The Rochester Knighthawks (3-4) return home to Segar and Sciortino Field at The Blue Cross Arena to host the Georgia Swarm (5-4) Saturday night.
“We’re going to have our hands full tonight,” said Knighthawks head coach Mike Hasen. “Brett Dobson (goaltender) has been playing extremely well all year long. Their defense has switched things up a little bit this year in that they’re not as aggressive and are allowing Dobson to see the ball more, so we have to capitalize on that and get through the middle to stretch them a little bit. Offensively, what can you say? It’s five weapons every time you step on the floor. We got to make sure that we’re really good and really communicating.”
COATES BACK (SORT OF)
Dan Coates will not be playing tonight. The 36-year-old has been sidelined since the turn of the new year, remaining on the Physically Unable to Perform list throughout Rochester’s losing skid. Though the captain will not return to the floor just yet, Coates was around the team at shootaround this morning and was able to show his support and leadership to the ‘Hawks with his presence.e
“It’s something we’ve been missing for the last four or five games,” said Hasen. “Just his presence and demeanor brings that aura with him that we’re here and we need to get dialed in. Just having his presence helps that.”
Coates is a 12-year pro who’s played in 157 regular season NLL games, logging 18 goals and 96 points since joining the league in 2012. The St. Catharines, Ontario, native is in his third season as a Knighthawk after spending his first nine with Colorado.
ALL ROADS LEAD HOME
So much history in the NLL runs through Rochester, with players and staff from past and present finding homes and success throughout the league. This week, more familiar faces return to a city they brought a championship to, with Georgia head coach Ed Comeau and assistant coach Sean Ferris returning to the Flower City where they won a championship as coaches for the original Knighthawks back in 2007. Players on that ’07 team include current head coach Mike Hasen, along with assistant coach Pat O’Toole.
“There’s a lot of mutual respect there. Eddie’s a guy who taught me how to play in this league and to see what he’s doing is great to see. If we can match what he’s done over the years than hopefully we can have the kind of success he’s had.”
Comeau is the second head coach that at one point called Rochester home to return to town with the opposition this season, with Calgary’s Kurt Malawksy being the other.
“I think this city’s been tremendous (for the NLL). It’s been a staple and a franchise that demands excellence in itself, even in this new era of Knighthawks lacrosse. I think for the league it’s great that we’re here. When we get the fan support, it’s a tough building to play in.”
DADDY DAY CARE
Rookie defenseman Taylor Jensen is expected to jump in his third straight game tonight against the Swarm. The 25-year-old has seen progression from game one to two, all while balancing the life of being a dad.
The RIT grad has a four-year-old daughter (Aisling), who’s expected to be in attendance tonight.
“Honestly, it’s pretty amazing,” said Jensen. “I get to be home a little bit more. I get to take my daughter to school and I get to play with her. I find it makes life easy. The other day we were playing lacrosse together. It’s pretty awesome.”
Jensen doesn’t plan on swaying Aisling to playing a certain position in the game, saying how he wants her to decide on that. She has time, while for Jensen, the New Westminster, British Columbia, native knows his position, but is now trying to solidify his role on the ‘Hawks.
“I feel pretty strong and good about how I’ve played. The guys have really been helping me out. They’re letting me know what to do. I get maybe a little bit jittery, but they help me calm down. I’m not going out there trying to make a huge splash. I just want to play good solid defense and push the ball where I can to do my job.”