TONIGHT’S GAME OVERVIEW
The Rochester Knighthawks (3-7) look to get back on the winning track tonight as they return home to host the intrastate rival New York Riptide (2-8) in an afternoon matinee at Segar & Sciortino Field at The Blue Cross Arena. The Eastern Conference matchup gets underway at 5:00 p.m. and will be carried live on 107.3 FM The Bull as well as ESPN+.
|TEAM ROSTERS||GAME NOTES|
|2021-22 NLL STATS PACK||KNIGHTHAWKS PLAYER BIOS|
|2021-22 RIPTIDE STATS||2021-22 KNIGHTHAWKS STATS|
|2021-22 NLL STANDINGS||LISTEN LIVE ON 107.3 FM THE BULL|
SEASON SERIES SNAPSHOT
Rochester is 2-0 all-time against the Riptide after coming away with a 13-12 season-opening overtime win in the previous get-together between the two teams back on Dec. 4 at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Thomas Hoggarth completed the hat trick 1:30 into overtime to lift Rochester to its second straight win over New York dating back to the team’s inaugural campaign. Reigning Offensive Player of the Year Holden Cattoni picked up right where he left off from the 2019-20 season, leading the Knighthawks with four goals and six points while forward Shawn Evans scored once and added four assists for five points on the night. Rookie forwards Ryan Smith and Charlie Bertrand each made their National Lacrosse League debuts, with Bertrand netting a pair of goals. Turner Evans, Ryland Rees and Cory Highfield (1+1) completed the scoring for Rochester and goaltender Evan Kirk made his Knighthawks debut, finishing with 24 saves on 36 shots faced to pick up the victory. Both wins against the Riptide have been by 13-12 scores. Each team just has one win at home this season and are averaging more than 11 goals per game through their first 10 games of the season. Both Rochester (3-1) and New York (2-0) have winning records when leading after the third quarter. Conversely, both teams are winless when trailing after three quarters.
WATCH: TONIGHT’S FACE-OFF FIRST LOOK
LAST TIME OUT
A season-high nine-point performance from rookie forward Ryan Smith was not enough for the Knighthawks, who carried a 16-15 lead into the final minutes of regulation before coming out on the short end of a 17-16 overtime loss to the Georgia Swarm in the final meeting of the season between the two teams last Friday at Gas South Arena. The overtime contest was Rochester’s second of the campaign after opening the 2021-22 season with a 13-12 win over the Riptide back on Dec. 4. The Knighthawks’ 16 goals tied a season-high and the 33 combined goals established a new franchise record, surpassing the previous mark of 31 set back on Jan. 31, 2020 versus Buffalo (16-15 OTL). Smith powered the Rochester offense with a game-high nine-point effort, combining for four goals and five assists. Cattoni (4+2) also had himself a four-goal contest, while Highfield (2+1) also notched a multi-goal effort with two tallies, including opening the scoring just 15 seconds into the contest. Curtis Knight (1+1), Shawn Evans (1+4), Bertrand (1+2), John Wagner (1+1), Hoggarth (1+2) and Matt Gilray (1+1) all tallied a marker. Goaltender Rylan Hartley (2-6) made his eighth straight start and ninth appearance of the season. The netminder stopped 40 shots but was dealt the loss.
KNIGHTHAWKS MAKE MIDSEASON MOVES
The Knighthawks made a series of roster moves earlier this week ahead of tonight’s game, with perhaps the biggest one being the departure of two-time NLL MVP Shawn Evans following a trade with the Halifax Thunderbirds in exchange for a second-round selection in the 2023 NLL Entry Draft as well as a future first-round NLL Entry Draft compensatory pick. Evans, who was originally acquired by the Knighthawks first overall in the 2019 NLL Expansion Draft, led the team with 38 assists and 47 points in 10 games this season. The 16-year pro appeared in all 19 games for Rochester dating back to the 2019-20 season, totaling 90 points on 23 goals and 67 assists over that span.
WATCH: PAUL DAWSON PRE-GAME
The Knighthawks also made two free agent signings, including the addition of Rochester native and defenseman Jared Conners, who the team selected in the third round (45th overall) of the 2020 NLL Entry Draft. Conners is one of the most decorated players to come out of the University of Virginia. A three-time Inside Lacrosse All-American selection, Conners completed his collegiate career with 35 points (20+15) – the most all-time among Virginia’s long-pole scorers – and 278 ground balls while appearing in all 77 games over his five seasons with the Cavaliers. Conners, who was one of several players to utilize the NCAA’s extra year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic, led Virginia to back-to-back NCAA National Championships in 2021 and 2019, the first of which was the program’s second title of the decade and first since 2011. He was named the Lt. Donald MacLaughlin Jr. Outstanding Midfielder of the Year for the 2020-21 season after producing 10 points (4+6) in 18 games while also leading all non-faceoff players in the nation with 77 ground balls. It was during his time in high school that Conners established himself as one of Rochester’s most dynamic lacrosse players. A four-year letter-winner at Pittsford, Conners was named an Under Armour All-American and was twice named a US Lacrosse All-American. He also earned First-Team All-County and All-Greater Rochester honors in addition to being a two-time Section V Defensive Player of the Year selection.
