The 2022/23 Season began last night with the Knights winning 5 – 3 over the Port Moody Panthers. Its been a all hands on Deck off season for Coaches Andy Liboiron, Ryan and Greg Ross. They’ve been running summer season teams, scrimmages, practices and dry land sessions. Recruiting has been the big focus and bringing key players into the Knights Lair. So, an early win in the Pre-Season will go a big way in helping with those last remaining talent they’d like on the team. And the Kids from Whalley delivered last night in Port Moody.
The game saw a goal early from 16 year old Ben Filippone which was his first in Junior Hockey. From my perspective it was a slick little snap shot from the left point on the powerplay that went top shelf. Thompson and Moledina built the play for him and he finished it off. At this point eye brows were raised and voices in the crowd could be heard saying “what just happend?”
Well, what just happened was the Knights put their stamp on the game and were winning 1 – zip. The Panthers answered that goal by taking over play for a time, peppering rookie goaltender Maddox Osaka from the Knights. He put on a clinic of coolness and looked like Neo in the Matrix as everything seemed in slow motion for him. However, at the end of his 1/2 game the Panthers were able to squeeze 1 goal by him. The game was tied 1-1 when Robbie Toor answered the bell for the Knights on a pass from Filippone and Kirit Sran snipped one top cheese and put the Whalleyites up 2-1 after period #1. The Knights were out shot in the period but they held the lead with making the most of their chances.
The Second Period was a see-saw battle in which the Panthers held most of the play outshooting the Knights and potting another goal, making the game 2 – 2. They really amped up the pressure but Osaka and DJ Cash answered nearly all of their scoring attempts. And in the end the period ended 2- 2.
The third period saw the Panthers continue to pepper the Knights and take a 3-2 lead and things started to look like the usual way the Knights would lose in previous years. However, something happend and slowly but surely the Knights picked themselves up and took control of the game. Connor Luft burried one on a pass from Evan Basic and Bryce Mueske! All of a sudden it was 3-3!!! And game on!! The Kids stole the momentum at that point and all of a sudden they were outshooting the Panthers. It was at that point Noah Melanson scored on a pass from Sraj Mann and all hell broke loose!!! It was 4-3 Knights with under 8 minutes to go. And the Knights didn’t let up….they kept up their shot barrage on the Panther net minder and Nolan Foster snipped one on a pass from Toor. That was it, game over for the Panthers. And bringing home 2 points for Coach Andy!
It remains to be seen what happens in the rest of the pre-season but for now Knights fans enjoy this victory. Next Exhibition game comes thursday Sept 1 at the Knights lair.