The Rochester Knighthawks (9-7) managed to pull within a goal twice Saturday against the Albany FireWolves (3-12), but ultimately could not overcome an early three-goal deficit despite another 10-point performance by Connor Fields (2+8) in a 14-12 loss at Segar & Sciortino Field at The Blue Cross Arena.
The loss was the Knighthawks’ fourth straight and fifth in the last six games but just the second at home. The teams split the season series after Rochester earned a 14-13 victory in the previous get-together back on Dec. 17 at MVP Arena.
Fields paced the Knighthawks offense, factoring in on 10 of Rochester’s 12 goals, including a run of seven straight. The forward scored a pair of goals to go with eight assists to lead the team for the 13th time in his last 15 games. Fields, who reached the 100-point mark for the first time in professional career, tallied his 15th consecutive multi-goal game and has recorded at least one point in 45 of his 47 games of his NLL career, dating back to his rookie season in 2019-20.
Fields became the first player in franchise history and only the third American-born player in NLL history to record 100 points in a season, a feat previously accomplished by Joe Resetarits in 2018 and 2022 as well as Tom Schreiber this season. More impressively, he reached the mark on his 100th career goal.
Holden Cattoni (4+1) and Curtis Knight (3+2) both finished with five points while Thomas Hoggarth (2+1) and Ryan Smith (1+2) each added three points. Turner Evans, Matt Gilray and Mitch Ogilvie all registered three assists, which marks a career-high for Ogilvie.
Knighthawks netminder Rylan Hartley (9-7) made his 16th consecutive start between the pipes, stopping 37 shots in the defeat. Hartley had nine saves in the first, third and fourth quarters and 10 in the second.
Connor Kelly (5+2) scored a game-high five goals to go with his two assists for Albany, who entered the contest winless in its last 10 games. Marshall Powless (0+6) recorded six assists while Tanner Thompson (3+2) and Ethan Walker (0+5) each finished with five points. Jackson Reid (2+1), John Piatelli, Nick Chaykowsky (1+0) all scored while Colton Watkinson added one assist.
Goaltender Doug Jamieson (3-9) earned his third win of the season as he stopped 41 shots while also adding an assist in the win.
After seeing Rochester score three unanswered goals to finish the third quarter, Albany responded with a pair of markers from Thomson and Reid to reclaim a multi-goal lead just 2:09 into the frame.
The two clubs exchanged goals to make it a 13-10 score with under eight minutes to play before Hoggarth and Knight found the back of the net from Evans and Fields.
Rochester had two chances to even the score for the third time of the game but both times were unable to capitalize as Jamieson and the defense preserved the one-goal lead.
With less than a minute remaining in regulation, Albany nearly used all the 30-second shot clock before Kelly fired a seemingly innocent shot from near the restraining line that fooled Hartley to make it two-goal game.
100TH CAREER GOAL ✔️
100TH POINT ON THE SEASON ✔️ https://t.co/7KltRrY9ba
— Rochester Knighthawks (@RocKnighthawks) April 9, 2023
The Knighthawks pulled Hartley for the second time in the quarter in order to make one final push, but the clock had expired as they suffered the 14-12 loss.
Albany set the tone early, scoring just 51 seconds into the contest after Thomson found open space to give the FireWolves a 1-0 lead.
After setting up on the left side of the floor, Thomson darted his way through the slot and extended his reach to put a shot in behind Hartley from nearly behind the net for his 18th of the season.
Albany upped its lead by a pair just over five minutes later on a spectacular individual effort from Chaykowsky. The FireWolves defender intercepted an errant pass and sprinted the length of the floor before converting on a breakaway opportunity. The unassisted goal was just his second goal of the campaign.
Kelly, who assisted on Thomson’s early marker, padded the visitor’s lead to 3-0 with his first of back-to-back goals. Kelly took advantage of an open lane to the net and fired a shot over Hartley’s right shoulder.
As the first quarter was nearing its completion, Rochester cut into the deficit when Hoggarth connected on a feed from Fields with 17 seconds remaining. After spinning away from his defender along the right wall to elude coverage, Fields found a wide-open Hoggarth, who then picked the upper corner on a screen provided by Austin Hasen to make it a 3-1 game.
Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee 🐝
Thomas Hoggarth gets Rochester on the board pic.twitter.com/pNhlkuz3YG
— NLL (@NLL) April 8, 2023
The FireWolves, much like they did in the first, picked up where they left off as Kelly converted from long range just 14 seconds into the second quarter to restore Albany’s three-goal advantage.
Cattoni brought the Knighthawks within a pair with his first of three goals in the contest at 10:38, but Reid answered 15 seconds later in transition off the face-off followed by Piatelli at 9:12 as Albany took its largest lead of the night.
Trailing 6-2 with less than six minutes to play in the half, the Knighthawks went on a two-goal run of their own beginning at 5:39 when Fields found Smith streaking through the slot. Smith accepted the pass in stride and took two more steps before sailing a shot over the shoulder of Jamieson.
Cattoni added his second of the night following a series of nifty passes from Smith and Fields but prior to the completion of the half, Albany took a 7-4 lead into the break as Thompson capitalized on the power-play with 39 seconds remaining.
Following the half, Cattoni scored his second of the matchup as he was set-up by Fields, who provided the pick on the play, and Knight 1:53 into the third.
That’s ✌️ for Holden Cattoni tonight! pic.twitter.com/NQUHga4Nff
— Rochester Knighthawks (@RocKnighthawks) April 9, 2023
Less than 30 seconds later, though, the FireWolves countered as Fox wrapped around the back of the net on a dunk from Powless and Walker, restoring the three-goal advantage.
Fields brought the Knighthawks within a pair of goals as he connected on his third attempt of a possession from Evans and Knight, however, Albany scored a pair to make it a 10-6 score with just over two minutes remaining in the frame.
Rochester closed out the quarter with three consecutive goals, two of which were by Knight with one coming on the man-advantage.
To begin the final frame, Albany, which held a 10-9 lead at the start, scored three of the first four tallies to take another three-goal advantage with 7:43 to play.
Hoggarth and Knight beat Jamieson 14 seconds apart to bring Rochester within one but the FireWolves did not allow the Knighthawks to force their second straight overtime game as they held on for the win.
The Knighthawks look to snap their four-game skid on Saturday, Apr. 22 when they host the Georgia Swarm for the third and final meeting of the season. The 7:00 p.m. faceoff at Segar Sciortino Field at The Blue Cross Arena will be carried live on Big 107.3 FM as well as ESPN+.