A season-high nine-point performance from rookie forward Ryan Smith was not enough for the Rochester Knighthawks (3-7), 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 (5-6) in the final meeting of the season between the two teams 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 New York 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. Forward Holden Cattoni (4+2) also had himself a four-goal contest, while transition player Cory Highfield (2+1) also notched a multi-goal effort with two tallies. Forwards Curtis Knight (1+1), Shawn Evans (1+4), Charlie Bertrand (1+2), John Wagner (1+1), Thomas Hoggarth (1+2) and transition player 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. In his last seven games, the second-year netminder has made 35 or more saves.
It was a 4 goal, 5 assist performance for Ryan Smith as the Knighthawks fall to the Swarm 17-16 in overtime
👇 HIGHLIGHTS 👇 pic.twitter.com/JUSHHBFVV3
— NLL (@NLL) March 5, 2022
Georgia forward Shayne Jackson (5+3) turned in a five-goal night, including the overtime game-winner, while Lyle Thompson (4+3) produced a four-goal effort. Both forwards Jordan Hall (2+2) and Ethan Walker (2+2) scored twice to go with two assists apiece, while Bryan Cole (1+1), Brendan Bomberry (1+2), TJ Comizio (1+1) and Adam Wiedemann (1+2) all turned in goals to round out the scoring.
Veteran netminder Mike Poulin (5-5) evened his season record as he made 31 saves on 47 shots to earn his fifth win on the year.
WATCH: GAME HIGHLIGHTS
The Swarm started the final quarter of play facing a 13-10 deficit after the Knighthawks finished the third quarter with four straight tallies, including Evans’s buzzer-beating marker with one second left.
Georgia responded to Evans’s lone goal of the night with three unanswered, which began with two from Jackson 1:50 apart.
Ryan Smith has 4 goals and 3 assists tonight.
We’ve said it before and we will say it again: Ryan Smith is good at lacrosse. pic.twitter.com/d5wpysSAyC
— Rochester Knighthawks (@RocKnighthawks) March 5, 2022
Evans and Smith helped set up the Knighthawks next two goals to restore the two-goal cushion 6:55 into the quarter, however, the Swarm evened the score at 15 with 3:59 left in the regulation.
Gilray gave Rochester its final lead of the matchup 13 seconds after Comizio, but again Georgia countered back to knot the score and force the overtime period.
Both teams had chances in the extra frame as they combined for four shots, but following a stoppage in play and the ball inside the Rochester end of the floor, Jackson fired in his 25th of the season from Walker.
From the onset, the Knighthawks and Swarm exchanged goals, setting the tone and paving way for a high-scoring, back-and-forth affair.
Just 15 seconds into the contest, Dan Coates pushed the ball in transition while sending a long pass through the neutral zone to Cattoni. As Cattoni received the pass, he connected with Highfield, who was to the left of the Georgia crease to send in the Knighthawks’ first marker of the evening.
At the 3:00 mark, Smith followed up for Rochester to give the visitors an early two-goal lead. Alone on the right side, Smith fired a laser over the shoulder of Poulin for his first of four on the evening.
Georgia then went onto score back-to-back goals from Hall and Cole before Cattoni rifled in his first of the night with 4:06 to go in the first frame. With Cattoni’s team-leading 19th goal of the season, it gave the Knighthawks a 3-2 lead going into the second.
Once again, it didn’t take long for Rochester to find the back of the net as just 50 seconds had transpired before Bertrand tallied his ninth on the year to double the Knighthawks’ advantage.
However, Rochester’s lead was short-lived, as Jackson knocked in his first of two goals in less than a two-minute span. In between Jackson’s two second quarter markers, Walker came flying out of the penalty box and made a highlight real play to help the Swarm take their first lead of the night.
Thompson then answered with his first of the evening before the Knighthawks would come fighting back. As Wagner swerved around a Georgia defender, he pulled Rochester to within one before Cattoni followed up less than a minute later, winding up and burying the ball past Poulin to even it back at six apiece.
Might mess around and…
| 👀 |
…bury number 3 pic.twitter.com/Ix5rxqcU7G
— NLL (@NLL) March 5, 2022
The Swarm then went on to drive in three consecutive goals, before the Knighthawks capitalized on their third power-play opportunity of the night. Smith tallied his third power-play marker of the season with his second of the contest, while Highfield wrapped up the scoring before heading into the half with the Knighthawks trailing just 9-8.
Finishing the first half with back-to-back markers, the Knighthawks would knock in another as the third quarter got underway.
As Cattoni was deep just inside midfield, he unleashed an underhand shot from long range that handcuffed Poulin to even the matchup at 9-9 just 2:19 into the frame. Georgia then followed up at the 6:49 mark before Rochester would go on a four-goal run.
A set play from Rochester would then give them another one-goal lead. With good ball movement and Evans up the middle of Rochester’s offensive zone, Evans connected with Knight, who would convert from in close on a highlight reel around-the-world shot for his 13th of the year.
Curtis Knight with the FILTHY around-the-world finish 🔥🔥
#SCtop10 you gotta see this 👀 pic.twitter.com/D98JjM4fg7
— NLL (@NLL) March 5, 2022
Smith then followed up once again, however, this time with back-to-back tallies. As Smith continued to dominate the right side of the floor for Rochester, he found an opening on the near side of Poulin. Just 1:49 later, Smith would drive up the right side for the Knighthawks and would once again get underneath Poulin but this time to the outside to set the score at 12-10 in Rochester’s favor.
With a second left in the third frame, Evans found his first of the game with his ninth goal of the season. Evans would take a step, and with a deceptive motion, send a shot to the near side past Poulin to give the Knighthawks a three-goal lead heading into the final frame.
It would take just 3:47 before Georgia came right back with three unanswered tallies to kick-off the fourth quarter. Rochester would then reclaim the lead again with Cattoni’s fourth of the night with 10:01 to go in the affair, before Hoggarth would finish a shot on the far side to give the Knighthawks a 15-13 lead with 6:55 to go.
The teams would then combine for three goals in the next 1:09 with the Swarm erasing a pair of one-goal deficits to ultimately send the game to overtime. With both teams finding chances, Georgia claimed the win 4:37 into the extra frame with Jackson’s game-winner.
The Knighthawks are back in action on Saturday, March 12, as they wrap up their season series against Jeff Teat and the New York Riptide at Segar & Sciortino Field at The Blue Cross Arena. Game time is slated for a 5:00 p.m. start and will be carried live on The Bull 107.3 FM as well as ESPN+. Fans can stay up to date all season long with the latest news, stories and notes at www.rochesterknighthawks.com.