Rochester’s six-game losing streak started in Georgia and ended there a month and a half later.
“We just kicked a big monkey off our back, and hopefully we just keep on rolling from here,” Knighthawks head coach Mike Hasen said after Rochester snapped its losing streak on Sunday night.
The Rochester Knighthawks (3-6) took advantage of a struggling Georgia Swarm (3-5) and won 17-10 at Infinite Energy Arena. This is the second time the two teams have met in Georgia, both having won a game there.
After dropping the first game of its doubleheader 12-9 against the Toronto Rock on Saturday night, Rochester used a seven-goal run in the middle of the game and a seven-goal fourth quarter to shutdown the home team.
Georgia’s doubleheader weekend following a bye week went worse as it dropped both games, the first to the Buffalo Bandits by way of an 18-9 score.
“Things aren’t going our way this season,” Lyle Thompson said. “You can look back and look at last year and look at what we did right. That’s one way to start. We’ve got a new group here, and it’s about building and looking forward and continue building. There’s still a lot of season left.”
Led by Matt Vinc, the Knighthawks defense only allowed 10 GA on 48 SOG and prevented Georgia from scoring for the first 17 min. of the game. Vinc finished the night with a .792 SV%.
Rochester’s offense had two four-goal scorers on it but was led by Joe Resetarits and Austin Shanks in points via assists, Resetarits with eight points (1G, 7A) and Shanks with seven (1G, 6A). Alternate captain Cody Jamieson and Kyle Jackson each netted four goals, and the Knighthawks were perfect on the power play with four goals.
“We’ve been working hard for a while, and the shots weren’t falling, and we weren’t coming out on the right side of it,” Jamieson said. “So, it’s nice to come out on the right side of a game for the first time in a while.”
Eric Fannell started the scoring off for the night with a diving goal while dragging his defender, followed shortly by a goal from Josh Currier. Strong defense was the name of the game for the quarter, but not in Georgia’s favor as the team was unable to find the back of the net once.
The Swarm’s scoring drought did not last long in the second quarter as Randy Staats started the quarter’s scoring. K. Jackson responded before Georgia went on a three-goal run to take the lead. It did not last long as Jamieson twisted one past goaltender Mike Poulin to tie things up, and K. Jackson scored a PPG to retake the lead. Rochester netted two more goals and finished the first half up 7-4.
The Knighthawks continued its goal run into the third quarter, and after three goals in under a minute, found itself up 10-4. For the second night in a row, Swarm head coach Ed Comeau pulled Poulin and replaced him with Warren Hill. The seven-goal run was broken up by Lyle, and Kiel Matisz found the back of the net with a jumping five-hole shot. The third quarter ended with Rochester still up, 10-6.
The hole Georgia dug for itself early only got bigger in the fourth quarter as Rochester used seven goals to bury the defending champs. Jamieson and K. Jackson jumped early in the fourth to widen the lead by two before rookie Zed Williams scored an unassisted goal for the Swarm to slow the bleeding.
After both teams scored again, a four-goal run led by K. Jackson gave the Knighthawks a nine-goal cushion, and the final two balls to find the back of the net for Georgia were too little, too late. Rochester got revenge for the first game of the season series with an emphatic 17-10 win.
“We’ve been working hard, and we finally got rewarded with a W,” Hasen said. “So, we’ll enjoy tonight and get to work again tomorrow.”
Jerome Thompson led the Swarm in points with five (2G, 3A), and Lyle had four points (2G, 2A) on the night. The Swarm sat the struggling Johnny Powless and gave its D players the green light, hoping to create opportunities.
“We wanted to push the pace,” Comeau said. “I think we need to when we’re struggling to score out the front door. We kind of said let’s try to create some opportunities with our D guys running the floor. Hopefully, either they’re getting shots, or our O guys are getting shots coming off the bench, trying to manufacture some goals for us.”
Poulin finished the night playing 33:46 min. and making 26 saves on 36 SOG, a 17.77 GAA and a .722 SV%. Hill earned his second loss of the season. He spent 26:14 min. between the pipes and made 17 saves on 24 SOG, a 16.01 GAA and a .708 SV%.
Rochester returns home to welcome the Saskatchewan Rush (8-1) on Saturday, Feb. 17. Faceoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.
Georgia’s next game is also at home as it readies for the Toronto Rock (5-3). It will be the first time the two teams have met this season. After a weekend in which it was outscored 35-19, the Swarm need to put this weekend behind it while learning lessons from it quickly.
“I mean, there’s only one way,” Lyle said about how to shrug off this weekend’s two losses. “You look forward, you start to prepare for Toronto, and have a short memory. Tough weekend. I guess we look back on film, see what we did good, see what we did bad, and learn from it.”
“We’re going to have our work cut out for us,” Comeau said. “I think every guy in the locker room is going to look in the mirror. You got to bring your best next week.”