Di Miller, NLL Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©
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The Rochester Knighthawks (1-7) hosted the Vancouver Warriors (4-5) for a Sunday matinee on February 9. Rochesther’s faithful 4,063 fans in attendance got to see their team play another hard fought battle. The Knighthawks were looking for their second victory of this long season and it was looking good for them for most of the contest having outscored the Warriors in the first and still holding a lead going into the second. But as had happened in their previous contests, they would come close but couldn’t pull off the win. Final Score OT: Warriors 11—Knighthawks 1o.
The Knighthawks jumped out to a quick three-goal lead with Shawn Evans (2g, 4a); Holden Cattoni (2g, 6a); and Cory Highfield (1g, 1a) getting them going in the first eight minutes. Evans and Highfield would both notch power-play tallies. Vancouver would finally put a halt to the run when Forward Joel McCready (4g, 1a) scored at the 9:27 mark. Keegan Bal (2g, 3a) would put another one up to get them to within one 3-2 with four to go in the first but Cattoni would hit back with 3:10 remaining in the frame for the two goal lead. The Knighthawks ended the first with the lead 4-2.
In the second each side scored four goals apiece. Phil Caputo (4g) got it going 2:14 in and would notch his hat-trick in the contest and his first of the season. In the first nine minutes the teams would trade goal for goal with McCready; Riley Loewen (1g, 2a); Mitch Jones (4g, 5a) on the extra attacker; and Bal on the man-up all putting points on the board for Vancouver. On the other side, (S) Evans would nab another power-play tally along the way. At the end of the first half, Rochester led in shots on goal 29-21; loose balls; 47-37; and power plays 3-4. Vancouver held the lead in face-offs 10-16; and saves 21-15. Score at the end of two: Rochester 8—Vancouver 6
The third was a defensive battle of the net-minders with Vancouver the only side finding a way through the armor. McCready would finally score on the man-up opportunity with 2:10 left in the third. During the frame, Eric Penney made two saves on two shots on goals; and Rylan Hartley faced 18 shots and made 17 saves. The Knighthawks still held a one goal lead at the end of three 8-7.
With 15 left, Rochester had the chance to hold on for the win if they could keep up the momentum. They opened up the fourth with Caputo getting his fourth on th night at the 4:01 mark giving them back the two goal lead 9-7. After five minutes of scoreless lacrosse, McCready and Jones would notch back to back tallies for the equalizer tying the game at nines. With 54 seconds remaining Turner Evans (1g, 1a) spotted a loose ball between the legs of Penney and quickly snapped the ball past the net-minder to give Rochester a 10-9 lead and what fans were hoping would be the game winner with 54 seconds remaining. But Vancouver would pull Penney in the closing seconds and Jones on the extra attacker would tie the game with five seconds left on the ticker sending the game into OT. Score at the end of regulation: Rochester 10—Vancouver 10.
The teams headed into OT and Rochester attempted several shots on the cage, but Vancouver would gain possession and Jones would grab the loosie and head down the floor on the break and fire one five-hole on Hartley for the game winning goal 2:47 into OT. Jones’ OT winner was the only lead of the game for Vancouver all night. Final in OT: Vancouver 11—Rochester 10.
Post Game Interview With Phil Caputo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2VqNvDktn0&feature=youtu.be
Game Highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8p2upjTXl3M&feature=youtu.be
“For me, I have to be less conservative,” said Knighthawks head coach Mike Hasen. “I was thinking more about clock management as opposed to letting the offensive guys be creative. I take full responsibility for that. Our offensive guys are smart enough to put the game away but I should have not have put a hamper on things.”
Rochester has had a tough go of it this season coming close in virtually every contest except their home-opener against Georgia; and the game against Philadelphia on January 19. All their remaining games have been determined by three goals or less. They are so close they can taste it, they just can’t get over that hump. They’ve got to figure out a way to make their shots on goal count. In the contest they were outshot 57-46 and their shots off were almost doubled 32-19. They led in loose balls but their not making those possessions count.
Vancouver: 57 SOG; 19 SOFF; 83 LB; 17-25 FO; 3-3 PP; 10 PIM
Rochester: 46 SOG; 32 SOFF; 93 LB; 8-25 FO; 3-5 PP; 6 PIM
Vancouver Eric Penney: 46 SOG; 36 Saves; 10 GA; .783 Sv%
Rochester Rylan Hartley: 57 SOG; 46 Saves; 11 GA; .807 Sv%
The Rochester Knighthawks (1-7) have a bye-week and will be back in action on Saturday February 22 when they head to New England to face the Black Wolves (4-2), game time 7:00 p.m. EST.
The Vancouver Warriors (4-5) will head back out on the road to face the Toronto Rock (5-2) at Scotiabank Arena on Saturday February 15, game time 7:00 p.m. EST. This will be another game in the Alterna Cup Series. Right now Toronto leads the series 1-0 with Vancouver sitting at 0-1.
Di Miller, NLL Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©