With only two games left on the 2018 NLL regular season schedule, the Rochester Knighthawks are improbably primed to lock up a playoff spot. When the Knighthawks (9-7) play host to the New England Black Wolves (8-8) Saturday April 21 at 7:30PM ET, a win secures a playoff spot. Hard to fathom just how far the team has come since they hit 2-6 earlier in the season.
The Knighthawks are coming off a 14-11 victory over the Toronto Rock that saw them come back from an 8-3 deficit midway through the second quarter. After another comeback win during a stretch of seven wins in eight games, the Knighthawks have certainly overcome adversity during this season. Josh Currier, who notched a hat trick versus Toronto, summed up where the team is at mentally late in the season.
“I never get worried with this group, even when we’re down,” said Currier to Knighthawks.com after the victory. “We were down last game, and we started out down this game. With this group, it doesn’t matter. We battle back.”
Rookie Jake Withers has been a consistent force for the Knighthawks this season, leading the league with 243 faceoff wins on only 365 faceoffs taken. He set the league rookie record and the franchise single-season record versus Toronto.
Withers was not the only Knighthawks player who made history as goalie Matt Vinc became only the second goalie in league history to reach the 7,000 save plateau after recording 41 saves.
Forward Joe Resetarits has a chance to make history Saturday night. He can set the league record for points scored by a US-born player with a three-point night. Considering he ranks fourth in the league with 92 points and has not scored less than three points in any game this season, he should set the record with a game to go.
Despite all the winning as of late and the records set last week, Rochester knows it will have its hands full versus the Black Wolves. The teams have faced off twice this season, with New England taking both games by a combined three goals. The Black Wolves are also coming off a 10-6 win over the Colorado Mammoth with goalie Aaron Bold stopping 36 of the 42 shots he faced.
The East division playoff race is airtight, with the Knighthawks and the Georgia Swarm tied at 9-7. The Buffalo Bandits are in third with an 8-8 record by virtue of sweeping the season series versus New England. The Black Wolves are in fourth, and Toronto is alone in fifth place with a 7-9 record. With only two games separating first and fifth place, every single game matters.
A victory for the Knighthawks creates some separation along with locking up that playoff berth. They can even lock up a home playoff game if the Buffalo Bandits lose. A victory for the Black Wolves throws the East into even more chaos and almost everything would be up for grabs heading into the final weekend of the season.