Rochester Knighthawks defenseman Tyler Halls established himself as a big team guy last year, and this year it’s looking like he’s doing the same thing just three games into the 2022-23 campaign. While Halls was the player that went 23-for-30 on face-offs last weekend against the Albany FireWolves, he attributed his success from the overall team effort out on the floor.
“It was overall just a team effort,” said Halls when asked what was working for him last weekend. “Honestly, everyone says, ‘Oh, you just need a face-off guy or strictly a face-off person,’ and to me it’s a team effort. At the end of the day, you want the ground ball as a team and to make that (the face-off) a loose ball where I can trust the other guys to come and get that ball for me.”
Halls is back for his second season with the Knighthawks after appearing in 10 of Rochester’s 18 games in 2021-22. In the time Halls saw on the floor last season, the defenseman tallied three points on two assists and his first professional goal that came on March 12 against the New York Riptide.
After being in and out of the lineup for the first half of the 2021-22 campaign, Halls became a permanent fixture for the Knighthawks over their final seven games while always exuding a team-first mentality. Predominantly a defenseman, Halls became one of the team’s regular face-off specialists towards the end of the year.
And we’re seeing that same trend with Halls to kick-off the new-era Knighthawks’ third season in the league.
“I guess the biggest thing is if he (an opponent) always wants to try and push the ball, he wants to sell,” Halls explained when asked how he can level up on face-offs this season when this hasn’t been his primary role since his junior days. “That’s what I found with a lot of face-offs every week, is that they’re really strong towards winning the ball to themselves. You have to try and eliminate that from them – don’t let them get the ball back into their stick, just focus on making it that loose ball.”
Tyler Halls was DOMINANT on Saturday, winning 23/30 face offs and leading the team with 13 loose ball recoveries.
— Rochester Knighthawks (@RocKnighthawks) December 19, 2022
As the 2021-22 season came to a close on April 30 against the Halifax Thunderbirds, Halls was honored with the Knighthawks Teammate of the Year award by demonstrating the utmost professionalism, hard work and immense dedication to his teammates and the Knighthawks organization last season.
Being given that honor in his first year with Rochester gave Halls the extra boost in confidence we already see him exuding so early in the year.
“Confidence is the biggest thing,” said the Knighthawks defenseman when asked how much he’s changed from last year to the young start of the 2022-23 season. “If you’re confident in yourself, it shows in your game, right? It’s something that always will guide you through life. I find if you’re always confident in life, you’re going to go that extra mile, get that extra distance, and that was probably the biggest thing coming into this year was the confidence. I knew that I had to be confident in myself just because my teammates had the confidence in me.”
Prior to the season, Halls set out to be better defensively and, so far, his goals have been living up to his determination. Through the Knighthawks first three games of the year, Halls is once again the go-to guy in the face-off circle while already registering 24 loose ball recoveries and posting an assist in the team’s first game against the Georgia Swarm on Dec. 3.
Halls and the Knighthawks return home following their annual Christmas break on Saturday, Jan. 7 as the Panther City Lacrosse Club makes its inaugural visit to Rochester. The 7 p.m. matchup from Segar & Sciortino Field at The Blue Cross Arena will be the only meeting of the season between the two teams and will be carried live on Big 107.3 FM as well as ESPN+.