The Knights will play their final three regular season home games this weekend, taking on the visiting San Diego Sabers at AZ Ice Gilbert. Phoenix enters the weekend in the fifth spot in the Western Division, trailing Valencia by six points.
Up Next: San Diego Sabers
San Diego has not had the season they were hoping for under first-year head coach Petr Kankovsky. Despite coming into the weekend in last place in the division, the Sabers could be riding some confidence. On the road in Valencia last weekend, the Sabers took three of a possible four points against the Flyers. They lost the first game in double-overtime, and then came back the next night to beat the Flyers 4-3 in regulation. The win snapped a 16-game losing streak that dated back to the Western States Shootout in December.
To finish the regular season, the Sabers will face Phoenix, Valencia and Ontario, so they may be looking to take the role of spoiler over the next few weeks. Those three teams are all battling for playoff positioning, and the Sabers will have a say in where they end up.
The Knights have had success against San Diego this season. They’ve gone 9-0-0 against the Sabers, but it hasn’t been easy. During the series in San Diego in November, the Knights needed a pair of comebacks to earn the victories. One comeback featured three Knights goals in the final 2:12 of the third, and the second had the Knights coming back from a 4-0 deficit to eventually win the game 5-4 in overtime.
This is the first time in Phoenix Knights history that they’ll face a team 12 times in the regular season. Their previous best records against an opponent in a single season were 6-0-0 against the Las Vegas Storm in 2015-16 and the Arizona Hawks in 2016-17.
Players to Watch
This weekend will be a celebration of the junior careers of the six Phoenix Knights who are aging out at the end of the season. Rather than just picking three of them to watch this weekend, we’re going to say watch them all. They have all played parts of multiple seasons with the organization, and have been a big reason why the Knights have had the turnaround season they’ve had this year.
1. Michael Caravella (12G, 34A in 40GP)
2. Chase Gillaspie (2G, 11A in 32GP)
3. Arunas Bermejo (15G, 31A in 41GP)
4. Colton Seeman (5G, 5A in 12GP)
5. Zachary Kowalchuk (4G, 1A in 6GP)
6. Juraj Housa (3G, 18A in 37GP with Valencia)
We put together a short highlight video showing some of their best moments this season.
1. Karel Kankovsky (11G, 33A in 43GP) – The top scorer for San Diego comes in the form of their top defenseman. Kankovsky has one more season of eligibility remaining after this year, and is a great building piece going forward for the Sabers. He’ll look to continue his production this weekend against the Knights, a team he has a goal and five assists against this season.
2. Michal Kolarik (19G, 22A in 41GP) – Kolarik is the team’s top goal-scorer, and has the chance to hit the 20-goal mark this weekend. He recently came off an eight-game point streak when he had three goals and ten assists over that span.
3. Biko Neuenschwander (7G, 12A in 40GP) – Another defenseman who plays a key role for the Sabers is Neuenschwander. The 20-year-old from Boise, Idaho had one of his best games of the season last weekend in Valencia, netting a goal and two assists in San Diego’s 2OT loss. He has a goal and two assists in nine games against the Knights this season.
Friday, February 23 at 7pm – vs. San Diego
Saturday, February 24 at 7pm – vs. San Diego
Sunday, February 25 at 1pm – vs. San Diego
Thursday, March 1 at 7:45pm (8:45pm AZ time) - @ Long Beach
Friday, March 2 at 7:45pm (8:45pm AZ time) - @ Long Beach
Saturday, March 3 at 6:15pm (7:15pm AZ time) - @ Long Beach
End of Regular Season