keep that going and win some at home.”
- Forward Adam Cracknell has five points (4G, 1A) in the team’s last five games. His 12 goals lead the Silver Knights this season. Cracknell also scored the first Henderson hat trick of the year on December 9 against San Jose.
- Grigori Denisenko and Brendan Brisson both carry three-game point streaks into tonight’s game. Denisenko has four assists over that stretch, including a two-point night against Ontario on December 13. Brisson has tallied a goal and three assists over that same stretch.
- Mason Morelli netted a two-goal night in the Silver Knights’ 3-1 victory over the San Diego Gulls. It marks his first multi-goal game of the season. Morelli’s 15 points rank fifth on the team, and his seven goals likewise stand fifth.
BEHIND ENEMY LINES
- Forward Max McCormick leads the Firebirds in both goals and points, notching 23 (11G, 12A) in 21 games this season. He has scored six points in the team’s last five games, including a three-game point streak. McCormick returned to Coachella for his second season with the organization. He finished the 2022-23 season with 67 points (28G, 39A) in 71 regular season games and 27 points (14G, 13A) in 26 Calder Cup playoff games.
- Coachella’s only qualified goaltender, Chris Driedger, is currently recalled to the Seattle Kraken. The Firebirds have been dividing starts between Jack LaFontaine, Ales Stezka, and Cale Morris. Over Stezka’s six starts, highest in that group, he has averaged 4.03 goals against with a .879 save percentage. Morris has started just one game for Coachella, their 1-0 loss against the Colorado Eagles.
- Goaltender Jesper Vikman is week-to-week
- Forward Mason Geertsen is day-to-day