The Rochester Knighthawks (3-5) snapped their four-game slide as they took the season series over the Albany FireWolves (4-4) by way of a 15-13 win Saturday at Segar & Sciortino Field at The Blue Cross Arena.
Knighthawks veteran forward Shawn Evans led the way with a team-high nine-point performance (1+8), tying the franchise’s single-game record with his eight assists on the night, while forwards Holden Cattoni (4+1), Turner Evans (2+3) and Curtis Knight all turned in five-point efforts. Forwards Ryan Smith (4+1) and Thomas Hoggarth (3+0) also recorded hat tricks while transition players Matt Gilray (1+0) and Ryland Rees (1+0) each had a goal apiece.
Goaltender Rylan Hartley (2-4) made his sixth straight start in the crease for Rochester, getting his second win on the year while making 35 saves.
Albany forwards Joe Resetarits (4+4), who spent five years with the previous Knighthawks organization, and Ryan Benesch (3+5) each posted eight points, while forward Andrew Kew (2+3) and Jacob Ruest (2+2) turned in two-goal efforts. Forward Reilly O’Connor (1+2) and defenseman Jason Nishimura (1+0) knocked in a goal apiece.
WATCH: GAME HIGHLIGHTS
Netminder Doug Jamieson (4-4) made 30 saves on 43 faced he faced in net for the FireWolves but got the loss in his eighth start on the year.
Needing a fast start to set the tone and take control early, the Knighthawks did just that by scoring three times in the opening five minutes and storming out to a commanding 6-2 lead by the quarter’s end thanks two separate three-goal runs courtesy of five different goal-scorers.
Shawn and Turner Evans factored in on each of Rochester’s first three goals, with the former picking the upper corner over the left shoulder of Jamieson 2:49 into the contest to give Rochester a 1-0 lead. It marked the first time in eight games this season the Knighthawks scored the first goal of the game.
Turner doubled Rochester’s lead less than a minute later after converting from the high slot on a pass from Shawn and Cattoni netted his first of four on the night just 70 seconds later to spot the Knighthawks to a 3-0 advantage at the 4:57 mark.
WATCH: MIKE HASEN POST-GAME
Benesch, who acquired by the FireWolves from Panther City back in December, put Albany on the board at 8:49 off a set-up from Resetarits, but the Knighthawks were again quick to respond with their second three-goal run of the quarter to take a 6-1 lead.
Smith, who returned to the lineup after missing last week’s matchup due to COVID-19 protocols and had a goal disallowed just minutes earlier, made it count at 11:50 with assists from Cattoni and fellow rookie Charlie Bertrand.
Minutes later, Hoggarth became an unexpected beneficiary of a costly defensive zone turnover. After Jamieson made a routine save, the veteran netminder attempted a long-range outlet pass from within his own crease. Hoggarth, standing at the top of the crease, knocked down the pass at the last second and promptly sent it to the back of a wide-open net for his first of the game.
Turner Evans added his second of the night at 14:26, giving Rochester a 6-1 advantage, but a set play by the FireWolves with two seconds remaining would result in Ruest’s ninth goal of the season and ignite a three-goal run for Albany that would carry over to start the second quarter.
WATCH: RYLAN HARTLEY POST-GAME
The second quarter proved to be a different story for the Knighthawks, who after erupting for a season-high six goals, were held to just one while being outscored 4-1.
Resetarits began and ended the scoring with a pair of power-play goals, including one that came with just two seconds left in the second frame.
Rochester’s lone marker of the quarter came from Cattoni with his second of the night at the 10:04 mark. On the run, Cattoni fired a missile past Jamieson to give the Knighthawks the goal they’d need to keep their lead heading into the half, 7-6.
Coming back from the half, the Knighthawks contained the Albany offense in the third by holding them scoreless, just the second time this season Rochester kept an opponent off the board in a quarter.
WATCH: HOLDEN CATTONI POST-GAME
At the 4:47 mark in the third, Gilray was placed in front of the net where he’d receive a bouncing pass from Bertrand (0+3). Gilray scooped up the ball and backhanded a shot into the crease.
Cattoni then followed suit almost four minutes later, with his third goal of the evening. While Albany defenders were covering him on the run, Cattoni swept across with an outside shot that he rifled into the back of the net to set the score 9-6 in Rochester’s favor heading into the final stanza.
As the Knighthawks headed into the fourth quarter with a three-goal lead, Albany embarked on its third power-play opportunity of the evening allowing them to turn in a goal on the man-advantage just 52 seconds into the stanza thanks to another one from Benesch.
The goal-scoring would then go back-and-forth between the two teams, combining for 13 goals in all and keeping it a close game until the final minutes. Thanks to two empty netters for Rochester with a minute to go in the contest, the Knighthawks took it away 15-13 for their first home win of the season.
WATCH: SHAWN EVANS POST-GAME
The Knighthawks remain at home following a bye week on Saturday, Feb. 26 for one final go-around with the NLL-leading Buffalo Bandits at Segar & Sciortino Field at The Blue Cross Arena. Opening face-off is slated for an 8:00 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.