TONIGHT’S GAME OVERVIEW
The Rochester Knighthawks (2-9) put the finishing touches on their final back-to-back weekend of the season tonight at the Pepsi Center in downtown Denver when they take on the Colorado Mammoth (6-6) in the final stop of a two-game trek through the West Division. The 7:00 p.m. ET matchup will be only the meeting of the season between the two teams and will be the only meeting of the season between the two teams and will be carried live on 107.3 FM The Bull as well as B/R Live.
LAST TIME OUT
The Knighthawks opened their two-game western road swing on the wrong end of a lopsided 19-6 loss to the San Diego Seals Saturday at Pechanga Arena in southern California. Curtis Knight (2+4) led Rochester’s offense as he factored in on all six Knighthawks goals, scoring twice and assisting on the four others. Turner Evans (1+1), Cam Milligan (1+1), Ryland Rees (1+2) and Holden Cattoni (1+1) all added a goal apiece, while still putting in multi-point efforts with at least one helper. Rylan Hartley made his fourth consecutive start in the crease, stopping 34 of the 49 shots he faced before being replaced in the third quarter by Craig Wende, who logged 21:05 and made 19 stops on 22 shots on goal. Casey Jackson (5+2) had a night for the Seals as he was just one goal shy of a sock trick and added two assists to boot. Both Zack Greer (3+5) and Connor Fields (3+3) would notch hat tricks on the night, while Greer, Wesley Berg (2+6) and Kyle Buchanan (2+6) would have eight-point nights each for the Seals, who have won three straight and five of their last six games. Austin Staats (2+5), Jeremy Noble (1+2) and Matt Sykes (1+0) would combine for four goals to round out the scoring for San Diego.
VIEW FROM ROCHESTER
Averaging nearly six points per game through his first 11 games, Cattoni’s explosive start to the 2019-20 season has him ranked sixth in the NLL in scoring while continuing to pace the Knighthawks in all offensive categories in goals (23), assists (36) and points (59). The fourth-year pro comes into the weekend ninth in the league in assists and tied for 12th in the NLL with 10 a team-high power-play assists, six of which have come over his last six games. Cattoni, who’s one of just two Knighthawks players to record at least one point in every game he’s played in so far this season, has reached the 50-point mark in each of the last three seasons and remains on pace to shatter his career-high 80-point campaign which he set last season as a member of the Georgia Swarm. Despite missing the last two games due to injury, Shawn Evans remains at a close second with 43 points on 14 goals and 29 assists in addition to a team-high 41 penalty minutes. Prior to his injury, the two-time NLL MVP was recording nearly five points per game while also averaging nearly 14 shots. Cory Highfield ranks ninth in scoring among all NLL rookies with 11 points (7+4) in as many games. Rochester’s second-round selection (18th overall) in the 2019 NLL Entry Draft, Highfield shows seven points (3+4) in his last five games, including goals in three straight games over that span. His seven goals are also sixth-most among all rookies. Ryland Rees, meanwhile, comes into the weekend third among all first-year players with a team-high 67 loose ball recoveries, trailing only New York’s Alex Woodall (84) and New England’s Joe Nardella (83) in that category. Rochester’s power-play is one of the most potent in the league with a 47.5% success rate that ranks eighth-best in the league. To date, the Knighthawks have scored 20 goals on 44 man-advantage opportunities and come into the weekend boasting a remarkable 59.1% conversion rate over their last six games, going 13-for-22 on the power-play over that span.
EVANS CONTINUES TO CLIMB
Not long after becoming just the sixth player in NLL history to record 1,200 career points, Shawn Evans continues to climb up the league’s all-time scoring lists. With his fourth assist of the game in the 16-15 overtime loss at Buffalo on Jan. 31, Evans surpassed John Grant, Jr. for fifth all-time in league history. His other notable milestone came back on Jan. 11 in Toronto when he joined Grant and four others as the only players in NLL history to reach 1,200 points. Evans will pass Shawn Williams for ninth all-time in goals (445) on his next goal.
