In front of a spirited Rochester crowd, the Knighthawks battled until the end of the game with a few late goals, but ultimately fell 14-11 to the Toronto Rock.
The Rock offense was too much to handle for the Knighthawks as they went on several runs throughout the game.
The Rock started off with 2 quick goals in the 1st, but Pat Saunders responded with the Knighthawks first goal to make it 2-1. The teams traded goals until the Rock began a run that saw them go into halftime leading 6-3. The Knighthawks needed to come out strong in the 3rd Quarter to get back into the game, but the Rock went on another 3-goal run to start the second half that made the hole even deeper.
“That’s two games in a row we’ve come out slow in the second half so that’s something we gotta fix obviously,” said Knighthawks Forward Curtis Knight. “We have a young team and one thing we need to learn is how to bounce back after letting a couple goals in.”
Knighthawks’ goalie Steve Fryer had to leave the game in the 3rd Quarter after an awkward movement on a Toronto goal. Craig Wende came into the game and let in two tough goals in quick succession. However, Wende settled in and would go on to make 16 saves on the night to give his team a chance to come back.
Off of an over and back with about 3 seconds left in the 3rd, Thomas Whitty looked to have scored on an empty net, but it was ruled a dead ball play.
A couple Powerplay goals and creative shovel shots by Shawn Evans gave the Knighthawks some life in the 4th as they made it as close at 13-10, but they would run out of time as their comeback fell short with Challen Rogers putting in an empty netter for the Rock to seal the game and improve to 2-1 on the season.
Rob Hellyer and Dan Craig led the way with 4 goals each for the Rock, while veteran Dan Dawson finished with 1 goal and 6 assists as he patiently quarterbacked their offense. Goalie Nick Rose was tough for the Knighthawks shooters to crack as he ended the night with 38 saves on 49 shots on goal.
Toronto’s Brad Kri had a tremendous game as he added 3 assists, picked up 12 loose balls, caused 5 turnovers, and mucked it up in the faceoff circle to go 15 for 26 against the NLL’s All-Time Faceoff wins leader Jay Thorimbert. That is about as complete of a lacrosse game as a player can have.
Cousins Shawn and Turner Evans started to click for the Knighthawks in the second half as they connected for 3 goals on the night.
“We started finding some chemistry there, but it was a little late in the game,” said Shawn Evans. “Hopefully we can build off of that for next game. We’ve got to continue to find chemistry and get our chances.”
The goaltending battle will also continue to evolve between Steve Fryer and Craig Wende as the Knighthawks head into another bye week.
“That’s one of the things we’re trying to evaluate right now,” said Knighthawks Head Coach Mike Hasen. “Who can be that starter for us that’s going to give us consistent minutes and who’s going to be able to come off the bench and stop those runs.”
The Knighthawks fall to 0-3 on the season, but there are lots of positives all over the floor as they are getting more comfortable with each other on offense and defense. Unfortunately, there are also mistakes that need to be corrected to play a complete game that will end with a win.
The Knighthawks are still looking for their first win in their new franchise history and they will have a chance to do it against the Rock in Toronto on January 11.