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Pack Mentality: Knighthawks At Black Wolves

The Rochester Knighthawks hit the road to take on the New England Black Wolves for a Week 2 matchup at Mohegan Sun Arena on Saturday, Jan. 10 at 7 p.m. ET. Watch the game live on UniversalSports.com.

The Knighthawks are coming off a tough 13-12 defeat at the hands of their divisional rivals, the Toronto Rock this past Saturday at the Blue Cross Arena. The Knighthawks did not trail in that game until the Rock took the lead with 4:59 left in the fourth quarter.

“We’re looking to rebound on our effort from last week,” said Knighthawks coach Mike Hasen. “It’s not the start we wanted. We had some good moments and some moments we’ve got to make sure we correct moving forward for this weekend in New England… You take the lessons from week to week, and you move forward. It was game one of this league… We expect ourselves to be better this coming week, and the same thing with New England. We’ve just got to focus on a few little things and correct a few mistakes we made last week. That’s our mindset moving forward from week to week.”

“It wasn’t the end result we wanted,” said Knighthawks forward Cody Jamieson. “But the good thing moving forward was we got… to see what it takes to win in this league again. Maybe we forgot that over the offseason.”

Hasen has some of those lessons already in mind for the Knighthawks to work on, and the players are aware of those lessons too.

“We like to see more ball movement on the offensive end,” Hasen said. “Not settling for some outside shots that we took early in shot clocks. Defensively, we’ve got to be a lot better. We need to be more disciplined in our positioning and sticking to our principles… As a team, we’ve got to work for each other front door to back door. Get off the floor a little bit better for each other just to make our jobs at both ends of the floor a little easier.”

“We’re a veteran team and there’s no way that those kinds of things should happen,” Jamieson said. “It is game one of an 18-game regular season. There’s nothing to hit the panic button about. I think everybody knew they could play better. It just gives us another opportunity to go out there and get better. Everybody understands that you take this league one game at a time. We can’t look past New England to the next game. We’re just going to come focused and more prepared, and come out and play Knighthawks lacrosse.”

Moving forward to New England, Jamieson has a unique perspective on the challenge of breaking through the Black Wolves defense and goalie Evan Kirk to find the back of the net.

“I was fortunate enough, he was my goalie in the summertime,” Jamieson said. “I know what he’s capable of doing. He’s a really solid goalie who we’re going to have to shoot our best to score on. He plays his angles really well. I think with that big, athletic defense in front of him, it’s only going to make him better and more confident. As an offense, we’re going to have our work cut out for us this weekend. We’re going to have to move the ball really well.”

Meanwhile, the Black Wolves look to carry over momentum from the team’s inaugural game, this time facing the three-time defending champs hungry for their first win.

“I certainly expect to see their best,” said Black Wolves head coach Blane Harrison. “Three championships in a row has never been done before and it’s well deserved. They are a proud team, and a very strong, good team.”

Coming off a convincing 12-8 win in their season opener against the Buffalo Bandits, the Black Wolves look to continue on their success. With strong performances from goaltender Evan Kirk, along with Forwards Patrick Saunders and Quinn Powless, the pack will focus on maintaining the same level of intensity and prepare for a battle when the Knighthawks visit this weekend.

“Any win is pretty tough to come by,” said Black Wolves forward Kyle Buchanan. “We put that first one behind us. It was great to get, but Rochester is three-time champion in a row for a reason. From goaltending to defensive forward, they’re a tough team. We have got to bring it for sixty minutes.”

The Knighthawks will have more to compete with than just the Black Wolves running around on the floor. The Week 1 win for New England sparked a fierce reaction from the stands last week. With a near-capacity crowd in their debut at Mohegan Sun Arena, New England is likely to use the crowd’s energy again this week.

“I would be lying to you if I told you we didn’t feed off the fan base energy,” Harrison said. “The crowd gets loud, they tune in to key parts of the game, and you start to ride a wave. You score a couple of goals, the crowd gets into it, and that seems to propel you forward.”

Story by Jeremy Pike (@KnighthawksBeat) & Alyssa McLaughlin (@BlackWolvesBeat) for NLL.com. Photo by Khoi Ton.

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