As we embark on Week 13 of the 2022-23 National Lacrosse League campaign, the Rochester Knighthawks officially begin the second half of the season. This week the Knighthawks look for their second win of the year over the New York Riptide while shutting down forward Jeff Teat and remaining unbeaten at home.
We take a look it all, and more, with Knighthawks general manager Dan Carey in this week’s edition of Hawk Talk.
TAKING ON THE RIPTIDE
The Knighthawks and Riptide didn’t face-off all that long ago, however, it was Rochester who came out with an 11-8 win back on Jan. 15 in the first meeting between the teams this season. On the strength of four-point efforts from forwards Connor Fields, Holden Cattoni, and Ryan Smith, combined with a 33-save performance by goaltender Rylan Hartley, the Knighthawks pushed their win streak to a perfect 5-0 at that point in the season.
However, a lot has changed for the Riptide since mid-January like big trades and changes in the staff. So, what new challenges do the Riptide present this time around?
Carey insists that New York is always a challenge to take on, especially with how hungry they’ll be to stay in playoff contention.
“It’s always a challenge, especially going against a team that’s going to be hungry for a win,” explained Carey when asked what will be different about New York in this matchup. “They’re going to be trying to fight and stay in that playoff race. They have some very good offensive players and a solid defense in the back end as well.”
Just like every other week of the 2022-23 campaign, it’s important the Knighthawks keep the focus on themselves to build on their 7-2 start to the season.
“We have our work cut out for us this weekend and we’ve got to stick to the process we’ve been going with,” finished Carey when discussing the game against the Riptide this Saturday.
SHUTTING DOWN TEAT
Despite the changes the Riptide may have seen on and off the floor over the last month, they’re still powered offensively by NLL leading goal-scorer Jeff Teat.
“He’s a world class talent,” Carey immediately commented when asked about shutting down the offense of Teat.
The last time Rochester and New York met, Teat didn’t record a goal but did register five assists. This week, though, the second-year pro is coming off of his third six-goal effort of the season, and while everyone is distracted by Teat’s offensive contributions, he continues to be one of the best playmakers in the league.
Making it vital for the Knighthawks to not solely focus on Teat this weekend.
“If you focus too much on him (Teat), then he’s going to find a way to have everybody else elevate their game,” said Carey when discussing Teat’s skillset. “He’s not just a goal-scorer, he’s one of the best playmakers in our league. He’s definitely a guy that we have to kind of key in on, but we have to be aware of the other guys that are around him as well because they’re pretty dangerous.”
HOME IS WHERE THE WINS ARE
This season, the Knighthawks have found comfort in the cozy confines of Segar & Sciortino Field at The Blue Cross Arena, going a perfect 4-0 through their first four games on home turf.
“I think, the comfort of being at home, you’re in your own locker room, the mindset that they have coming in is definitely important,” explained Carey when asked why his team was seeing success at home this season.
Also, it doesn’t hurt that the Knighthawks have one of the best and most devoted fanbases in the league.
“Our fans give us a big boost. We have such a great fan base here that’s committed to us and gives that extra kind of jolt that you need. It’s a fun place to play and our guys just feel comfortable and at home here.”
Luckily for the Knighthawks, they’re back at home this weekend after a bye week last week. As Rochester kicks off its second half of the 2022-23 campaign, they’ll host the Riptide on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. at Segar & Sciortino Field at The Blue Cross Arena. The matchup will be the second and final meeting between the intrastate rivals this season and will be carried live on Big 107.3 FM as well as ESPN+.