It feels like every week we’re talking about reaching milestones when it comes to the Rochester Knighthawks. Earlier this season, rookie forward Thomas Vela was posting his first two goals in the National Lacrosse League, while forward Ryan Smith was surpassing the century mark for points not even a full two seasons in the league.
However, these individual milestones don’t happen without the team backing these players up.
“It’s great. It means that, as a team, we’re having success,” said Knighthawks general manager Dan Carey when asked how much fun it’s been watching his team achieve so many personal and franchise records already this season.
“The little successes are important to kind of touch on, but then move on and look to what’s next and, collectively as a group, we are focused on winning lacrosse games and competing for a championship. Those are the milestones that we want that everybody involved in.”
While the Knighthawks may be producing a season that’s strung together by a total team effort, it’s also equally important to highlight the milestones that were achieved this past weekend. After all, we know there’s only more to come for this team with seven games remaining in the Knighthawks 2022-23 season.
CONNOR FIELDS – SETTING THE FRANCHISE SINGLE SEASON SCORING RECORD
The previous franchise record in points was established last season by forward Holden Cattoni, when he posted 63 points on 27 goals and 36 assists. That number has since been surpassed after first-year Knighthawk Connor Fields posted another seven-point effort this past weekend in the 9-8 loss to Toronto.
And it comes just 10 games into the season for Fields.
“We knew he (Fields) was dynamic and we knew that he was a player that, given more opportunity, was going to have success,” explained Carey when asked if he envisioned Fields having so much success here this season. “What we expected was that this was going to be a good fit for him to help us have success as a team, but know he was going to be a guy that individually was going to have the potential opportunity to have that success.”
After Saturday’s seven-point performance, Fields is now just one shy from matching his previous career-high of 67 he set last season with Buffalo. The forward sits at sixth in the league with his 66 points, while his 33 goals are second. Additionally, Fields has gone on to post a hat trick in eight of his 10 games with Rochester during the 2022-23 campaign.
With 2 goals and 7 points on Saturday, Connor Fields broke the single-season franchise record for points.
Fields now has 66 points on the season with seven games remaining in the season! pic.twitter.com/uZBZDdnRdQ
— Rochester Knighthawks (@RocKnighthawks) March 6, 2023
He also needs just three more goals to set the new single season record currently held by Ryan Smith (35).
RYLAN HARTLEY – SINGLE-GAME FRANCHISE RECORD 56 SAVES
While Knighthawks goaltender Rylan Hartley made his 11th consecutive start between the pipes, the netminder went on to stop a season and career-high 56 shots against the Toronto Rock on Saturday night. Not to forget, all of these stops made by Hartley were in just his third loss of the year.
“It’s kind of validating what we thought and what we were expecting from him,” said Carey when asked what his thoughts were on the season Hartley has strung together. “He’s learning a lot through these experiences of playing and wins and losses. So, it’s great to see on our end, but this is kind of what we expect because he’s a guy that has had a lot of success at every level that he’s played, and he’s got the tools.”
Success is one word for the season Hartley is having this year.
The third-year Knighthawk has started every single game for Rochester this season, piecing together an 8-3 overall record which is good for a second place spot in the Eastern Conference standings. Hartley’s eight wins on the year rank second just behind Toronto’s Nick Rose and Buffalo’s Matt Vinc, while his 465 saves are second in the NLL.
Last night, Rylan Hartley set a franchise record for most saves in a single game with 56.
Hartz is simply unreal 🤯 pic.twitter.com/0PVCmqtwDW
— Rochester Knighthawks (@RocKnighthawks) March 5, 2023
Additionally, in just his first full year as a starter, Hartley has racked up the most minutes between the pipes when it comes to league goaltenders with 662. That’s enough validation proving how critical Hartley has been for the Knighthawks to see the success they’ve had this season.
The Knighthawks remain on the road this Sunday, Mar. 12 when they head south to meet the Georgia Swarm for the second of three meetings this season. The 4 p.m. face-off at Gas South Arena will be carried live on Big 107.3 FM as well as ESPN+.