TONIGHT’S GAME OVERVIEW
The Rochester Knighthawks (2-5) return home following a season-long three-game road swing tonight looking to halt a four-game slide as they host the intrastate rival Albany FireWolves (4-3) on Military Appreciation Night at Segar & Sciortino Field at The Blue Cross Arena. The 7:00 p.m. contest will be the second and final meeting between the Eastern Conference rivals this season and will be carried live on 107.3 FM The Bull as well as ESPN+.
|2021-22 NLL STATS PACK
|KNIGHTHAWKS PLAYER BIOS
|2021-22 FIRWOLVES STATS
|2021-22 KNIGHTHAWKS STATS
|2021-22 NLL STANDINGS
|LISTEN LIVE ON 107.3 FM THE BULL
SEASON SERIES SNAPSHOT
A win tonight would not only give Rochester its first win on home turf this season but would also secure the season sweep for the Knighthawks, who claimed the only other get-together with Albany and did so in dominating fashion by way of a 16-7 thrashing back on Dec. 18 at Times Union Center. It marked Rochester’s most lopsided victory in franchise history. For the third straight week, Holden Cattoni (4+5) paved the way for the Knighthawks offense with a team-high nine-point effort with four goals and five assists, while rookie forward Ryan Smith (3+2) had his first multi-goal effort in the NLL while adding on two assists. Rookie forward Charlie Bertrand (3+2) continued his torrid start to the 2021-22 campaign with three goals and an assist, while forwards Shawn Evans (1+4), Curtis Knight (1+4), Thomas Hoggarth (1+3) and Turner Evans (1+4), defenseman Doug Utting (1+0) and transition man Ryland Rees (1+0) all produced a goal apiece. Knighthawks goaltender Rylan Hartley (1-0) got his first start of the 2021-22 campaign, making 27 saves on 31 shots. It marked Hartley’s first win of the season and first since Feb. 29, 2020 against the New York Riptide. Netminder Joel Watson made his first appearance of the year, getting 11:54 of action and making eight saves on 11 shots. The teams also combined for 112 penalty minutes, 74 of which came in the final frame, culminating with a goalie between Hartley and Albany’s Ethan Woods. The Knighthawks remain the only team this season that hasn’t scored the first goal of the game while the FireWolves have opened the scoring five times through their first seven games, showing a 3-2 record when doing so. Rochester’s strongest quarter this season has been the second, during which they have outscored the opposition 23-13. Albany, conversely, has been outscored 18-14 in the second frame.
WATCH: TONIGHT’S FACE-OFF FIRST LOOK
LAST TIME OUT
Trailing 10-4 entering the fourth quarter, the Knighthawks reeled off four straight goals to put the Buffalo Bandits on their heels, but the NLL’s top team was able to survive the late push from Rochester and hold on for an 11-8 win last Saturday at KeyBank Center. Forwards Shawn Evans (2+4) and Curtis Knight (3+3) both recorded six-point outings while also combining for 21 shots for Rochester, which has dropped its last four games. With his first of two goals on the night, Evans, who played two seasons in Buffalo, surpassed Josh Sanderson for ninth all-time in NLL history with 450 career goals. Holden Cattoni (1+1) and Mike Burke (1+1), who made his season debut with the Knighthawks, both produced a pair of points. Turner Evans (0+3), Ryland Rees (1+0), Charlie Bertrand (0+1) and Paul Dawson (0+1) all found the scoresheet, respectively. Dawson, who had a game-high 16 penalty minutes, became the eighth player in league history to record 500-plus penalty minutes. Goaltender Rylan Hartley (1-4) made his fifth straight start in the crease for Rochester.
WATCH: MIKE HASEN PRE-GAME
EVANS ON THE MOVE
Two weeks after becoming just the fifth player in league history to reach 800 career assists, joining the likes of John Tavares, Josh Sanderson, Dan Dawson and Colin Doyle, Shawn Evans added another milestone to his already illustrious 16-year NLL career this past Saturday in Buffalo by scoring his 450th career goal to move ahead of Sanderson for ninth on the all-time list. He reached the mark with his first of two goals on the night before adding four assists. The two-time NLL MVP now trails Doyle by 48 assists for fourth all-time. He also needs just six more penalty minutes to pass Geoff Snider for third on the all-time list with 583. Evans, who in 2019-20 became just the sixth player in NLL history to record 1,200 career points, enters the weekend leading Rochester with 23 assists and 30 points in seven games. He’s tied for ninth in the league in assists is 18th in overall scoring among the league’s top point-getters.
