RECAPPING WEEK 18
The Rochester Knighthawks (9-6) erased a four-goal deficit in the fourth quarter to force overtime on Sunday night at Wells Fargo Center but it was the Philadelphia Wings (7-8) who prevailed with the 14-13 victory.
The overtime loss was Rochester’s second of the season to the Wings after Philadelphia earned a 9-8 back win on Mar. 19 in the Flower City. The loss was the Knighthawks’ third straight and fourth in the last five games.
Connor Fields (4+2), Holden Cattoni (2+4) and Ryan Smith (3+3) all finished with six-point nights, including another four-goal effort from Fields, who’s within seven points of reaching the 100-point mark for the first time in his pro career. He also tallied his 14th consecutive multi-goal game and has recorded at least one point in 44 of his 46 games of his NLL career, dating back to his rookie season in 2019-20.
Despite the OT loss, Connor Fields showed UP tonight.
🥍 4 Goals
🥍 2 Assists
🥍 14 Shots on Goal
Watch his highlights: pic.twitter.com/yWwYswwwCA
— NLL (@NLL) April 3, 2023
Smith notched his sixth hat trick of the season.
Turner Evans (0+4) recorded a multi-assist game, his eighth of the season, while Parker Pipher (1+2) and Austin Hasen (1+2) each had three points. Ryland Rees (1+1), Curtis Knight (0+2), Matt Gilray (1+0) and Matthew Bennett (0+1) rounded out the scoring.
Knighthawks netminder Rylan Hartley (9-6) made his 15th consecutive start between the pipes, stopping 38 shots in the defeat.
Looking ahead, Rochester returns home this week looking to refocus ahead of the team’s final homestand of the season.
We cover all that, plus the race to the postseason and more, in this week’s edition of Hawk Talk with Knighthawks general manager Dan Carey.
Facing a 12-8 deficit just 22 seconds into the fourth quarter, the Knighthawks won the ensuing face-off following a Philadelphia goal and quickly cut into the deficit.
With the ball in transition, Tyler Halls began a series of tic-tac-toe passes with Bennett before Holden Cattoni finished off the play to complete his three-goal outing.
The goal ignited a five-goal run by Rochester, which was the longest of the night between the two clubs.
Three minutes after Cattoni’s marker, Hasen helped bring the Knighthawks to within one as he used a pass from Cattoni and a screen by Smith before sending a laser into the back of the net. Less than 50 seconds later, Rochester tied the score at 12 with Fields’ fourth of the night from Knight and Smith.
“Our fourth quarter was probably our best in quite some time,” Carey said. “It was good to see our guys battle back. Philly is a tough team. We have played them twice and both games we lost in overtime as were a bit of a heart-breaker for us. “We were proud of the battle back from our guys.”
THE RETURN OF KNIGHT
Prior to returning to the lineup Sunday at Philadelphia, Knight had missed the previous two games due to a lower-body injury.
Knight enters this weekend’s games third among all Knighthawk players with 38 assists and ranks fourth in points (48) despite missing a pair of contests. The Oshawa, Ontario, native is tied for 30th in the NLL in assists amongst all forwards.
Roster moves ahead of Sunday’s game in Philly ⬇️ https://t.co/lnZEJaE5eL
— Rochester Knighthawks (@RocKnighthawks) March 31, 2023
“He is such an important player for us,” said Carey when talking about his veteran alternate captain. “He is a very responsible player who brings a lot of calmness to our offense. The little things that Curtis does sometimes go unnoticed for people who may be just watching the game, but for us we see the value that he brings to us. To our players and our staff, they recognize him and everything he does.”
HOME FOR GOOD
The Knighthawks will close out the regular season at home, with Saturday’s matchup against the Albany FireWolves marking the first of a three-game homestand for the team, the longest of the season.
Rochester, which wrapped up its road portion this past Sunday in Philadelphia, has scored the score most road goals in the league with 105. On the other hand, the Knighthawks boast a near-perfect 5-1 mark on their home turf, being just one of two teams (Toronto Rock) to have just one regulation defeat.
The first of three at home to finish the season.
See YOU Saturday ⬇️
— Rochester Knighthawks (@RocKnighthawks) April 3, 2023
“Being at home has been good to us this far in the season,” Carey explained. “This has been our comfort zone. The familiarity with our fans, the arena, our locker room be good for us. It will be good to finish off the season here.”
ALBANY SCOUTING REPORT
The Knighthawks return home looking to snap their three-game skid on Saturday when they conclude their season-series with Albany. The FireWolves have struggled all season, winning just twice through their first 14 games and remaining winless at home.
In the first meeting of the season between the two clubs back on Dec. 17, Albany held a 8-5 lead at the end of the first half. Rochester used a second-half surge while overcoming a pair four-goal deficits to outscore the Firewolves 9-5 over the final 30 minutes to earn the 14-13 win.
Connor Fields paced the Knighthawks with an eight-point performance, which included his third straight four-goal outing to begin the season. Knight also had his best game of the season thus far with seven points (2+5) while Turner Evans and Matt Gilray each contributed four points on a goal and three assists. Ryan Smith rounded out the scoring with a hat trick while Austin Hasen chipped in three assists. In addition to scoring twice and adding two assists, Holden Cattoni finished with a team-high 16 shots on goal as the Knighthawks outshot Albany 64-41.
Hartley entered the game against the Firewolves as the league’s reigning Player of the Week and finished with 28 saves for what would be his third straight victory.
The FireWolves make their lone trip to Rochester having dropped their last 10 straight contests. Albany’s two wins have been by an 11-10 score against the Buffalo Bandits on Dec. 3 and the Halifax Thunderbirds on Jan. 13.
Six of their losses have been under three goals or less, including three two-goal games.
“We have to be play playoff lacrosse style right now,” Carey said. “It does not matter who our opponent is and we have to be prepared for their best. Albany is a hungry, young team that will not be an easy task. We must come in and play our best game that we can on Saturday night.”
The Knighthawks begin a three-game homestand to close out the remainder of the regular season on Saturday, April 8 when they host the intrastate rival Albany FireWolves at Segar & Sciortino Field at The Blue Cross Arena. The 7:00 p.m. contest will be the second and final meeting between the two teams this season and will be carried live on Big 107.3 FM as well as ESPN+.