Last year it was really fun to watch Rochester Knighthawks forward Ryan Smith flourish in his first season in the National Lacrosse League. This year, it’s been really exciting to watch newcomer Connor Fields come into his own as the Knighthawks’ number one guy on the floor.
But…what happens when you start to combine the offensive talents of Fields and Smith? You get two of the league’s top offensive players evolving into one of the most dynamic pairings with a connection unlike any other.
Exactly like last Friday night against the Buffalo Bandits when the pair connected on five of Rochester’s 10 goals.
A hatty from Smitty on Saturday night 🎩 🎩 🎩 pic.twitter.com/sHzxTj2scF
— Rochester Knighthawks (@RocKnighthawks) February 6, 2023
“They’re both highly creative players,” said Knighthawks general manager Dan Carey when asked about the connection that Fields and Smith have. “They both have very good vision and a lot of skill. They’re both players that really, are training hard throughout the week and they’re ready to play.”
Fields echoed Carey with, “Our games are similar in terms of always being in attack mode. Ryan does a great job at putting defenders on their heels and he is such an unselfish player. It’s a lot of fun to play with players like that and I believe everyone on our team is very unselfish.”
The similarities in the duo’s physical skillset are transparent on the floor, however, it’s the unique mindset that they share that is really allowing Fields and Smith to flourish together this season.
“It definitely makes it easier,” began Smith when asked how having another guy on the floor with his same mindset helps elevate his personal game. “We know where each other want the ball and where we like to shoot from and just how we want to position ourselves when the other one has the ball in their sticks.”
And preparation is a big factor in the mindset that Smith and Fields share.
“We’ve seen their success this season and a big part of that is their preparation,” continued Carey when talking about the Knighthawks offensive duo in Fields and Smith. “Them connecting is a big part of that (preparation) as well as the work that they put in throughout the week and knowing that they’re going to have the ball on their stick because those guys are always ready. They’re gamers.”
3 more goals and 7 more points for Connor Fields last night 🤯 pic.twitter.com/JQEepWeXdm
— Rochester Knighthawks (@RocKnighthawks) February 5, 2023
Gamers is one way to put it. Both Fields and Smith are in the tops in all offensive categories when it comes to the Knighthawks 2022-23 roster.
Fields leads the team with his 46 points and 24 goals, while his 22 assists are tied for second. Smith is tied for second on the team with 39 points, third in goals (17) and first in assists (23). Not to forget that the Knighthawks have registered 15 power-play markers on the season, in which the duo has combined for nine.
It also helps that Smith and Fields became instant friends at the start of training camp this season.
“I feel like we got along really well right from the start and definitely became close friends in training camp and at the start of the season,” explained Fields on his relationship with Smith. “Becoming friends that fast has really helped us be on the same page and helped us figure out where the others were going to be on the floor.”
Smith more so laughed at the question but agreed by saying, “We are definitely very good friends. He (Fields) fits right in.”
Fields, Smith and the Knighthawks return home this Saturday, Feb. 11 when as they host the Halifax Thunderbirds for the only time this season at Segar & Sciortino Field at The Blue Cross Arena. Opening face-off is slated for 7:00 p.m. and will be carried live on Big 107.3 FM as well as ESPN+.