Di Miller, NLL Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©
Featured Image Photo Credit: Mike McGinnis
The Rochester Knighthawks (2-9) were in San Diego on Saturday March 7 to face the first of two West Division teams in this double-header weekend. They started it off against the Seals (6-6) at Pechanga Arena on “Wookie of the Year” Night in front of 6,292 San Diego fans. It was another tough night for the expansion team as the home team would dominate the floor outscoring the visitor with a barrage of goals like bullets. The majority of the scoring occurred in the first half with the Seals leading 11-5 heading into the half; and it was too much for the Knighthawks to overcome. Final Score: San Diego 19—Rochester 6.
Rochester got on the board first at 2:23 with Turner Evans (1g, 1a) 1-0 ‘Hawks. The lead was quickly extinguished with the Seals putting up goals from Zack Greer (3g, 5a); Austin Staats (2g, 5a) and Casey Jackson (5g, 2a) within two minutes and they’d go up 3-1. Curtis Knight (2g, 4a) stopped the run putting them back to within one with 4:16 left in the frame, but that was short lived. Jackson and Staats found twine once again for the Seals and they’d go back up by two. With 49.3 seconds left in the first, the Knighthawks had a chance to close the gap on a penalty shot, but Knight was unable to put it past Frankie Scigliano and the score stood. Score at the end of one: San Diego 5—Rochester 3.
The fans were treated to a high scoring second with the Seals putting up another six goals surpassing their first quarter total. Rochester got it going quickly with Holden Cattoni (1g, 1a) finding a piece of the net 47 seconds in getting them back to within one 5-4. It took a minute and a half before Wes Berg (2g, 6a) and Jeremy Noble (1g, 2a) would each score with Noble’s a shorthanded tally. Knight would stop another run by the Seals 41 seconds later but once again, the Seals would go on their second three-goal run on the night. Connor Fields (3g, 3a) put it by Rylan Hartley with a back side cut to start it off; and Kevin Buchanan would notch back-to-back tallies at 8:09 and 9:08. Then newly signed Cam Milligan would notch his first goal in a Rochester jersey with a no look shot far side top with 5:02 in the half to close the gap to five. Once again the Seals would notch another short-handed goal with the extra attacker and 2:33 in the half. Jackson would notch his hat-trick off an almost perpendicular shot when he somehow found a way to put it in between the pipe and Hartley. At the end of the first half the stats were staggering. San Diego led in shots on goal 38-17; and loose balls 43-31. They had a slight lead in face-offs 11-19. Score at the end of two: San Diego 11—Rochester 5.
The second half was all San Diego except for the lone goal by Ryland Rees (1g, 2a) at the 2:09 in the third. Off the feed from Knight, Rees with the crease dive put it past Scigliano far side 11-6 in favor of the Seals. Greer would notch back-to-back goals; and Fields would notch his second. At the 8:55 mark, Matt Sykes would score his first career NLL goal in transition for San Diego. The goal would cause Rochester Bench Boss Mike Hasen to pull Hartley in favor of Craig Wende. Jackson would close out the frame with 3:49 remaining with his fourth on the night. San Diego led in shots on goal 54-27; loose balls 62-43; and face-offs 14-26. Score at the end of three: San Diego 16—Rochester 6.
Scoring was virtually non-existent in the fourth. San Diego scored the only three goals with Fields notching his hat-trick at 1:04; Jackson scoring his fifth on the night at 1:52; and Berg notching his second at 4:03. With 8:19 left in the contest, Seals Bench Boss Patrick Merrill decided it was time to give Scigliano a rest and put in Nick Damude for the remainder of the contest. He went 4 for 4 stopping the four shots he faced. Rochester had lots of dropped passes and miscues throughout the remainder of the frame and looked disheveled. Wende did well in between the pipes for the 21:05 he stood on his feet making 19 of 21 saves. But the offense couldn’t capitalize. Final Score: San Diego 19—Rochester 6.
In order to score goals, you have to take shots on the cage. San Diego had four of their scorers, Jackson (18 SOG); Fields, Staats and Buchanan all with (11 SOG). Combined they totaled 12 of the 19 goals for the Seals. In comparison, Rochester didn’t have a single shooter over 10 shots. The closest they came was Curtis Knight with eight and he scored two of their goals; next was Holden Cattoni with seven and he scored once; and Turner Evans with six and he also scored once. You have to take the shots if you want to score. If Rochester has any hopes of coming close to defeating the Mammoth they need to shoot on the cage.
On the other side, San Diego started out the season 1-5 and since that time have gone 5-1. The teams in the West Division need to be wary of the Seals given the strange scenarios for the Wild Card spots in the playoffs. In fact, teams around the league need to be wary if they’re vying for that Wild Card as well.
Rochester: 35 SOG; 15 SOFF; 66 LB; 13-30 FO; 1-4 PP; 15 PIM
San Diego: 71 SOG; 17 SOFF; 85 LB; 17-30 FO; 2-2 PP; 21 PIM
Rochester Rylan Hartley: 49 SOG; 34 Saves; 15 GA; .694 Sv%
Rochester Craig Wende: 22 SOG; 18 Saves; 4 GA; .818 Sv%
San Diego Frank Scigliano: 31 SOG; 25 Saves; 6 GA; .806 Sv%
San Diego Nick Damude: 4 SOG; 4 Saves; 0 GA; 1.000 Sv%
The Rochester Knighthawks (2-9) are in Colorado today Sunday March 8, to face the red hot Mammoth (6-6), game time 7:00 p.m. EST. The Mammoth are on a three-game winning streak and the Knighthawks are coming off little sleep. This will be a tough game for them, but never underestimate the underdog.
The San Diego Seals (6-6) will head north to Vancouver to face the Warriors (4-9) on Friday March 13, game time 10:30 p.m. EST. The Seals lead the series 2-0…can the Warriors stop the sweep?
Di Miller, NLL Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©