PALM SPRINGS, C.A. – The Henderson Silver Knights will take on the Coachella Valley Firebirds at Acrisure Arena in their final preseason game of the season. Puck drop is set for 3 p.m.
The Silver Knights are coming off a 3-2 preseason victory against the Tucson Roadrunners. Forwards Jonas Rondbjerg and Mason Morelli, the latter an offseason addition to the team from the Calder Cup-winning Hershey Bears, scored in regulation for the Knights. Forward Jakub Brabenec, winner of the 2021-22 QMJHL Rookie of the Year, netted the shootout winner for Henderson.
Head Coach Ryan Craig was pleased with the Silver Knights’ effort after battling back twice to secure a victory in their first exhibition game. He’s looking to see the team get off to a faster start against Coachella, as well as to clean up some early penalties.
“I saw guys have some really good individual efforts tonight, and obviously it’s nice to win,” he said. “Obviously we don’t want to kill three penalties in the first, but our guys did a really good job [with that]. It gave us some momentum.”
“I think it’s important to get off to a good start, especially in an away game. If we do that and come out with a good effort, I think we’ll have a good game,” added forward Mason Primeau. “I like our team’s competitiveness, and if we come to play every night, I think we give ourselves a chance to win every single game.”
Both Vegas and Henderson are still finalizing their rosters, so the team hasn’t had much of a chance to build chemistry in what will be the team’s final lineup. Craig has encouraged his players to play to their strengths as they head towards the regular season as a way of building that team identity.
“There are some really good things that we saw, guys played to their roles [on Friday], it was really good to see,” he said.
To anyone in attendance at Friday’s game, it’s clear that his message is resonating with the Silver Knights.
“I just want to make sure that I use my size and speed to my advantage, be around their net and be difficult to play against,” said Primeau. “Hopefully that will help the team win however I can. I think it’s still early, there’s lots of different bodies in our lineup right now, but we’re finding as much chemistry as we can. I think that’s a really good thing to see, especially this early in the season.”
BEHIND ENEMY LINES
- Coachella’s first preseason game, a matchup against the Ontario Reign on October 6, was postponed due to a power outage in the area. This will be their first game of the preseason.
- Forward Kyle Jackson, a seventh-round draft pick of the Seattle Kraken in the 2022 draft, joins the Firebirds on an AHL contract this season. He recorded 170 points (71G, 99A) in 186 games played in the OHL. Jackson also scored 32 points (16G, 16A) in 32 career postseason games.
- Forward Cameron Hughes cleared waivers and was assigned to the Firebirds on October 6. He has played in a career 255 AHL games and 2 NHL games in six professional seasons. Last year, he scored 56 points (19G, 37A) in 61 regular season games with the Firebirds, as well as 23 points (4G, 19A) in 26 Calder Cup playoff games.
- Defenseman Connor Carrick also cleared waivers and was assigned to the Firebirds on October 6. He has played in a career 242 NHL games and 280 AHL games in 13 professional seasons. He has scored a career 50 NHL points (13G, 37A). He finished the 2022-23 AHL season with 44 points (6G, 38A) in 63 regular season games with the Providence Bruins, as well as 1 point (0G, 1A) in four Calder Cup playoff games.