TONIGHT’S GAME OVERVIEW
The playoff bound Rochester Knighthawks (10-7) bring the 2022-23 regular season to a close tonight when they host the Philadelphia Wings for one final get-together at Segar & Sciortino Field at The Blue Cross Arena. The 7:00 p.m. matchup will be the third and final meeting between the two teams this season and will be carried live on Big 107.3 FM as well as ESPN+. The Eastern Conference showdown will also be televised on tape-delay on CW Rochester and will be available for viewing beginning at 10 p.m.
|TEAM ROSTERS||GAME NOTES|
|2022-23 NLL STATS PACK||2022-23 NLL STANDINGS|
|2022-23 WINGS STATS||2022-23 KNIGHTHAWKS STATS|
|WATCH ON ESPN+||LISTEN LIVE ON BIG 107.3 FM|
SEASON SERIES SNAPSHOT
Tonight’s regular-season finale marks the third meeting in six games between the two teams and the second in Rochester. Despite reaching the 10-win mark for the first time in team history, the Knighthawks are still seeking the franchise’s first win over the Wings, who have claimed both previous meetings this season by way of overtime, including a 14-13 win earlier this month at Wells Fargo Center. Trailing 12-8 early in the fourth quarter, the Knighthawks went on a five-goal run to take a 13-12 lead before Taite Cattoni, the younger brother of Rochester forward Holden Cattoni, scored the equalizer in the closing minutes of regulation and Joe Resetarits sealed the win 3:45 into overtime. Both Philadelphia wins came during Rochester’s season-long four-game skid. Tonight’s matchup will again feature three of the league’s top six point-getters in Mitch Jones and Resetarits of the Wings and Connor Fields of the Knighthawks, all of whom have surpassed the 100-point mark this season. Jones, who came over to Philadelphia in a midseason trade from Vancouver, ranks third in the NLL in overall scoring with 118 points in (41+77) in 18 games while Resetarits, a former Knighthawk in the previous organization, ranks sixth with 103 points (21+54). Fields, whose been Rochester’s leading scorer all season, has a five-point lead on Resetarits for fourth in league scoring despite playing one less game. He and Resetarits are two of only three American-born players in league history to record 100 points in a season with Resetarits now reaching the benchmark in back-to-back seasons for the first time in his illustrious 10-year pro career and three times in the last six years.
KNIGHTHAWKS LOCK UP PLAYOFF SPOT
Rochester officially punched its ticket into the 2023 National Lacrosse League Playoffs, marking the first time in franchise history the Knighthawks advanced to the postseason. The Knighthawks, who are guaranteed at least a fourth-place finish or better in the NLL’s Eastern Conference, clinched by way of a 12-10 home win over the Georgia Swarm last Saturday. The win snapped a season-long four-game skid for Rochester and put an end to Georgia’s six-game win streak. Depending on the outcome of this weekend’s games, Rochester will open the postseason on the road against either Buffalo or Toronto in the Quarterfinal round. The 2023 NLL Playoffs format will again feature the top four teams from the East Conference and top three from the West Conference, plus a “wild card” entry with the best record between the fourth-place team in the West standings and the fifth-place finisher in the East. This “wild card” will play in the West Conference side of the bracket as the fourth seed. The NLL Playoffs are set to get underway the weekend of May 5-7.
HASEN JOINS ELITE COMPANY
Knighthawks head coach Mike Hasen joined elite company back on March 25 in Las Vegas, where he was behind the bench for his 200th regular-season game, a feat only five others in league history have accomplished before him. He became just the sixth head coach – and third this season behind Georgia’s Ed Comeau and Vancouver’s Troy Cordingley – to have coached 200 National Lacrosse League games. Hasen also owns the distinction of being the only member of the prestigious group, which also includes Philadelphia’s Paul Day, Darris Kilgour and Derek Keenan, to reach the mark having spent his entire career in the same city. One of the most decorated coaches in league history, Hasen is certainly no stranger to Rochester, having previously served as head coach of the former Knighthawks franchise from 2011 to 2019. In nine seasons behind the bench with the original Knighthawks, Hasen guided Rochester to an 81-75 regular season record while leading the team to six playoff appearances. The Knighthawks also finished among the top two teams in the East Division six different times under Hasen, including each of the first five seasons (2011-2015). Hasen’s most successful run at the helm of the Knighthawks came from 2012-14 when he made National Lacrosse League history by leading Rochester to an unprecedented three straight Champion’s Cups. He remains the only NLL bench boss to accomplish the feat. With 97 career wins entering the weekend, including four last season, Hasen also remains on pace to become just the sixth coach in NLL history to reach 100 career wins. Hasen recently surpassed legendary head coach Les Bartley for sixth all-time following the win over Halifax on Feb. 11. Last week’s win over Georgia gave the expansion-era Knighthawks their first 10-win season in franchise history and was the first for a Hasen-led Knighthawks team since the 2017-18 campaign.
