The Rochester Knighthawks (1-2) dropped their preseason finale to the Albany FireWolves (1-2) by an 11-7 score Saturday night at Segar & Sciortino Field at The Blue Cross Arena.
Shawn Evans finished with a team-high five points (1+4) to lead the Knighthawks offense while newcomer Jeff Wittig as Rochester closed out the preseason with a 1-2 record. Ryland Rees, Ryan Smith, Curtis Knight and Turner Evans rounded out the scoring for the Knighthawks.
Veteran goaltender Evan Kirk (1-1) made his second appearance in the crease during the 2021-22 preseason and was handed his first loss, stopping 32 shots. Goaltender Rylan Hartley (0-1) wrapped up the game in the crease for the Knighthawks, making saves on all eight shots he faced in the fourth quarter.GAME SUMMARY
FireWolves defenseman Jackson Nishimura (1+1) netted his squad’s first goal of the night, while defenseman Curtis Conley (1+0) followed suit 4:50 later. Forward Jordan Durston (3+0) notched Albany’s lone multi-goal effort with three goals, while transition player Colton Watkinson (1+0) and defenseman Nick Ellerton (1+0) all knocked in a goal apiece. Forwards Reilly O’Connor (1+0), Andrew Kew (1+0) and Joe Resetarits (1+1) all accounted for Albany’s fourth-quarter markers.
Goaltender Doug Jamieson made the start in the crease and got the win for Albany, making 40 saves on 47 shots he faced.
WATCH: MIKE HASEN POST-GAME
Albany stormed out to a 4-0 lead beginning with Nishimura notching his first of two points on the night just 4:08 into the contest before the FireWolves tacked on three more goals in the opening quarter.
Rochester, however, would answer with a four-goal run of its own when Ryland Rees snagged a pass from Shawn Evans to send his third of the preseason into the back of the net. Shawn Evans received a nifty flip-back pass from Thomas Whitty to start the play. About 30 seconds later, Wittig bounced a shot through the slot on a delayed penalty with an extra attacker on the floor.
With 2:27 left in the first quarter, the Knighthawks went on the power-play down 4-2. As Rochester wanted to take advantage of the extra-man opportunity, Smith waited for the Albany defense to over-commit and sniped one in for his second of preseason and to bring the Knighthawks within one.
The second frame was quieter than the first as there was just one goal between the two clubs while Kirk made eight saves on all eight shots he faced.
Rochester’s lone goal of the frame came from a perfectly executed hidden ball trick. Shawn Evans acted as if he was cradling the ball in front of the crease, however, Turner Evans was the one who had possession. Turner then came from behind the net to deliver Rochester’s fourth consecutive goal to tie up the matchup at four apiece heading into the half.
WATCH: SHAWN EVANS POST-GAME
Coming back from the half, it wouldn’t take long for Albany to regain its lead with a goal 1:54 into the third quarter from Ellerton.
Trailing again by a goal, they Knighthawks embarked on their third power-play opportunity of the night with 9:51 to go in the third. For the second time of the game, Turner Evans notched a goal, this time on the power-play, to tie up the tilt with an assist from Shawn Evans. The Knighthawks then went back-to-back to take their first lead of the game. As defenseman Mitch Ogilvie (0+1) led the way down the floor, he dumped a pass back to Knight, who took it to the crease for a 6-5 lead for Rochester.
However, the Knighthawks lead was short-lived, as Albany went back-to-back to take another one-goal lead with 2:07 to go in the third frame.
WATCH: CURTIS KNIGHT POST-GAME
Heading into the fourth quarter, Albany took its largest lead of the night after a five-goal run for a 10-6 advantage. O’Connor notched the FireWolves’ fifth transition marker of the night before Kew capitalized on the man-advantage followed by a goal from Resetarits.
The Knighthawks did find the back of the net in the final stanza on the penalty kill. With 4:58 to go, the Knighthawks recovered four loose balls during their short-handed possession before Shawn Evans converted on a highlight reel behind-the back-shot for Rochester’s seventh goal of the night.
Just 45 seconds later, Albany’s Durston completed the hat trick to seal the 11-7 win for Albany.
WATCH: PAUL DAWSON POST-GAME
The next time the Knighthawks hit the floor will be for Opening Weekend of the 2021-22 National Lacrosse League regular season on Saturday, Dec. 4 when Rochester travels to Long Island to take on the New York Riptide at Nassau Coliseum. Game time is slated for 7:30 p.m.