As the season’s midway point approaches, the New England Black Wolves need to find some answers quickly. Having played the least amount of games in the East, New England does have a slight advantage on the teams that they are currently looking up to in the standings. However, their current two game skid has produced some glaring issues for a team that looked to be hitting their stride just two weeks ago.
On Saturday, the Black Wolves (3-3) will face off with the Rochester Knighthawks (2-5) in what could be a major turning point in the season for New England. Even this early in the season, a win on Saturday could either springboard the Black Wolves, or it could further set them back and continue to compound the difficulties of their previous two games.
Both, New England and Rochester come in losing their previous game to Georgia. For the Black Wolves, a 10-8 loss on the road offered some positives while a 16-12 home loss for the Knighthawks continued to push them backwards.
New England’s Reilly O’Connor got back to his goal scoring ways as he picked up his fourth hat trick of the season one week after Buffalo held him without a point. O’Connor led the Black Wolves with six points while Callum Crawford continued to be a premier offensive threat with his third straight hat trick and fourth in the team’s six games. Crawford has averaged 5.67 points per game and has scored at least two goals in every game for New England this season.
In comparison, New England fared better than Rochester in their meeting with Georgia last weekend, although both were beaten by the Swarm. Defensively, the Black Wolves gave up fewer shots and allowed less goals to the high powered Swarm offense. On the offensive side, Rochester scored more goals (12) than New England (8), but with that said, the Black Wolves produced more shots against the Swarm’s number one goaltender while the Knighthawks went up against their backup.
No matter which way you look at Saturday’s matchup, the Black Wolves and Knighthawks both desperately need a win and neither team can afford another loss in a highly competitive East Division. Faceoff between the New England and Rochester is set for 7:00 p.m. on Saturday at Mohegan Sun Arena.