Knights finished off their stretch of 4 straight home games with a 3-1 record, winning the last 3 games in a row.
Starting off the home stretch was PG program, Middlesex Bears, from Byfield, MA. The Bears showed up game 1 firing on all cylinders, as they jumped out to an early 2-1 lead, before finally winning the game 6-1. However, game 2 of the series had a different outcome.
The Knights did a better job jumping out to an early lead in the game, as this time they started with the 2-1 lead after the 1st period. In the 2nd period, the teams traded goals entering the 3rd period with the Knights leading 3-2. In the 3rd period the Bears grabbed the momentum early scoring a couple goals to go up 4-3. With time ticking down the Knights found themselves running out of options, until Timur Nigmatullin scored the game tying goal with 27 sec remaining in regulation. After a scoreless OT, the Knights would take it in the shootout on goals from Riley Smith and Logan Stanislas, and Jason St. Pierre shut the door on 2 of the 3 Bears shooters to preserve the victory.
Next up for the Knights was perennial EJEPL powerhouse Boston Jr. Rangers. The Rangers, fresh off of a Semi-final appearance in the EJEPL Playoffs arrived in Burlington with hopes of putting a stop to the Knights winning ways. Game 1 found the Knights and Rangers trading goals, with the eventual game winning goal from Sam Begin, coming with just 6 sec remaining in regulation. The Knights would win Game 1 by the score of 4-3.
Game 2, was the Knights Senior Night, as they recognized 11 seniors to come through the program. Similar to Game 1 the Knights and Rangers traded goals with the score all even heading into the 3rd period tied at 2. Again, the Knights relied on late heroics as Scott Mueller put home the Zach Prive rebound to win the game by the score of 3-2.
The Knights look to continue their winning ways in the playoffs as they face St. Michael’s College in the play-in game at Ridley College Feb. 19-21.
Knights Senior Comments from Coach Vickers –
This 2 year player has been a force offensively from the blue line. His skating ability has made him one of the best offensive defenseman to come through the Rice program. Unfortunately a knee injury cut his senior year short, but the future is bright for this student-athlete. From Tampere, Finland #12 Jan Silvala
This player’s versatility has had a big impact on the program this season. Having the ability and the willingness to play wherever he has been asked has been a huge help to the Knights. Everyone is hoping for a speedy recovery heading into playoffs. From Montreal, Quebec #13 Stefano Caucci
In his one season with the Knights, this player always seemed to come up with big plays at big moments. He didn’t waste any time scoring a goal in his first game as a Knight. From Kiev, Ukraine #7 Timur Nigmatullin
In this player’s one season with the Knights he has been a consistent force throughout the season. His size and skating ability has helped him to grow consistently throughout the season. From Merano, Italy #11 Patrick Pirri
Though only a 1 year player with the Prep team, this 3 year Rice Varsity player’s energy and work ethic have had a tremendous impact on the program. This player came in with an infectious attitude that helped him quickly gain the respect of his teammates and coaches. From Colchester, VT #24 Colby Audette
This first year Knight has helped solidify the goaltending position. His calm and steady demeanor has helped lead the Knights in wins this season. From Montreal, Quebec #31 Kevin Belanger
This two year player has always played his best against the stiffest of competition. His flare for the big save and ability to shutdown teammates in practice, forces everyone to work that much harder to try and put the puck in the net. We know that no matter what, he is always going to give his best to help the team win. From Williston, VT #30 Shea Spanier
This two year player has always been a physical force on the blue line. His energy both on the ice and in the weight room has added a sense of intensity to every practice and workout. His ability to score big goals will be sorely missed next season. From Sherbrooke, Quebec #3 Sam Begin
This two year player came to the team as a pass first, playmaker, and has developed into one of the most prolific goal scorers in program history. His energy and work ethic is second to none and demands the best out of his teammates. From Helsinki, Finland #10 Konsta Jaakola
These final 2 players have literally grown up in the program and epitomize what it means to be a student-athlete at Rice.
First, this 3 year player is not only a National Honor Society member but has one of the highest hockey IQ’s to come through the program. His quick release and ability to read the play, makes him dangerous every time he has the puck. From Charlottetown, PEI #22 Captain Riley Smith
Finally this four year player is the first in the seven year history of the program. The 2nd player in program history to reach the 100 point plateau, this player’s skating and hard nosed style has helped him go down as one of the all time point leaders in program history. From Williston, VT #9 Captain Cooper Norton