The 2017-18 season will get underway for the Phoenix Knights this weekend, as they welcome the Valencia Flyers to AZ Ice Gilbert for a three-game series.
Phoenix is coming off a two-game preseason schedule that concluded last Saturday. The Knights came out of the preseason with a 1-1-0 record, defeating NAU’s ACHA D-III team at home (8-2) and dropping the contest to NAU’s ACHA D-II team on the road (5-3).
Up Next: Valencia Flyers
The Flyers are consistently one of the elite teams in both the Western Division and the Western States Hockey League. They’ve finished in the top three spots in the division each of the last six seasons, including finishing first in 2015-16 and second in 2014-15 and 2016-17. Last year’s team went all the way to the semifinals at the Thorne Cup Finals in Ogden, before losing to Idaho.
This season, Valencia has gotten off to another strong start. They opened their regular season last week at home against the Arizona Hawks. The Flyers swept all three games against Arizona, outscoring the visitors 40-10 in the process. Over the three games, 15 of their 17 skaters picked up points, and they had 14 different goal scorers.
Opening Weekend Festivities
Throughout our season opening weekend, we’ll have ticket deals, prizes and a lot of fun.
Friday – Get the Party Started
For the season opener on Friday, we will have raffle baskets, café specials and treats. All adults purchasing a ticket will also be entered into a drawing for the chance to win a season pass.
Before the game, and during the intermissions, you can enjoy some music in the lobby provided by a live DJ.
Saturday – Black Out the Rink
Help us black out AZ Ice Gilbert this Saturday. Admission is only $5 for anyone who wears black to Saturday’s game against Valencia.
Players to Watch
1. Arunas Bermejo – Bermejo had a good showing last Friday night against NAU’s ACHA D-III team. Now, he’ll have the chance to do well against his former team, the Flyers. Bermejo spent part of last year with Valencia, where he had five goals and 15 assists in 22 games.
2. Michael Caravella – Caravella’s captaincy officially begins this weekend. The team will want to get off to a quick start, and the team will be looking to their leader to set the tone.
3. Chase Gillaspie – Gillaspie is a leader on the blueline. His task, along with the rest of the team, is to shut down a Valencia attack that put up 40 goals over three games last weekend.
1. Joseph Hebert (5G, 10A in 3GP) – Hebert put up huge numbers in the season opening series against the Hawks, and he got better each night. In the opening game, he had 2 goals and 2 assists. In game two, he had a one goal and four assist night. Then to close out the series, he scored twice and added four assists to his point total.
2. Jason Hickman (5G, 9A in 3GP) – To say that Hickman and Hebert know how to play on the same line is an understatement. On each of Hebert’s goals, Hickman had assists. Hebert also assisted on three of Hickman’s five goals last weekend.
3. Jakob Kranabetter (3G, 10A in 3GP) – Typically, if a player has 13 points after three games, you could expect them to lead the team, but not this time around. Kranabetter joins Hebert and Hickman with double-digit point efforts in the season opening series. He’s currently 7th on the WSHL all-time scoring list, two points behind former Phoenix Polar Bear Josh Laricchia. He’ll need to continue to put up big points this season to reach the top spot on that list. Kranabetter is currently 99 points away from Tomas Nemeth’s 325 career points.
Friday, September 29 at 7pm – vs. Valencia
Saturday, September 30 at 7pm – vs. Valencia
Sunday, October 1 at 1pm – vs. Valencia
Friday, October 6 at 8:30pm - @ Ontario
Saturday, October 7 at 7:30pm - @ Ontario
Sunday, October 8 at 2:30pm - @ Ontario
Saturday, October 14 at 7pm – vs. Long Beach
Sunday, October 15 at 4pm – vs. Long Beach
Monday, October 16 at 1:30pm – vs. Long Beach