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Knighthawks In Hunt To Stay In Playoff Contention

By Jeremy Pike | NLL.com Staff Writer
Photo Micheline Veluvolu

The Rochester Knighthawks (5-8) host the Calgary Roughnecks (5-8) Saturday April 1 at 7:30pm at the Blue Cross Arena. The game will be live on NLLTV with a subscription.  Both teams come into the Saturday night tilt after picking up big wins last Saturday evening.

The Knighthawks defeated the Buffalo Bandits in the final regular season match-up of the Thruway Rivalry 11-10. The Knighthawks took the season series 2-1 with the victory. The fourth quarter saw Rochester erase a three-goal deficit in 59 seconds, multiple lead changes, and the game-winning goal scored in transition by second-year player Brad Gillies.

The Roughnecks dropped a close 13-10 game to their rivals, the Sasketchewan Rush on Friday evening. On Saturday evening, they returned home to take on the New England Black Wolves and picked up a dominant 18-13 win.

Both teams are clinging to hopes of a playoff berth. Rochester is a game behind New England for the third playoff spot and the Black Wolves do hold the season tiebreaker over them. Calgary is only a half-game back of the Vancouver Stealth. Vancouver does currently hold a 2-1 head-to-head advantage, but the two teams square off later in the season, giving the Roughnecks a chance to wipe out the tiebreaker advantage.

Calgary brings a quality offense into the Blue Cross Arena, ranking third in the league in shots, fourth in shooting percentage, and third in shots on goal. Curtis Dickson leads the team in goals and is tied for the team lead in assists, so he will certainly make a big impact on Saturday night’s game. However, the Knighthawks still have Matt Vinc in net. Vinc ranks third in goals against average, has the fourth-most saves, and ranks fourth in save percentage.

Rochester is not without weapons though. Rookie Kyle Jackson had a big game his second appearance of the season, an 11-point effort versus the Black Wolves. However, his impact on the score sheet dropped off after that performance until the last four games. His lowest output was four points, while last Saturday he led the Knighthawks with eight points and a hat trick in their victory over Buffalo. His teammates have been raving about him, and he needs to continue his scoring tear to keep the Knighthawks in playoff contention.