HEAD OF THE ROOKIE CLASS
The Knighthawks come into the weekend owning two of the NLL’s top eight scoring rookies in forwards Ryan Smith and Charlie Bertrand. Smith, who’s new to the indoor game after leading Chaos to the 2021 PLL Championship this past summer, has taken his first NLL season by storm. Averaging more than three points per game, Smith ranks sixth in rookie scoring with 19 points while also ranking fourth with 12 assists. His seven goals are equal to that of Bertrand, tying for fifth-most among all first-year players. Rochester’s third overall pick in the 2020 NLL Entry Draft, Smith has scored two of his seven goals this season on the power-play, which are tied for second-most among rookies. He also ranks fourth with 42 shots, trailing only Jeff Teat, Ethan Walker and Bertrand in that category. Bertrand, a three-time NCAA National Champion, ranks seventh among NLL rookies in points (16) and is tied for fifth in goals (7). He also leads all rookies and is tied for second in the league with two shorthanded goals. Bertrand has recorded at least one point in all seven matchups this season and has at least one goal in each of his las four contests. Both he and Smith recorded hat tricks in the 16-7 win over Albany on Dec. 18, representing the only time this season Rochester had multiple players finish with three or more goals.
WATCH: PAUL DAWSON PRE-GAME
HARTLEY HANDLING BUSY WORKLOAD
Following the early-season departure of veteran goaltender Evan Kirk, who was placed on the Holdout List for the remainder of the season, Hartley has become a mainstay between the pipes for Rochester. The 23-year-old has started the last five straight games for the Knighthawks, going 1-4 and totaling 202 saves over that span, including a season-high 48-save effort last week against Buffalo. Acquired by Rochester in the third round of the 2019 NLL Expansion Draft, Hartley ranks 11th among all netminders in saves and 12th in minutes played (269) while his .805 save percentage is fifth-best coming into the weekend.
WATCH: THOMAS HOGGARTH PRE-GAME
SCOUTING THE FIREWOLVES
After starting their inaugural season 0-2 following their 16-7 loss to Rochester back on Dec. 18, the FireWolves have been one of the hottest teams in the league since, winning four of their last five games to move into fourth place in the NLL’s Eastern Conference standings. Albany’s lone loss in that span came last weekend after splitting a home-and-home series with the Georgia Swarm with each team winning at home. Joel Resetarits combined for 19 points (7+12) over the two-game weekend set to up his team-leading point total to 37 on the season. Resetarits, a former Knighthawk in the previous organization, ranks sixth in scoring in the NLL while continuing to pace the FireWolves in all offensive categories in goals (16), assists (21) and points (37) in seven games. Averaging over five points per game, Resetarits is also tied for sixth in the NLL in goals and 13th in assists. The Hamburg, NY, native has scored at least one goal in all but one game this season and has four hat tricks over a six-game span. A two-time Mann Cup winner, Resetarits is no stranger to the Capital Region having played his collegiate lacrosse career as a standout at the University of Albany. He scored a goal in every game over his four-year stint with the Great Danes and was named an All-American.
Defenseman Joe Nardella, who ranked among the NLL’s top face-off specialists in 2019-20, leads the NLL with a 70.4% success rate after winning 114-of-162 face-off attempts. Goaltender Doug Jamieson, whose started all seven games this season for Albany, is tied for second in the NLL in wins (4) and ranks third in saves (260) while his 9.88 goals-against average is eighth best. He’s also played the third-most minutes among all NLL goalies (419).
- Thomas Hoggarth is 10 points away from reaching the century mark for his pro career.
- Albany forward Joe Resetarits played five seasons with the previous Knighthawks franchise from 2015-19, during which he recorded 279 points (109+170) over 78 career games.
- His capped off his final full season in 2017-18 in historic fashion, establishing career-highs in goals (37), assists (63) and points (100), becoming the first American-born player to log a 100-point season in league history. He was later selected to the NLL All-Pro Second Team.
UP NEXT FOR THE KNIGHTHAWKS
The Knighthawks remain at home on Saturday, Feb. 26 for one final go-around with the NLL-leading Buffalo Bandits at Segar & Sciortino Field at The Blue Cross Arena. Opening face-off is slated for an 8:00 p.m. start and will be carried live on The Bull 107.3 FM as well as ESPN+. Fans can stay up to date all season long with the latest news, stories and notes at www.rochesterknighthawks.com.