Camaraderie. That’s one word to describe the vibes going on in the Rochester Knighthawks locker room right now as they remain the only undefeated team in the National Lacrosse League.
And liking one another, genuinely enjoying each other’s company, and wanting to go to battle for your teammates is half the battle to being a successful team in any league.
“They like being around each other, which is great,” said head coach Mike Hasen when asked how much camaraderie has played a role in the Knighthawks’ perfect start to the 2022-23 campaign. “They say, at the end of the day, winning helps that sort of stuff. So, we’ll see what happens and we’ll hit a little bit of adversity – because it’s coming – but right now we’re going to ride this wave all the way through.”
For the first time in new-era Knighthawks history, the team has surpassed four wins on the season. After an 11-8 win over the New York Riptide Sunday afternoon, Rochester surged to a perfect 5-0 record.
Something that seemed very unlikely at the start of the Knighthawks third season in the NLL.
“I don’t think we focus too much on what other people say about our team,” commented transition player Ryland Rees when asked about outside expectations at the beginning of the season. “Put us last, put us first. It doesn’t really matter. I think you come out every game kind of knowing that you’re that underdog, whether you are not, and we just come out and win.”
This underdog mindset mixed with the camaraderie in the Knighthawks locker room is what is helping this team sit atop the league currently. Everyone is buying in to the systems that the coaching staff is providing, everyone is trusting each other and we’re watching this young Knighthawks team flourish in the face of adversity.
“To me, we’re all trusting one another as a whole team – starting from goaltending all the way to the offense and you can just see the confidence level is up,” stated Knighthawks defenseman Tyler Halls when asked about the solid defensive efforts Rochester has put up through its first five games.
The trust and camaraderie will have to continue to flow this weekend as the Knighthawks have, possibly, their toughest game to date when taking on the Buffalo Bandits.
Rochester will look to make it six in a row when they return home this Friday, Jan. 20 against the Bandits at Segar & Sciortino Field at The Blue Cross Arena. The 7:30 p.m. contest will be the first of two scheduled meetings between the intrastate rivals this season and will be carried live on Big 107.3 FM as well as ESPN+.