Nearly half of the Silver Knights’ current roster already skated at T-Mobile Arena, whether it was an NHL regular-season game or in the preseason.
In the case of Jack Dugan and Layton Ahac, their experience came during a college touranament.
That didn’t make Saturday any less special.
The Knights played their first game at the home of their parent club and came away with a 5-3 victory over the San Jose Barracuda before an announced crowd of 3,830.
“We’ve had that circled on our calendar for a long time,” coach Manny Viveiros said. “You could even tell this week during practice there was an extra jump in our step, too. Obviously this is where all these kids want to be and eventually play full time here. It was good for them to have that experience.”
Pavel Dorofeyev scored twice, including a power-play goal to put the Knights on top 4-2 in the third period. Jack Dugan added an empty-net goal to seal his team’s second straight victory.
Cody Glass finished with a goal and two assists to help keep the Knights in first place in the Pacific Division by points percentage with four games remaining.
The teams meet again Tuesday at Orleans Arena before the Knights host second-place Bakersfield in a three-game series to close out the regular season.
“I think that might be a bit of a war,” forward Ben Jones said.
The Knights are fighting for the top seed and home-ice advantage throughout the postseason tournament to decide the champion of the Pacific Division.
The American Hockey League announced Friday that fourth- through seventh-place finishers will participate in a single-elimination tournament May 18 and 19 with the winner advancing to the best-of-three semifinals.
“We’re trying to get as high as we can and get more team points,” Dorofeyev said through a translator. “In this situation, the more games we can play, the more experience we’re going to have. It’s going to be really interesting, especially for us first time in the American Hockey League to feel that atmosphere to play in playoffs.”
Pucks on net
The Silver Knights ranked 21st out of 28 teams in shots on goal per game (27.29) entering Saturday but adjusted their philosophy in an effort to test goalies more often.
Starting with the 44-shot effort in an overtime win at San Diego on April 25, the Knights averaged 37.3 shots on goal in the past four games while going 2-2.
“When we shoot pucks we seem to retrieve them pretty quickly,” Jones said. “I think we just decided that we were going to try to get more pucks to the net and play a meat-and-potatoes style of game rather than try and make the pretty backdoor pass that sometimes doesn’t end up working out well.”
Silver Knights scoring leaders (through Saturday)
Pos Player Goals Assists Points
LW Danny O’Regan 13 18 31
F Jack Dugan 9 22 31
D Ryan Murphy 5 21 26
RW Lucas Elvenes 6 18 24
RW Dylan Sikura 11 10 21
F Gage Quinney 10 6 16
C Ben Jones 6 8 14
D Jimmy Schuldt 6 7 13
RW Paul Cotter 5 8 13
W Pavel Dorofeyev 8 3 11