Airdrie Knights win season opener
The Airdrie Knights kicked off the 2012 season with a 10-7 win over the Spruce Grove Slash, May 5 at the Grant Fuhr Arena in Spruce Grove, thanks to a couple of rookies.
Steve Schorn and Jordan Ferguson, both first-year players with the Knights, were the difference makers in the game, each recording a goal and an assist.
“We started off slow in the first period,” said Knights head coach Gareth Barley. “Guys are still getting used to each other and we had some players in new positions, but we started to pull together and play our game. We stayed fairly disciplined, and defensively we could’ve been better, but all in all it was a good game.”
The Knights opened the scoring, but soon fell behind 4-2 in the first period. The second saw the Knights add four goals and head into the third with the score locked at six. The Slash scored first in third period to take a 7-6 lead, but the goal would be the team’s last, as the Knights rallied through a couple of unsportsmanlike penalties to bring the final score to 10-7.
Ferguson scored the team’s sixth goal on the power play and Schorn’s goal, which tied the game at seven, came on the penalty kill.
“We had (Schorn) pegged as an offensive lefty,” said Barley.
“We knew he had some offensive upside, but we weren’t sure how he’d fit in our lineup. It was a big, gritty performance from him. (Ferguson’s goal) pulled us closer, and both were very timely. You’re not expecting that from first-year players, so they’re looking to be good assets for the team.”
The Knights played their home opener against the Okotoks Raiders, May 11 (after press time), at the Pete Knight Arena in Crossfield, an opponent the Knights are quite familiar with. They swept the Raiders in three games during last year’s playoffs, and the match is the first of four this season.
“It’s always a heated rivalry between our two teams,” said Barley.
“We’re working on our defensive system and on working it into our transition game. We need to stay on top of things and make sure everyone’s focused.”