The Rochester Knighthawks (4-4) snapped a two-game losing streak Saturday night in front of 9,101 fans at Scotiabank Saddledome with a 9-8 overtime road win over the Calgary Roughnecks (3-7). The defensive win saw the Knighthawks hold the opposing team to under 10 goals for the third time this season, much to the delight of Rochester assistant coach Pat O’Toole.
“We pride ourselves on defense,” O’Toole said.
The top scorers for the Roughnecks were Wesley Berg (0g, 5a), Curtis Dickson (4g, 0a) and Jeff Shattler (1g, 2a). The most productive Knighthawks were Cody Jamieson (4g, 3a), Dan Dawson (2g, 5a) and Joe Resetarits (1g, 3a).
The Riggers set the tone early on with a lot of physical play. Jeff Shattler opened the scoring with a rocket past Rochester goalie Matt Vinc as Calgary took a 1-0 lead. A quick pair of Cody Jamieson goals gave the Knighthawks 2-1 lead. Curtis ‘Superman’ Dickson pulled off a few slick moves en route to finding the back of the net to tie the game. Dickson got his second of the game finding the back of the net less than a minute later as he shot a laser past Vinc to put the Roughnecks up 3-2 heading into the 2nd quarter. Despite both teams entering the game towards the bottom of their division, O’Toole said his team would be ready for a fight.
“Any given night from top to bottom it’s going to be a close game,” he said. “You can’t look at the schedule and think it’s going to be an easy game.”
Calgary led the shot totals 15-11 after one.
Rochester tied the game less than 90 seconds into the frame off a nice effort from Stephen Keogh, his eighth goal in as many games. Rochester continued its defensive style of game as there was a lot of hard hits and a lot of chances for both teams. The hard play of the Roughnecks didn’t go unnoticed by head coach Curt Malawsky.
“I thought our guys were amazing,” he said. “They battled. And from a coach’s perspective, you can’t ask anything [more] than that.”
The tie didn’t break until Knighthawks forward Joe Resetarits finally got one by Roughnecks goalie Mike Poulin with 5 minutes to go in first half to put his team up 4-3. Poulin sent Shattler in on a breakaway after a nice pass but he rung it off the post. That was the closest Calgary would get to a goal for the rest of the quarter as Rochester carried a 4-3 lead into the second half. Roughneck’s veteran Dickson said he didn’t expect anything less from the Knighthawks.
“It’s always close with these guys,” Dickson admitted. “They’re a great team.”
Despite the low-scoring game, Calgary managed to continue to lead shots, 28-26.
It was a much different third quarter with Keogh potting his second of the game just over two minutes in to give the Knighthawks a 5-3 lead. Calgary defenseman Tyler Burton got one back for the hometown team to bring the lead within one, 5-4. The Riggers tied the game at 5 goals apiece off a great effort from rookie Reilly O’Connor, his fourth game in a row with a goal. Malawsky says O’Connor has been doing everything he’s asked of and more during his rookie season.
“He’s a competitor, he’s a winner,” Malawsky said. “For a young guy to have those minutes and those roles and the way he’s playing, I’m very proud of him.”
Dan Dawson scored his first goal of the night to get the lead back for his team at 6-5. Rochester’s top point scorer Jamieson continued his monster night, scoring his hat trick goal to put the Knighthawks up 7-5. The Riggers refused to quit though, as alternate captain Karsen Leung finally found the score sheet, followed by Dickson’s hat trick goal to retie the game at 7-7. That would do it for the third, shots at 40 for Calgary, 35 for Rochester.
The chess match continued as both teams refused to give an inch. The Roughnecks challenged a no-goal call halfway through the frame, as fans were convinced the ball had crossed the line. The no-goal stood, and a minute later, Jamieson scored his 4th goal of the night to put Rochester up 8-7 with just over 6 to go in the game. O’Toole acknowledged his leading scorer’s offensive abilities, but said he’s much more than just a point getter.
“Cody’s a leader on this team,” he said. “You can’t say enough about his game and what he does for this team.”
Superman responded a minute later with a howitzer for his 4th of the night to tie the game 8-8. Rochester looked like they took the lead with 1:40 to go in the game, but with Resetarits foot in the crease the goal was called back and the game remained tied. The game stayed tied as the teams would head into overtime.
A minute into overtime it was Rochester’s leading scorer Dawson with his second of the game to win it for the Knighthawks. After the game, O’Toole praised the play of his team, especially Vinc.
“He’s been the rock for our team for five years now,” O’Toole said. “He did a great job tonight.”
Despite the loss, Malawsky believes his team won’t take the rest of the season lying down.
“It’s a lot easier for people to quit and take the high road and say it’s not our year and pack it in,” Malawsky said. “But I’ll tell you right now, those men aren’t going to do that.”
Next up for Rochester is a trip to Buffalo to take on the Bandits, while Calgary heads out east to take on the Toronto Rock.
Three Stars of the Game:
1) Cody Jamieson
2) Curtis Dickson
3) Dan Dawson
By Matt Fetinko for NLL.com. Photo by Candice Ward.