A new era of Rochester Knighthawks’ lacrosse will begin Saturday night as they open their inaugural season against the Georgia Swarm at Blue Cross Arena.
The name of the team may be the same, but the logo, the turf, the uniforms, and the players are all new offering a blank slate to begin a new chapter of NLL lacrosse in Rochester.
Head Coach Mike Hasen is one of the few returning pieces from the previous Knighthawks organization and with the help of GM Dan Carey they have put together a solid roster to make a run at the playoffs.
The month-long training camp allowed the players and coaches to get acquainted during their practices and preseason games as they come off an encouraging 15-11 preseason win against the Philadelphia Wings last weekend. The Knighthawks 2.0 are ready to put on a show for Rochester lacrosse fans in their first regular season action against the Swarm.
The offense should have no trouble finding the back of the net with this dangerous group of playmakers lead by two-time NLL MVP Shawn Evans. Evans will likely be the focal point and main initiator as he will go hard to the net looking to score or feed his teammates.
Evans will have veteran righties Curtis Knight, who won two NLL Championships with the Saskatchewan Rush in 2016 and 2018, and crafty finisher Dan Lintner to work with on the right side. Evans will also have immediate chemistry with cousin Turner Evans who will be across from him in a lefty group that will have some extra range with Holden Cattoni’s cannon of a shot.
The defense will be anchored by veterans Paul Dawson, Jay Thorimbert, and Dylan Evans, but will need its rookies and younger players to step up right away. They have had a month of training camp to build some chemistry and if this defensive group can come together, they will give the Knighthawks a great chance to win every night.
The Knighthawks’ top draft pick Ryland Rees has the pedigree to make the transition to the speed of the NLL right away and could be a difference maker on defense early on. Rees along with a very talented group of young defenders will be able to fly up the floor to create transition scoring opportunities.
In between the pipes, expect Steve Fryer to get the start. Fryer has spent the past two seasons logging minutes as Dillon Ward’s backup in Colorado but looks ready to make the jump to full time starter. Fryer’s experience will provide a calm and steady presence on the back end.
The Knighthawks will face a Georgia Swarm team that returns the bulk of its roster from the 2019 season and boasts one of the NLL’s best players in Lyle Thompson. The Knighthawks’ offense will face goalie Mike Poulin who was fifth in goals against during the 2019 regular season. The Swarm will be a great test in the first ever game for this new group of Knighthawks.
Face-off for the game is set for 7:00 p.m. ET and can be watched with a subscription on the B/R Live app which is available on the web or through iTunes, Google Play, Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire. B/R Live is free for the first two weeks of the NLL season.