HENDERSON, N.V. – The Henderson Silver Knights will take on the Tucson Roadrunners at The Dollar Loan Center in their first preseason game of the season. Puck drop is set for 6 p.m.
The lineup for tonight’s game is not yet set, but there are plenty of familiar names on the Silver Knights roster. Forwards Byron Froese (0G, 1A, +2) and Sheldon Rempal (1G, 0A) suited up for the Golden Knights this preseason after strong seasons last year with Henderson. Rempal tied to lead the team in goals, second in points, and Froese finished seventh overall in points.
The team has also been bolstered by veteran additions like Adam Cracknell and Mason Morelli. Cracknell finished with 53 points in 64 games, as well as 2 points in 3 games during the Calder Cup playoffs. Morelli, who won the Calder Cup with the Hershey Bears last season, tallied 41 points in 72 regular season games as well as 13 points in 20 games during the playoffs.
Head Coach Ryan Craig – and the Henderson players – are equally excited to get the season underway.
“We’re very excited to get going. I think we’ve had a really good first four days of camp, and [now] we get to play an exhibition game,” he said. “I think our guys are so excited to play, that’s kind of been the theme around here – guys are excited to get to it, because we know we’re a week out from starting for real.”
“The first two days were obviously high-paced, yesterday we did some special teams as well,” Craig added. “We were really happy with how it went on both sides of the puck. I think guys are itching to play against somebody other than their teammates, so we’ll get going with the games this weekend and then break camp.”
“But we don’t want too many power plays and penalty kills. A nice number would be good so you get a little bit of practice with that, obviously. But a lot of 5 on 5 play allows us to evaluate what we want with our guys. We want guys getting game reps in situations where they’ll be being used when we break camp, so it’s just a matter of guys getting their touches and reps.”
Forward Tyler Benson noted that speed has been the emphasis of training camp so far, and they’ve relished the opportunity to rise to Craig’s expectations.
“They’ve been good. The practices have been high-paced, a lot of energy,” said Benson. “I think we’re going to play a fast game, high-paced, like I said. I just can’t wait to get onto that first game.
BEHIND ENEMY LINES
- Defenseman Vladislav Kolyachonok returns for another season with the Arizona organization. He appeared in 34 games with Arizona and 104 with Roadrunners over the last two years, talling 21 AHL points and 3 NHL points.
- Goaltender Matthew Villalta joins the Roadrunners after four years with the Ontario Reign. He finished last season with a 2.65 GAA and .910 save percentage in 22 games.
- Defenseman and former Silver Knight Peter DiLiberatore joins the Roadrunners after splitting last season between the Knights and the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins in the AHL. He scored 5 points (2G, 3A) in 30 total games last season.