TONIGHT’S GAME OVERVIEW
The Rochester Knighthawks get back to work tonight following a three-week layoff as they head north of the border to take on the Halifax Thunderbirds in a North Division showdown at the Scotiabank Centre. The 6:00 p.m. ET matchup will be the first of three meetings between the two teams this season and will be carried live on 107.3 FM The Bull as well as B/R Live.
LAST TIME OUT
On a night where the Knighthawks were celebrating a new era in the National Lacrosse League, the team struggled to find the offensive spark that they needed as Rochester opened its inaugural season with a 14-4 loss to the Georgia Swarm back on Nov. 30 at Segar & Sciortino Field at The Blue Cross Arena. Newcomers Dan Lintner (1+1) and Holden Cattoni (0+2) each recorded multi-point efforts with Lintner being credited for scoring the first goal in franchise history. Phil Caputo, Dan Michel and Jay Thorimbert rounded out the scoring for Rochester while goaltender Craig Wende made 44 saves on 58 shots in first career NLL start.
THORIMBERT ON THE BRINK OF HISTORY
Thorimbert can potentially make NLL history tonight, needing just eight more face-off wins to surpass Geoff Snider for first all-time. The veteran defenseman won nine of 14 face-offs on Opening Night to bring his career total to 2,461 career face-off wins. Thorimbert also scooped up a team-high 11 loose balls against Georgia to move within 13 of tying Pat McCready, a former Knighthawk in the previous organization, for sixth all-time in league history.
SCOUTING THE THUNDERBIRDS
The Thunderbirds, who play four of their first five games at home, began their first season in Halifax on a high note with a decisive 12-4 win over the expansion New York Riptide on Dec. 7. Halifax outscored the Riptide 7-0 in the first quarter during an eight-goal run before allowing the first of only four goals against 2:59 into the second. Five different players had three-point nights for Halifax, including forwards Ryan Benesch and Cody Jamieson, while Warren Hill earned the win in net, stopping 40 of the 44 shots he faced. Led by first-year head coach Mike Accursi, the Thunderbirds relocated to Halifax during the offseason following 25 seasons in Rochester as the original Knighthawks franchise. The previous Knighthawks joined the NLL in 1998 following three seasons in the MILL, winning 10 division titles and five NLL championships, including three straight from 2012-14 under the ownership of Curt Styres. The Styres-led Knighthawks also remains the only team to win three consecutive championships. Of the 18 players that played in the season opener for Halifax, 16 have ties to the previous Knighthawks organization.
The Knighthawks made several roster moves last week ahead of tonight’s game against Halifax. The team released transition man Adam Perroni and defenseman Tyler Gaulton from their contracts. In a corresponding move, the Knighthawks have added defenseman Darryl Robertson to the active roster and assigned defenseman Tyler Biles to the practice squad from the injured reserve list. Robertson, 25, spent all last season with the previous Knighthawks franchise, recording 12 points (2+10) and collecting 55 loose balls in 15 games. Prior to joining Rochester, the 6-foot, 200-pound defenseman spent two years on the practice squad of the Toronto Rock, who selected the Whitby, Ontario, native in the sixth round of the 2014 NLL Entry Draft.
- Knighthawks captain Paul Dawson appeared in 200th pro game against Georgia on Nov. 30.
- Curtis Knight appeared in his 100th pro game against Georgia on Nov. 30.
- Shawn Evans, who recorded an assist against Georgia, is 20 assists away from tying former teammate John Grant Jr. for fifth all-time in NLL history. The two-time NLL MVP is also currently sixth all-time in points fifth all-time in penalty minutes.
- Knighthawks head coach Mike Hasen is 19 wins away from 100 career coaching wins.
UP NEXT FOR THE KNIGHTHAWKS
The Knighthawks return home on Saturday, Dec. 28 when they host the Toronto Rock in the first half a home-and-home series at Segar & Sciortino Field at The Blue Cross Arena. The same two teams will then square off again for a 7:00 p.m. rematch north of the border at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. Both games can be heard 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.