TONIGHT’S GAME OVERVIEW
The Rochester Knighthawks (2-3) continue their season-long three-game road swing tonight as they venture north of the border for an Eastern Conference showdown against the six-time NLL champion Toronto Rock (2-3) at FirstOntario Centre. The 7:00 p.m. matchup will be the first of two meetings between the two teams this season and will be carried live on 107.3 FM The Bull as well as ESPN+. The contest will also be broadcast nationally across Canada on TSN as the NLL’s featured game of the week.
|TEAM ROSTERS||GAME NOTES|
|2021-22 NLL WEEK 9 STATS PACK||KNIGHTHAWKS PLAYER BIOS|
|2021-22 ROCK STATS||2021-22 KNIGHTHAWKS STATS|
|2021-22 NLL STANDINGS||LISTEN LIVE ON 107.3 FM THE BULL|
SEASON SERIES SNAPSHOT
The Knighthawks are 0-2 all-time against the Rock after dropping both matchups to Toronto during their inaugural 2019-20 campaign. After defeating the Knighthawks in Rochester by a 14-11 score, the Rock completed the season sweep the following week at home in a rematch with a narrow 13-12 win. A thrilling back-and-forth offensive battle came down to the final minute with Rochester ultimately coming up short. Holden Cattoni (5+4) led the way offensively for the Knighthawks, notching the fourth five-goal game of his pro career, while also adding four assists for a career-high nine-point night as he eclipsed the 200-point mark in his pro career. Shawn Evans matched Cattoni with a nine-point effort (2+7) of his own to become just the sixth player in NLL history to reach 1,200 career points. The two-time NLL MVP factored in on each of Rochester’s first six goals of the night. Both teams come into the matchup with 2-3 records on the season and are coming off back-to-back losses. Rochester has scored seven more goals than Toronto while the Rock have allowed six fewer goals-against. Even more interesting is that the Knighthawks are 2-1 on the road this season while Toronto is 2-1 at home where they have outscored the opposition 35-32. Both franchises are also 2-0 this season when leading after three quarters with the Knighthawks being one of only three teams across the league to have winning records on the road.
LAST TIME OUT
On a night forward Shawn Evans added another monumental milestone to his already illustrious National Lacrosse League career, a second-half surge by the Philadelphia Wings proved to be too much for the Knighthawks to overcome as Rochester began its three-game road swing on the short end of an 18-10 decision last Saturday at Wells Fargo Center. After going into the half with a two-goal lead, the Knighthawks were held to just three goals over the final 30 minutes of play as the Wings outscored Rochester 13-3, including 8-1 in the third quarter. Rochester forward Thomas Hoggarth (3+2) paved the way for the team’s offense with his three goals and two assists on the night, while reigning Knighthawks Offensive Player of the Year Holden Cattoni (2+1) and forward Turner Evans (2+0 both had two-goal efforts. Transition players Ryland Rees (1+0), Matt Gilray (1+0) and forward Curtis Knight (1+1) all added a goal apiece. Veteran forward Shawn Evans (0+6) collected a team-high six assists to add to his overall stat line for the 2021-22 campaign, becoming just the fifth player in league history to reach 800 career assists with the primary helper on Cattoni’s first-quarter buzzer-beater. Goaltender Rylan Hartley (1-2) made his third start of the 2021-22 campaign, logging 39:05 in the crease and getting the loss while stopping 35 shots. Rookie goaltender Joel Watson came into the game during the third quarter for his second relief appearance of the season, logging 20:55 in the net and making 11 saves. The duo collectively faced a season-high 64 shots-against throughout the contest.
CATTONI CATCHING FIRE EARLY ON
Cattoni has wasted little time in picking up right where he left off from the 2019-20 season. His explosive start to the season has him tied for eighth in the NLL in scoring with 26 points while continuing to pace the Knighthawks in goals (12) and points (26) through his first five games. The reigning Offensive Player of the Year is tied for fourth in the league in goals and continues to rank among league leaders with 14 assists. Cattoni, who along with Shawn Evans remain the only two Knighthawks to record at least one point in each of the franchise’s 17 games dating back to the 2019-20 season, is also fifth in the league with a team-best 56 shots. He opened the season with straight hat tricks and 10 goals in his first three games.