KNIGHTHAWKS ADD REINFORCEMENTS ON OFFENSE
With injuries beginning to sweep through the core of Rochester’s offense, the Knighthawks have added reinforcements for the second half of the season with the addition of forwards Cam Milligan and Liam Osborne on one-year deals. Milligan, 24, made his pro debut last season for the previous Knighthawks franchise, scoring one goal with two assists in three games. Originally a sixth-round selection (54th overall) of the New England Black Wolves in the 2017 NLL Entry Draft, Milligan played four years of collegiate lacrosse at both Towson University (2014) and the University of Vermont (2015-17), amassing 170 points in a combined 50 games. Osborne, 24, has yet to make his NLL debut since being taken by the Colorado Mammoth in the sixth round (82nd overall) of the 2019 NLL Entry Draft.
SCOUTING THE MAMMOTH
Colorado, playing its third of a season-long four-game homestand, comes into the matchup seeking its third straight win following an 11-10 victory over the Philadelphia Wings last week at Pepsi Center. Ryan Lee, the team’s leading point-getter on the season, exploded four goals and added three assists while Tyler Digby, who was recently acquired by the Mammoth from the New York Riptide, matched his season-high with six points (2+4) in his debut for Colorado. Dillon Ward, who’s been the primary goaltender all season for the Mammoth, made 37 saves to help Colorado snap a three-game skid while also picking up his sixth win of the year. Lee has been the driving force behind Colorado’s offense this season, leading the team in virtually every offensive category, including goals (22), assists (34) and points (56), in addition to a team-high 149 shots. The third-year pro also paces the Mammoth in power-play scoring with 16 points (6+10) on the man-advantage and remains the only player to surpass the 50-point mark so far this season. He comes into the weekend ranked seventh in the league in scoring and is tied for ninth in assists and 10th in goals, respectively. Dylan Kinnear currently ranks in scoring among all NLL rookies with 17 points (9+8) in nine games this season. His 17 points are also second-most among all defensemen. Ward leads all goaltenders with 507 saves and ranks fourth in the NLL with a 9.33 goals-against average and a .819 save percentage. The Mammoth have two players on their current roster with ties to Rochester in both Lee and fellow forward Kyle Killen, both of whom played collegiate lacrosse at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Arguably one of the most decorated players to come out of the program, Lee played four seasons with the Tigers before departing as the school’s all-time leader in goals (237) and points (373) while placing fourth all-time with 136 career assists. A two-time Liberty League Offensive Player of the Year, Lee set a single-season record with 111 points during the 2017 season. He recorded at least one point in 84 of his 86 career appearances and remains the only player in program history to surpass the 300-careet point mark. He finished his tenure sixth all-time in NCAA Division III scoring and seventh in goals. Killen, who was selected in the same Draft year as Lee, scored 118 goals over two seasons with the Tigers. He was named to the NLL All-Rookie Team last season after producing 49 points on 28 goals and 21 assists in 15 games.
- Holden Cattoni is seven goals away from reaching the century mark in his career.
- Shawn Evans needs six more goals for 450 in his career and just one more to move into ninth all-time in NLL history. He’s also 14 assists away from 800 in his pro career.
- Turner Evans needs six more assists for 100 in his career.
- Defenseman Jay Thorimbert, who earlier this season became the NLL’s all-time leader in face-off wins, surpassed 1,600 career loose balls last night against San Diego.
UP NEXT FOR THE KNIGHTHAWKS
Rochester returns home on Saturday, Mar. 14 when they host the North Division rival Halifax Thunderbirds in the first of back-to-back meetings at Segar & Sciortino Field at The Blue Cross Arena. Game time is slated for a 7:00 p.m. and will be carried live on 107.3 FM The Bull as well as B/R Live. Fans can stay up to date all season long with the latest Knighthawks news, stories and notes at www.rochesterknighthawks.com.