On a night where Rochester Knighthawks (2-3) forward Shawn Evans added another monumental milestone to his already illustrious National Lacrosse League career, a second-half surge by the Philadelphia Wings (4-2) proved to be too much for the Knighthawks to overcome as Rochester began its three-game road swing on the short end of an 18-10 decision Saturday at Wells Fargo Center.
After going into the half with a two-goal lead, the Knighthawks were held to just three goals over the final 30 minutes of play as the Wings outscored Rochester 13-3, including 8-1 in the third quarter.
WATCH: GAME HIGHLIGHTS
Rochester forward Thomas Hoggarth (3+2) paved the way for the team’s offense with his three goals and two assists on the night, while reigning Knighthawks Offensive Player of the Year Holden Cattoni (2+1) and forward Turner Evans (2+0 both had two-goal efforts. Transition players Ryland Rees (1+0), Matt Gilray (1+0) and forward Curtis Knight (1+1) all added a goal apiece.
Veteran forward Shawn Evans (0+6) collected a team-high six assists to add to his overall stat line for the 2021-22 campaign, becoming just the fifth player in league history to reach 800 career assists with the primary helper on Cattoni’s first-quarter buzzer-beater.
WATCH: HOLDEN CATTONI’S BUZZER-BEATER
Goaltender Rylan Hartley (1-2) made his third start of the 2021-22 campaign, logging 39:05 in the crease and getting the loss while stopping 35 shots. Rookie goaltender Joel Watson came into the game during the third quarter for his second relief appearance of the season, logging 20:55 in the net and making 11 saves. The duo collectively faced a season-high 64 shots-against throughout the contest.
Philadelphia forward Ben McIntosh (3+2) led the goal-scoring for his squad, knocking in three markers on the night, while forward Kevin Crowley (2+7) paced all Wings players with a team-high nine-point effort on two goals and seven assists. Blaze Riorden (2+0), Matt Rambo (2+1), Cory Vitarelli (2+3), Brett Hickey (2+2) and Kiel Matisz (2+3) and Trevor Baptiste (2+0) all scored twice while Baptiste went 20-for-27 on face-offs, including picking up his 700th career face-off win. Defenseman Anthony Joaquim (1+0) knocked in a goal, while forward Corey Small (0+4) had a four-assist night.
Wings goaltender Zach Higgins (2-1) made his fifth appearance in the crease this season and notched his second win, stopping 44 of the 54 shots he faced.
With his assist on Holden Cattoni’s goal, Shawn Evans becomes the 5th player in league history to record 800 NLL assists.
CONGRATS SHAWN 👏 pic.twitter.com/CblZGLRa8U
— Rochester Knighthawks (@RocKnighthawks) January 23, 2022
There was no shortage of shots for the Knighthawks in the first quarter as they outshot the Wings 16 to 12, however, it was Philadelphia who would get the ball rolling.
After the first frame was silent for the first 8:05 of play, Philadelphia would notch back-to-back markers from Riorden and Vitarelli 60 seconds apart to take a 2-0 lead.
Rochester did answer back, though, using back-to-back strikes of its own prior to the quarter’s end.
With 2:40 left in the quarter, Rees intercepted an errant pass from Rambo in front of the Rochester crease and took off in transition before ripping a shot past Higgins for the Knighthawks first tally of the night, matching his career-high of four goals he set during his truncated rookie campaign in 2019-20.
Shawn Evans out here making everyone around him better 👏
Beauty of a pass sets up the dunk for Evans’ 800th assist! pic.twitter.com/AKEo88OEa9
— NLL (@NLL) January 23, 2022
Rochester then tied it up on a buzzer-beater from Cattoni. During a six-on-five situation for Rochester, Cattoni sliced down the middle of the floor, received a pass from Shawn Evans and beat Higgins with .02 to spare in the opening frame.
A back-and-forth second quarter saw the teams combine for eight goals and featured four different goal-scorers for Rochester.
With momentum on its side to begin the second, Rochester took its first lead of the contest just 40 seconds in thanks to a perfectly executed give-and-go by Hoggarth and Shawn Evans to put the Knighthawks ahead 3-2. Just 22 seconds later, Turner Evans would net his first of two on the night, making it four-straight goals for Rochester to double the score at 4-2.
Crowley would score twice in the frame for Philadelphia, once at 2:08 to bring the Wings within a goal, and then again at 10:11 following goals from Gilray and Hoggarth of the Knighthawks.
WATCH: REES SCORES IN TRANSITION
Gilray picked up a loose ball on an outlet and went coast-to-coast before Hoggarth converted on a rebound to extend Rochester’s lead to 6-3.
Cattoni and Riorden exchanged goals in the final minutes of the quarter as Rochester held a 7-5 lead entering halftime.
Coming out of the half, Philadelphia began to push the momentum in its favor 25 seconds into the third frame with its third power-play marker of the night, which would ignite an eight-goal run for the Wings.
Nearly 12 full minutes passed before the Knighthawks would find the back of the net again with 1:34 remaining in the frame. Knight halted Philadelphia’s run as he’d set up on the right and send a shot to the near side past Higgins to set the score at 13-8 heading into the final frame.
Going coast to coast…
We going coast to coast
Gilray making it look EASY out here… pic.twitter.com/mxcy3c7Npm
— NLL (@NLL) January 23, 2022
The Knighthawks would score just twice more in the final 15 minutes of the contest, while Philadelphia piled on another five goals. Turner Evans found his second tally of the night, while Hoggarth finished up the contest with his first hat trick of the 2021-22 campaign.
Rochester continues its three-game road swing on Saturday, Jan. 29 as the Knighthawks venture north of the border to take on the six-time NLL champion Toronto Rock at FirstOntario Centre. The 7 p.m. matchup will be the first of two scheduled meetings between the two teams this season and will be carried live on 107.3 FM The Bull and ESPN+.