ROOKIE KNIGHTHAWKS BEGINNING TO TAKE FLIGHT
The Knighthawks come into the weekend owning two of the NLL’s top six scoring rookies in forwards Charlie Bertrand and Ryan Smith. Bertrand, who’s new to the indoor game following one season in the PLL with Redwoods, has taken his first NLL season by storm. Bertrand, who is averaging just under three points per game, is tied for the league lead in goals among all NLL rookies (7) and ranks sixth in scoring among all first-year players with 13 points overall. He’s also tied for second in the league with two shorthanded goals. Smith’s 14 points, meanwhile, are fifth-most amongst all NLL rookies coming into tonight. Rochester’s third overall pick in the 2020 NLL Entry Draft, Smith has scored two of his five goals this season on the power-play, which are tied for second-most among rookies. His 35 shots on goal trail only Jeff Teat of the New York Riptide for most by a rookie this season.
EVANS JOINS ELITE COMPANY, CONTINUES TO CLIMB
After becoming just the sixth player in NLL history to record 1,200 career points during the 2019-20 season, Shawn Evans continues to climb up the league’s all-time scoring lists. With his first of six assists last Saturday against Philadelphia, Evans became 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. The 16-year pro and two-time NLL MVP trails Doyle by 52 assists for fourth all-time and needs just three more goals to move ahead of Sanderson for ninth all-time with 450. He also needs just eight more penalty minutes to pass Geoff Snider for third on the all-time list with 583. Following a six-assist effort last Saturday against Philadelphia, Evans is tied for third in the NLL with a team-high 19 assists, all but one of which have come at full strength. He’s second on the team in scoring with 22 points in five games.
DAWSON FAMILY REUNION
It’s a family reunion again tonight in Toronto for the Dawson brothers, but this time as opponents. The siblings have been somewhat of a packaged commodity over their combined 32 years in the NLL, having been teammates numerous times throughout their careers, including six seasons in Rochester with the previous Knighthawks franchise from 2013 to 2018. The duo won back-to-back NLL titles in 2013 and 2014 during the organization’s historic run of three straight league championships. Prior to playing alongside one another in Rochester, the Dawson brothers were also teammates in Boston (2009-10) and Philadelphia (2012) and were reunited against most recently during the 2018-19 season in San Diego.
SCOUTING THE ROCK
Toronto returns its core four from the 2019-20 season in forwards Dan Craig, Rob Hellyer, Tom Schreiber and Dan Dawson, who collectively make up on of the most dynamic offensive units in the NLL. Craig has picked up right where he left off from the previous season, leading the Rock in assists (13) and points (19) while Schreiber paces the team with nine goals despite only playing in three games. Dawson, a former Knighthawk in the previous organization, recently moved into second all-time in the NLL in scoring with 1,447 career points, surpassing John Grant, Jr. on his second point of the night in Toronto’s 14-13 overtime loss to Halifax on Jan. 15. Dawson, who reached the milestone while appearing in his 300th career NLL game, is also 18 assists away from becoming the NLL’s all-time leader with 935, passing John Tavares.
- Shawn Evans needs three more goals for 450 in his career.
- Thomas Hoggarth is 10 points away from reaching the century mark for his pro career.
- Paul Dawson needs just five more penalty minutes to become the eighth player in league history to reach 500 in his pro career.
- Knighthawks forward Turner Evans played his first two seasons with the Toronto Rock after being drafted by the team in the second round (10th overall) of the 2015 NLL Entry Draft. He totaled 72 points in 26 games with the Rock.
- Rock forward TD Ierlan is a native of Victor, NY, where he played his high school lacrosse before moving onto University of Albany, Yale and ultimately the University of Denver. Ierlan was among the nation’s top face-off specialists and was a two-time First-Team All-American.
- Ierlan was a teammate this past summer of Charlie Bertrand with Redwoods of the PLL.
UP NEXT FOR THE KNIGHTHAWKS
Rochester concludes its three-game road swing on Saturday, Feb. 5 when the Knighthawks look to take down the first-place Buffalo Bandits at KeyBank Center. The 7:30 p.m. matchup will be the second of three scheduled meetings between the two teams this season and will be carried live on 107.3 FM The Bull and ESPN+.