WATCH: MIKE HASEN PRE-GAME
SMITH NAMED NLL ROOKIE OF THE WEEK FOR WEEK 14
Smith garnered NLL Rookie of the Week honors for the second time this season following his season-high nine-point performance in Rochester’s Week 14 17-16 overtime loss at Georgia last Friday. Smith was one of two Knighthawks to finish with four goals, marking his first four-goal game of the season, and added five assists. He factored in on three of Rochester’s first four goals on his way to scoring twice in each half. Smith has he recorded multi-goal efforts in six of his last seven games and has four hat tricks over that span, including each of his last three.
WATCH: RYLAND REES PRE-GAME
ROOKIE SHOWDOWN IN ROCHESTER
Despite both team’s offensive struggles this season, tonight’s matchup features two of the league’s top three rookies in New York’s Jeff Teat and Rochester’s Smith. Taken just two picks apart from one another in the 2020 NLL Entry Draft, both Teat (first overall) and Smith (third overall) have taken their first season in the NLL by storm with Teat leading all rookies in assists (37) and points (55) and ranking second in goals (18). Smith, meanwhile, ranks third among all first-year players in goals (17), fourth in assists (19) and third in points (36). Teat and Smith are also first and second among rookies in power-play scoring with 13 and 12 points on the man-advantage, respectively, while they’re also the top two in shots with 85 and 67. Both players took similar paths to the NLL and are products of the two of the biggest powerhouse programs in NCAA Division I history with Teat having played his collegiate lacrosse at Cornell University and Smith at Robert Morris. Teat, who’s arguably the top prospect in the game of lacrosse today, is the most decorated player to come out of Cornell University. A three-time USILA All-American and a four-time Inside Lacrosse Media All-American, Teat became the first player in Big Red history to be selected No. 1 overall in an NLL Draft, and the third lacrosse player ever to be selected first overall in both indoor and outdoor professional lacrosse leagues. Teat, the son of former Knighthawk Dan Teat, received All-Ivy accolades on three occasions, including unanimous All-Ivy selections in 2018 and 2019. Teat finished his college career third in the Cornell record books with 268 points and 152 assists while also cracking the top-10 in ninth place with 116 career goals. He is one of just two players in Big Red history to post three consecutive 30-goal, 30-assist seasons and is one of just four to record 70 points in three straight campaigns. As a fifth-year graduate student in 2021, Smith set career-highs with 48 goals and 71 points, while also establishing single-season records for points (71), points-per-game (5.46) and goals-per-game (3.69). More impressively, Smith recorded hat tricks in 11 of his 13 appearances this past season and registered multiple-assist outings on seven different occasions. He finished the season ranked second nationally in goals-per-game and fourth in points-per-game en route to earning All-America Honorable Mention accolades from USILA, Inside Lacrosse, US Lacrosse Magazine and College Crosse. Over his illustrious five seasons with the Colonials, Smith, who was on the Tewaaraton Award Watch List for much of the season, scored 142 goals and totaled 217 points in 69 career games, all of which are most in program history. He ranks second all-time in career points-per-game (3.14) and games started (59) and third in goals-per-game (2.06) and assists (75). He is also a three-time All-Northeast Conference selection and remains the only player in RMU history to win NEC Rookie of the Year honors.
WATCH: JOEL WATSON PRE-GAME
SCOUTING THE RIPTIDE
The Riptide, making their only trip to Rochester this season, come into the matchup after splitting a home-and-home series with the Toronto Rock. After hanging on for a 14-13 win on Feb. 26 during which the teams went nearly goal for goal, the Riptide were unable to complete the two-game sweep in the following week’s rematch with the Rock at FirstOntario Centre. Teat combined for 12 points over the two-game set while leading point-getter Callum Crawford notched 11 points (5+6) to surpass the 60-point mark for the sixth straight season. Crawford, who’s in his first season with New York after leading the NLL in scoring during the 2019-20 season as a member of the New England Black Wolves, is currently fifth in the league in points (61) and fourth in assists (38) through 10 games this season. The four-time NLL All-Pro selection and 2019-20 MVP finalist also leads the NLL in power-play scoring with 21 points on the man-advantage, including a league-best 15 power-play assists. He’s also tied for fourth in the league with a team-high 109 shots. New York has the second-best power-play in the league this season after going 24-for-46 for a 52.2% conversion rate. The Riptide have also gone 13-for-22 on the road this season on the power-play, good for a 59.1% success rate through their first five road matchups. New York is operating with the third-most productive offense in the NLL, averaging 12 goals per game despite allowing a league-worst 13.50 goals-against per contest.
- Thomas Hoggarth is six points away from reaching the century mark for his pro career.
- Curtis Knight needs 10 points to reach 400 in his pro career.
NEW YORK CONNECTIONS
- Knighthawks transition man John Wagner was acquired by Rochester during the 2020 NLL Entry Draft from the Riptide in exchange for defensemen Jay Thorimbert and Darryl Robertson.
- Knighthawks defenseman Mike Manley, currently on the PUP list, appeared in six games for New York during its inaugural season. He was later acquired by Rochester on July 14, 2020 in exchange for three draft picks.
- Thorimbert became the NLL’s all-time leader in face-off wins in 2019-20 with Rochester.