ABBOTSFORD, CA – The Henderson Silver Knights will take on the Abbotsford Canucks in the first of a two-game weekend series this evening. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.
Head Coach Ryan Craig returns to his hometown of Abbotsford to square off with the Canucks in their first matchup of the season. There’s plenty to be happy about regarding Henderson’s start to the season, namely their 6-2-0 start. For Craig, it’s how the Silver Knights have accomplished those six wins that stands out to him the most.
“I think our guys finish games,” he said after Friday’s morning skate. “I think that’s the thing we’ve gotten down, and in a couple of those [games], we’ve had to make pushes to come back. But credit to our guys, any time we’ve asked them to step up their defending or clamp down, they’ve done a really good job of that. And it’s also led to some good offense for us.”
Another major impact: the recent addition of Alex Swetlikoff to the Silver Knights’ lineup. He made his AHL debut against the Ontario Reign on October 27, scoring his first career AHL goal in that game. He then tallied another against the San Diego Gulls.
“Good on him for coming back strong,” said Craig of Swetlikoff’s return from the Knights’ ECHL affiliate, the Savannah Ghost Pirates. “He’s been elevated in between Denisenko and Rempal for now, and he’s earned that spot. We want him to focus on his 5 on 5 game, focus on his own end and supporting the puck, and defending in the d-zone. It’s led to some good offense for him.”
BEHIND ENEMY LINES
- Forward Arshdeep Bains leads the AHL with 15 points (3G, 12A) in 9 games. He is currently on a six game point streak, going 2-9-11 in over those matchups. Bains played 66 games for Abbotsford last year, scoring 38 points (15G, 23A). He joined the Canucks after tallying 112 points (43G, 69A) in 68 games with the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels.
- Goaltender Artūrs Šilovs has started 6 of Abbotsford’s nine games this season. He is 3-1-1, averaging 3.97 goals against with a .875 save percentage. He made his NHL debut with the Vancouver Canucks last season, playing five games for them that year. He finished his NHL season with a 2.75 GAA and a .908 save percentage. Šilovs also played 10 games for Latvia in the World Cup last year.
- The Silver Knights and the Abbotsford Canucks are tied to lead the Pacific Division with 12 points in the standings. The Silver Knights are 6-2-0, while the Canucks are 5-3-1, having played one more game than Henderson has so far.
- Defenseman Dysin Mayo and forward Tyler Benson are both expected to play tonight, per Craig.
- Forward Gage Quinney is day-to-day
- Forward Jakub Brabenec is day-to-day
- Forward Jakub Demek is day-to-day