The defending champion Rochester Knighthawks will host the Minnesota Swarm for a preseason game on Saturday, Dec. 8 at Blue Cross Arena. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)
The defending champion Rochester Knighthawks reopened training camp on Wednesday in Six Nations, Ont. to prepare for their National Lacrosse League preseason game against the Minnesota Swarm on Saturday, Dec. 8 at Blue Cross Arena. The 8 p.m. game marks the return of the Knighthawks to their home turf where they won their third Champion's Cup title last May.
Knighthawks owner Curt Styres has purchased all the tickets to the game and has made them available for free online at Knighthawks.com. Fans must have a ticket to attend the exhibition. The exhibition will be streamed live on YouTube while fans in the Rochester area can also tune into the game on Sportsradio 950 ESPN. A live webcast of the game will be available.
This is the second straight year that Rochester has hosted Minnesota for a preseason game. Last season, Cody Jamieson led the way with six goals, including three straight in the third quarter, to help the Knighthawks defeat the Swarm, 19-15. Jamieson led the way for Rochester with nine points (6+3), while Brad Self and Jordan Hall also had strong games with five points (3+2) each for the Knighthawks. The two teams split their regular season series in 2012.
Spreading Holiday Cheer
Before and the during the game, kids can meet Santa to make last-minute gift requests prior to his big night delivering gifts. Fans can also drop off a new, unwrapped toy to the United States Marine Corps’ “Toys for Tots” drive. The Knighthawks have again partnered with the USMC in an effort to provide Christmas gifts to the needy children of the Greater Rochester Area and surrounding communities.
The Knighthawks are led by 2012 NLL Championship Game MVP Cody Jamieson and two-time NLL Goalie of the Year Matt Vinc. Rochester also boasts second-year stars in 2012 All-Rookie Team members Stephen Keogh and Johnny Powless. The 19-year-old Powless hit the 50-point plateau and earned the NLL Sportsmanship Award last season while Keogh finished third on the team with 58 points, which ranked third among NLL rookies. Rochester concluded the 2012 campaign with wins in five of its last six games. The Knighthawks rallied from a 5-1 halftime deficit to defeat the Edmonton Rush 9-6 in the NLL title game.
New faces added to defending champs
Rochester enters the preseason with some new additions. The most notable acquisitions are Casey Powell, Joel McCready, Tom Montour and Ian Llord. Powell, the 2010 NLL MVP, enters his 10th season of professional lacrosse and his third season with the Knighthawks. McCready, who like Powell sat out last year, begins his fourth season with the Knighthawks. Llord comes to Rochester after spending five of his six seasons in the NLL with the Knighthawks’ thruway rivals, the Buffalo Bandits. Montour enters his 11th season in the NLL in 2012 after spending the last four seasons in Buffalo. Originally drafted by the Toronto Rock in 2002, the transition man has played for four teams. The 30-year-old won a Champion’s Cup in 2003 with Toronto.
After reaching the NLL West Division Finals for the first time in team history last year, the Swarm restocked their roster with a slew of first-round picks. Minnesota used four picks to acquire transition man Brock Sorensen (2nd overall), forward Kiel Matisz (3rd overall), forward Shayne Jackson (4th overall) and defenseman Alex Crepinsek (10th overall). Crepinsek played his college lacrosse at RIT, and will join former Tigers standout Jordan MacIntosh on the Swarm.
Knighthawks conclude preseason in Quebec
Rochester will conclude its preseason with a showdown against the Toronto Rock in downtown Montreal on Saturday, Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m. at Bell Centre, home of the NHL's Montreal Canadiens. The game features local talent with a player from Quebec on each team after a selection camp last month.
A Game of Champions
The Montreal exhibition game will feature the last two Champion’s Cup winners in Rochester and Toronto, as the Rock won the NLL Championship in 2011. The players expected to take part in the game include Garrett Billings, who was second in the NLL in points in 2012, and Second Team All-Pro Cody Jamieson of the Knighthawks.
Rochester native and Knighthawks forward Joe Walters will also return to the turf after an impressive 2012 playoff run, which included Rochester's first ever postseason win in Toronto.
"I look forward to playing an exhibition game in Montreal in December," Walters said. "Bringing lacrosse back to the city will be a great experience, especially playing against one of our rivals. Giving the fans in Montreal a chance to see a live NLL game will hopefully spark a return of lacrosse to the market."
Rochester will begin its title defense on the road against the Washington Stealth on Saturday, Jan. 5 at 10 p.m. ET at Comcast Arena in Everett, Wash. to kick off the 2013 NLL regular season.
The Knighthawks host the Buffalo Bandits for their home opener at Blue Cross Arena at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 19.