TONIGHT’S GAME OVERVIEW
The Rochester Knighthawks (1-8) return home looking to snap out of a four-game slide tonight as they host the New York Riptide (1-10) in a battle between the NLL’s two expansion teams at Segar & Sciortino Field at The Blue Cross Arena. The 7:00 p.m. contest 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 were unable to generate much offensive firepower as the New England Black Wolves went on a seven-goal surge to open the fourth quarter and ran away with an 18-7 win over Rochester at Mohegan Sun Arena this past Saturday. The Knighthawks opened the scoring for the second straight game and trailed 7-4 at the half before being outscored 11-3 over the final 30 minutes. Holden Cattoni (3+0) once again led the scoring with a three-goal night, all of which came on special teams, with two on the power-play and one shorthanded. Shawn Evans and Turner Evans each notched three assists, Cory Highfield finished with a goal and assist while Mark Cockerton tallied two assists in his season debut for the Knighthawks. First-year goaltender Rylan Hartley made his second straight start in the crease for Rochester and stopped 41 of the 55 shots he faced before being replace by Craig Wende in the opening minute of the fourth quarter. Wende finished with 12 saves in just over 14 minutes as the Knighthawks fell to 1-8 at the halfway point of the season.
WATCH: MIKE HASEN PRE-GAME
VIEW FROM ROCHESTER
Averaging nearly six points per game through his first eight games, Cattoni’s explosive start to the 2019-20 season has him ranked fifth in the NLL in scoring while continuing to pace the Knighthawks in all offensive categories in goals (18), assists (33) and points (51). The fourth-year pro comes into the weekend tied for fifth in the league in assists and tied for eighth in the NLL with nine power-play assists, five of which have come over his last four games. Cattoni, who’s one of just two Knighthawks players to record at least one point in every game so far this season, has now 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. Shawn Evans, meanwhile, remains at a close second with 43 points on 14 goals and 29 assists in addition to a team-high 41 penalty minutes. Fresh off a two-point outing (1+1) at New England last Saturday, Cory Highfield ranks ninth in scoring among all NLL rookies with 11 points (7+4) in nine games. Rochester’s second-round selection (18th overall) in the 2019 NLL Entry Draft, Highfield shows seven points (3+4) in his last three games, including goals in three straight. Ryland Rees, meanwhile, comes into the weekend third among all first-year players with a team-high 58 loose ball recoveries, trailing only New England’s Joe Nardella (72) and New York’s Alex Woodall (66) in that category. Rochester’s power-play is one of the most potent in the league with a 47.22% success rate that ranks seventh-best in the league. To date, the Knighthawks have scored 17 goals on 36 man-advantage opportunities and come into the weekend boasting a remarkable .714 conversion rate over their last four games, going 10-for-14 on the power-play over that span.
WATCH: RYLAND REES PRE-GAME
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.
WATCH: DALLAS BRIDLE PRE-GAME
KNIGHTHAWKS, BANDITS MAKE MIDSEASON DEAL
With the NLL trade deadline still a few weeks away, the Knighthawks made a series of roster moves Thursday in a midseason trade with Buffalo that sent forward Dan Lintner, transition man Frank Brown and a fourth-round pick in the 2020 NLL Draft to the Bandits in exchange for forwards Thomas Hoggarth and Dallas Bridle as well as a second-round pick and an additional third-round pick in the 2020 NLL Draft. Hoggarth, 25, is coming off a banner year in 2019 that saw him produce career-highs in goals (29), assists (32) and points (61) in 17 games with the Bandits. He finished the season third on the team in goals and fourth in points before adding three assists in two postseason appearance while helping Buffalo advance to the NLL Finals. Hoggarth remains on the physically unable to perform list and is not expected to be available for the remainder of the current season. A native of Lakefield, Ontario, the 6-foot-3, 205-pound forward has totaled 77 points on 40 goals and 37 assists in 50 career NLL games with Buffalo and Vancouver. Bridle, 25, joins the Knighthawks after recording 10 points (1+9) and eight loose ball recoveries in four games this season for Buffalo. He made his professional debut last season with the Bandits, recording two assists in one game. Bridle, a native of Orangeville, Ontario, was Buffalo’s third-round selection (33rd overall) in the 2017 NLL Entry Draft. He played collegiate lacrosse at High Point University, where he earned All-SoCon Second Team honors as a junior. The 6-foot-2, 194-pound forward also played two seasons at Denver University, leading the Pioneers to an NCAA National Championship title in 2015.
WATCH: MARK COCKERTON PRE-GAME
SCOUTING THE RIPTIDE
The Riptide, playing their second of two games this weekend, come into the matchup after hosting the New England Black Wolves last night on Long Island. Much like the Knighthawks, New York has struggled in its inaugural season, losing 10 of its first 11 games while being outscored 153-97 over that span. Similarly, New York is also winless on the road this season. The Riptide’s lone win of the season came back on Jan. 18 in a 13-12 victory over the Georgia Swarm. The Riptide recently parted ways with their top point-getter Tyler Digby, who up until his trade to Colorado last week, led New York in all offensive categories, including goals (14), assists (22) and points (36) in 10 games. Digby, a seventh-year veteran who was selected by the Riptide in the ninth round of the 2019 NLL Expansion Draft, was dealt to the Mammoth in exchange for two second-round draft picks, one in 2020 and the other in 2021. The Riptide own the top scoring rookie in the NLL in Tyson Gibson, who currently leads all first-year players with 32 points on 13 goals and 19 assists in 10 games this season. He also leads all rookies in goals (13) and is ninth among all rookies with 39 loose balls. Fellow rookie and face-off specialist Alex Woodall ranks third in the league with 140 face-off wins, trailing only Philadelphia’s Trevor Baptiste and Halifax’s Jake Withers. In goal, New York has relied mostly on Alex Buque, whose seven losses are most among NLL goaltenders coming into tonight. Buque, who boasts a 1-7 record in 10 appearances this season, also owns a league-worst 14.01 goals-against average and a .740 save percentage. The Riptide enter their inaugural season led by rookie head coach and general manager Regy Thorpe, who spent his entire 15-year playing career with the previous Knighthawks franchise. One of the most iconic players in NLL history, Thorpe appeared in 193 career games with Rochester from 1995-2009, recording 76 points on five goals and 71 assists. He also amassed 966 loose ball recoveries while helping the former Knighthawks to a pair of NLL championships in 1997 and 2007.
WATCH: PAUL DAWSON PRE-GAME
- Curtis Knight needs just two more assists for 200 in his career.
- Holden Cattoni is 12 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 seven 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, needs two more loose balls for 1,600 in his career.
UP NEXT FOR THE KNIGHTHAWKS
Rochester begins a two-game western road swing on Saturday, March 7 when they travel to Pechanga Arena to take on the San Diego Seals for the only time this season. Game time is slated for a 10:30 p.m. ET start 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.