Weekend watch list: Oct. 27-29

Photo: Kate Dibildox

Patrick Williams, TheAHL.com Features Writer

The Henderson Silver Knights welcome the Ontario Reign to Dollar Loan Center today at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT to start another busy weekend of hockey across the AHL.

The matinee contest kicks off Nevada Day celebrations, commemorating Nevada’s statehood on Oct. 31, 1864.  Silver Knights players will wear themed jerseys during the game, which will then be auctioned off to benefit the Henderson Silver Knights Foundation.

With new head coach Ryan Craig and an offseason overhaul, Henderson has gotten off to a 5-1-0-0 start, tops in the Western Conference. They are fresh off a 4-3 overtime win at San Jose on Wednesday, and their 4.17 goals per game rank them fourth in the AHL going into the weekend.

The Reign have won three games in a row, all one-goal decisions, as they finish a four-game road trip. David Rittich had a 41-save night on Wednesday in a 1-0 victory at Coachella Valley.

Las Vegas hockey fans can make it a doubleheader as the parent Vegas Golden Knights stage their own holiday game, hosting the Chicago Blackhawks at 6 ET/3 PT. Vegas (7-0-0) and Henderson have combined to win 12 of their first 13 games this season.

It will be a busy weekend in Tucson as the Roadrunners welcome Bakersfield for a pair of games.

Saturday’s contest will feature the season debut of the Roadrunners’ El Lazo jerseys. The team has collaborated with the city of Tucson to celebrate southern Arizona’s Hispanic heritage. The skull of the team’s Roadrunner mascot is featured to mark Dia de los Muertos and the All Souls Procession. El Lazo is Spanish for the lariat (lasso) that is featured on Tucson’s city seal. The skull also features a cowboy hat that honors the area’s ranching history as well as the Tucson Rodeo and Parade held each February.

The El Lazo identity began in 2020-21 and earned the Roadrunners the AHL’s marketing campaign of the year award at last summer’s Team Business Meetings. El Lazo nights at Tucson Arena also features themed music and bilingual video presentations.

To reach out further to the local community, the Roadrunners launched a Spanish-language website last season as part of their #VamosTucson campaign. The team auctioned off last season’s El Lazo Jerseys and raised $15,000 for charity across southern Arizona.

The long-standing Lehigh Valley Phantoms-Hershey Bears rivalry takes center stage in the AHLTV Free Game of the Week on Saturday (7  ET/6 CT).

Fresh off their AHL-record 12th Calder Cup championship, the Bears are out to a 4-2-0-0 start. They swept a three-in-three road swing in New England last weekend, but begin the weekend without their playoff MVP goaltender Hunter Shepard, who made his NHL debut in net for the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night.

The Phantoms have added blueline prospect Emil Andrae on loan from the Philadelphia Flyers. Andrae, 21, played four games with the Flyers to begin this season after making his North American debut with the Phantoms last spring; he was taken in the second round of the 2020 NHL Draft.

Saturday marks the 294th regular-season game all-time between the Phantoms and Bears.

An AHLTV account is required to watch the AHLTV Free Game of the Week, but no subscription is needed. Visit AHLTV.com for details.