HENDERSON, N.V. – The Henderson Silver Knights return home for their first contest of the season against the Coachella Valley Firebirds. The Silver Knights are coming off of a hard-fought road win against the Colorado Eagles, with Grigori Denisenko scoring his second overtime winner of the season. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. PT.
The Silver Knights know the importance of a good start. After six games where their opponent scored the first goal, captain Jake Bischoff stated the importance of coming out with a strong start against the Eagles. He put the Knights on the board first in that game, and the players look forward to building on that against the Firebirds.
“I think it’s just important to come out hot,” said defenseman Dysin Mayo on Wednesday morning. “We’re playing against a good team here, they’re the defending champs in our conference. They have a lot of returning players, so we know that they’re going to be good this year and play hard. So it’s just important to play our game, keep it simple, and get pucks deep.”
“I think that’s the other important part for us, is just the 200 foot game. I think when we get carried away with trying to make too many plays at the blue line, that’s when we get in trouble. So we just need to focus on getting pucks in deep and working our forecheck.”
For Head Coach Ryan Craig, a good start was just one of many elements that the Silver Knights improved upon against the Eagles. He’s looking for them to do the same in Wednesday’s matchup.
“Especially last game, I thought our support was better,” he said after Wednesday’s morning skate. “Five guys involved in all three zones. Our puck decisions were better.”
“We made good decisions with the puck, and when we’ve needed a timely save, whether it’s been [Jiri Patera] or [Jesper Vikman,] we’ve gotten that from them. So it’s an opportunity again for Jiri here again tonight to help get that going.”
BEHIND ENEMY LINES
- Forward Cameron Hughes, now in his second season with the Firebirds, leads the team with 11 points (1G, 10A) in 10 games. He scored 56 points (19G, 37A) in 61 games with Coachella last season, as well as 23 points (4G, 19A) in 26 Calder Cup playoff games.
- Forward Max McCormick, Coachella’s captain, leads the Firebirds in goals with four. His 10 points (4G, 6A), also stands second on the team. He led the team in goals during the 2022-23 Calder Cup playoffs, with 14.
- Goaltender Chris Driedger has started eight of Coachella’s games this season. He is averaging 1.90 goals against, which ranks fifth in the AHL, with a .928 save percentage.
- Forward Jakub Brabenec is day-to-day
- Forward Jakub Demek is day-to-day
- Goaltender Jesper Vikman is week-to-week