Coming into this weekend, the Knighthawks have outshot the opposition in all but six games this season. The Knighthawks have topped the 50-shot mark in 14 of their first 16 games, which includes 13 of the last 15 dating back to Dec. 17 against Albany. Additionally, Rochester has surpassed the 60-shot mark on three different occasions, the most being 64 in the 14-13 triumph over the FireWolves prior to the Christmas break. Averaging a little more than 77 shots-per-game, Rochester is 6-4 this season when outshooting the opponent and are 4-2 when being outshot. They’re also 0-1 when shots are tied. Fields currently ranks fourth in the league with a team-high 193 shots on goal and is one of four Knighthawks players with 100 or more shots on the season.
FIELDS CONTINUES SOARING TO NEW HEIGHTS
As has been the case all season, Fields has consistently – and quite impressively – evolved into one of the NLL’s most elite offensive players in 2022-23. By posting his third 10-point performance of the year against Albany earlier this month, Fields became just the fifth player this season and only the third American-born player in NLL history to record 100 points in a season, a feat previously accomplished twice by Philadelphia’s Joe Resetarits, a former Knighthawks in the previous organization, in 2018 and 2022 as well as Toronto’s Tom Schreiber this season. Averaging nearly seven points per game through his first 16 games of the season, highlighted by four straight weeks of four-goal efforts, Fields added yet another milestone to his already distinguished list of accolades this season when he scored twice in Saturday’s win over Georgia to become just the second American-born player to score 50 goals in a season, joining Roy Colsey who reached the mark in 2001 with the New York Saints. Following his 16th straight multi-goal effort to begin the season, Fields enters the weekend ranked second in the NLL in goals (50), trailing only New York’s Jeff Teat in that category, an fifth in points (108) despite missing one game. With one game remaining in the regular season, he’s already set the single-season franchise marks for goals, points and assists, all of which came over three consecutive weeks, and has led the team in scoring in 14 of his 16 outings this season. Dating back to his rookie season in 2019-20, Fields, who was originally a first-round pick (10th overall) of the San Diego Seals in 2018, has recorded at least one point in 46 of his 48 career NLL games. Furthermore, Fields currently leads all NLL forwards with 135 loose ball recoveries, and last week against Georgia, he became the first NLL player since Athan Iannucci in 2008 to record more than 100 points and 130 loose balls in the same season. The only other player in league history to reach both of those marks in a single season was NLL legend John Tavares.
HART AND SOUL
Third-year goaltender Rylan Hartley has been a mainstay between the pipes for the Knighthawks and the catalyst to Rochester’s 10-7 season. Hartley, who has started all 17 games for Rochester, currently ranks third among all NLL netminders in minutes (1,023) and saves (700) and is tied for fourth in wins (10). He also anchors a Knighthawks defense that has allowed the ninth-best goals-against per game (11.76) this season and has kept the opposition to fewer than 10 goals on six different occasions. Hartley, who recently cracked the 1,000-save mark for his pro career, also established the single-game record for saves (55) as well as the single-season record for assists and points by a goaltender (3).
Three of Rochester’s last eight games have gone to overtime, including the 11-10 win over New York on Feb. 25 that ended up being the second-longest game in NLL regular-season history with a duration of 74:02, falling 2:04 short of the league record just over 13 years ago to the day. The Boston Blazers and Orlando Titans played the longest game in league history on Feb. 20, 2010, with an elapsed time of 76:06. The Knighthawks are 1-2 this season in games decided beyond regulation, with both losses coming against Philadelphia, and are 2-5 all-time in overtime dating back to their inaugural campaign.
A HOMECOMING FOR RIORDEN
Tonight’s game will serve as a homecoming for Wings forward and Fairport native Blaze Riorden, who has made a name for himself in both field and box lacrosse. Considered one of the top goaltenders in the Premier Lacrosse League (PLL), Riorden led Team Chaos to back-to-back appearances in the PLL Championship Series, winning the title in 2021 after finishing second in 2020. In 2020, he posted a league-high 119 saves on his way to earning the Oren Lyons Goalie of the Tournament Award. During the regular season, he led all netminders with a .558 save percentage and 153 saves, earning him Goalie of the Year honors. Prior to turning pro, Riorden played his college lacrosse at the University at Albany, where he was named an All-American and was the America East Defensive Player of the Year as a senior. He graduated as the program’s Division I all-time leader in saves with 849. Riorden is the second Fairport native to play in the National Lacrosse League following Tim Soudan, who played 11 seasons with the previous Knighthawks franchise and was a member of the 1997 MILL Championship team.