HENDERSON, N.V. – The Henderson Silver Knights will face off against the San Jose Barracuda in their home opener at The Dollar Loan Center. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.
The Silver Knights will look to continue their win streak after back-to-back victories over the Iowa Wild on October 13 and 14. The season opener saw goals from Sheldon Rempal, Byron Froese, and Adam Cracknell to earn the Silver Knights a 4-2 victory in their first game of the year. They then defeated the Wild, 7-3, on October 14 to sweep the weekend series. The team saw three-point nights from Rempal and Grigori Denisenko, with additional goals from Froese, Cracknell, Brendan Brisson, and Tyler Benson.
Goaltender Jiri Patera started both games for the Silver Knights against Iowa. He stopped 30 of 32 shots in the first game and 31 of 34 in the second.
Sheldon Rempal hasn’t just picked up right where he left off – he’s gotten even better after a strong offseason of work. He tied to lead Henderson in goals for the 2022-23 season and stood second overall in points. This year, his five-point performance (3G, 2A) against the Wild earned him first star for both games, as well as the Howie’s Hockey Tape/AHL Player of the Week Award.
“I don’t think I can put it on just one thing,” he said. “I think we’re playing a really strong team game right now. The guys are clicking early, it is early, but it’s nice to be able to build on that here.”
“I think the biggest thing right now is that we’re just moving our feet. You can’t do much when you’re standing still. Our whole [power play] unit’s been clicking well, too, and I think we’re doing a good job at just taking what the other team is giving us and not making mistakes or forcing anything. So it’s been nice to have success.”
After back-to-back wins on the road to begin the season, the Silver Knights couldn’t have asked for a better start. But they’re eager to get back to Henderson and welcome the fans who give them such a strong home-ice advantage.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun – this place is the best,” Rempal said. “I don’t know another American League setup like this, and the fans are the best I’ve ever seen. It’s going to be a lot of fun, and I know all the guys are looking forward to it.
“I think the excitement’s high, especially after a good weekend [last week],” added forward Gage Quinney. “We’re excited to come home now and play in front of our fans. I think for the new guys, just seeing how loud this building gets, there’s a lot of excitement in the locker room.”
After two victories, especially one with as large of a margin as October 14, there are plenty of positive takeaways for Head Coach Ryan Craig. One major one: the whole-team effort that he saw throughout both matchups.
“We got contributions from everybody,” he said after morning skate. “Even some of the guys that didn’t get a point, I thought they were really good. We just need to continue to build our game, individually and as a team, and I think we’re seeing that.”
“And we’re excited for [Sheldon Rempal,] too, it’s carried over into this week of practice. He’s found different ways to get to the net: deflection, 5 on 5, a power-play goal. And then he’s out there with the empty net, and he’s really responsible with the empty goal, so good on him for that, too.”
BEHIND ENEMY LINES
- Forward Justin Bailey leads the Barracuda with 4 points (1G, 3A) in 2 games. He scored the game-tying goal in San Jose’s 7-2 defeat of Rockford on October 14. He additionally collected two assists on both of Ryan Carpenter’s goals. He joins the Barracuda after scoring 32 points (19G, 13A) in 58 games for the Bakersfield Condors last year. In 82 career NHL games, split between the Buffalo Sabres, Philadelphia Flyers, and Vancouver Canucks, he scored 9 points (5G, 4A).
- Goaltender Georgi Romanov made his AHL debut in that October 14 victory. He stopped 26 of 28 shots against for a .929 save percentage. He joins the AHL this year after spending time with both Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg of the KHL and their VHL affiliate, Gornyak-UGMK. He finished his VHL season with 2.81 GAA and a .907 save percentage.
- Forward Ryan Carpenter leads the Barracuda with two goals in two games. He has tallied 3 points (2G, 1A) so far this season. He split the 2022-23 season between the New York Rangers and the Hartford Wolf Pack, finishing with 3 points (1G, 2A) in 22 NHL games and 44 points (21G, 23A) in 51 AHL games. He has scored 72 points (27G, 45A) in 330 NHL games over the course of his career.