A series of multi-goal runs proved to be the difference Friday night at Scotiabank Centre, where the Rochester Knighthawks (6-1) suffered a 17-7 loss to the Halifax Thunderbirds (4-3) in the first of two meetings between the two teams.
Despite the defeat, Rochester’s first of the 2022-23 season after starting the campaign 6-0, the Knighthawks remain in first place in the National Lacrosse League’s Eastern Conference standings with a 6-1 record through the first seven contests of the slate.
Holden Cattoni (3+1) led all Knighthawks with team-high four points while Ryan Smith (0+3) posted three assists. Connor Fields (2+0) turned in his sixth multi-goal outing of the campaign with a pair of goals while Turner Evans (1+0) and Brad Gillies (1+0) both scored in the defeat. Paul Dawson, Curtis Knight, Matt Bennett, Ryland Rees, Austin Hasen, Jordan Stouros, and Thomas Hoggarth all produced one assist apiece.
Goaltender Rylan Hartley (6-1) suffered his first loss of the season as he made his seventh straight appearance. The netminder stopped 37 shots in 50 minutes before goaltender Riley Hutchcraft finished the game by making four saves in his Knighthawks debut.
Austin Shanks (3+5), Chris Boushy (3+0) and Wake:Riat BowHunter (3+0) all scored a hat trick for Halifax, which entered the game winless in its past two games. Graeme Hossack (1+1), Ryan Benesch (1+2), Jake Withers (1+2), Clarke Petterson (1+4), Ryan Terefenko (1+2), Eric Fannell (1+3), and Cody Jamieson (1+2) all notched a multi-point effort. Max Wilson added one goal to close out the scoring.
Goaltender Warren Hill (3-2) made his seventh appearance of the campaign and stopped 43 of the 50 shots.
Facing an 8-2 deficit four minutes into the second, Rochester netted the game’s next four goals to pull within a pair of tallies as Cattoni, Gillies and Fields all scored.
Who doesn’t love a good Connor Fields goal? pic.twitter.com/MYeDFJEgeD
— Rochester Knighthawks (@RocKnighthawks) January 28, 2023
Halifax, however, responded and erupted with five straight unanswered goals to take a 13-6 lead at the 10:27 mark of the fourth quarter.
Cattoni capped off his hat trick with under 10 minutes left in regulation, but the Thunderbirds closed out victory as they added four straight to complete the 17-7 score.
To start the contest, Evans and Fields put Rochester on the board in the opening quarter before Halifax erupted for seven consecutive goals to take an 8-2 advantage at the 10:23 mark of the second quarter.
Turner Evans (@turnerevans5) beats Hill and kicks off Week 9
Knighthawks x Thunderbirds
LIVE on ESPN+ (https://t.co/45wihvbBRU) and TSN+ pic.twitter.com/Z4z8xOl3dp
— NLL (@NLL) January 27, 2023
The Knighthawks made it four-goal deficit at the half as Cattoni and Gillies, the latter of whom spent the past three seasons in Halifax, both found the back of the net.
Following the break, Rochester capitalized on a pair of power-plays to make it two-goal game on Fields and Cattoni’s second of the game, however, Halifax scored nine of the game’s next 10 goals to take the win.
The Knighthawks continue their two-game road swing as they take on the Buffalo Bandits for a 7:30 p.m. faceoff on Saturday, Feb. 4 at KeyBank Center. The matchup will be the second of two scheduled meetings between the two rivals this season and will be carried live on Big 107.3 FM as well as ESPN+.