The Rochester Knighthawks (5-10) return home to the Blue Cross Arena to play host to the New England Black Wolves (8-8) Saturday April 22 and 7:30pm ET. The Knighthawks are officially eliminated from the playoffs with a loss to New England.
The Knighthawks dropped a road game to the Colorado Mammoth (9-7) last Saturday 13-7. The Mammoth used a 10-0 run that spanned parts of three quarters to put the game out of reach by just after halftime. Rochester fought back and outscored the Mammoth 6-3 over the final 26 minutes but it was simply too little, too late. On the plus side for Rochester, Torrey Van Every made his professional debut and scored two goals.
As for the Black Wolves, they traveled west to take on the Sasketchewan Rush and came away with a 13-12 overtime victory last Saturday night. Kyle Buchanan led the way for the Black Wolves with a six-point night (4+2), but it was Shawn Evans’ second goal of the night in overtime that gave New England the much-needed win.
The Knighthawks can tie the season series at two games a piece to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. They will need a big game from Kyle Jackson who had been scoring at a high rate over the second half of the season but was held to only two points (1+1) by Colorado. The Black Wolves’ Evan Kirk allows an average of 12.68 goals per game and has a save percentage of .773, so Rochester should get some chances. They will need more players to step it up as no player had more than two points last Saturday night. The Knighthawks will also need to be more disciplined after committing four penalties in the second quarter that led to two power-play goals for Colorado.
On defense, the Knighthawks will have their hands full as New England has two forwards with at least 30 goals in Evans and Kevin Crowley. Goalie Matt Vinc has allowed an average of 11.12 goals per game, good for third in the league, while holding a .780 save percentage which ranks fifth.
The last time these two teams met, the Black Wolves held on for a slim 12-11 victory at home. Since that loss, Rochester has dropped two out of their three games to put them in their current playoff predicament. A win versus the Black Wolves keeps their hopes alive, where as a loss turns their attention firmly to seeing how their young players will continue to develop and the next draft.
As for New England, the math is simple: win and they are in the playoffs. The Georgia Swarm have already locked up first play in the East, so New England is fighting the Toronto Rock, the Buffalo Bandits, and the Knighthawks for a spot in the playoffs and even the second seed.