Whatever you do in life always be consistent. It’s a good saying to operate by if you’re a sports organization, and the Rochester Knighthawks have done just that. In their first 24 seasons the Knighthawks have made the playoffs 20 times, have an all-time record of 208-144, have won 10 Eastern Division Titles, and recorded 5 NLL Championships to their storied history.
With excitement surrounding 25th season also came other news before the start of the season. With the backdrop of a NLL Lockout, Owner & General Manager, Curt Styres announced in September that he would be accepting an offer to relocate the Knighthawks players and front office to the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, to form a new NLL Team for the 2019-2020 season. Terry & Kim Pegula bought out the Knighthawks history and intellectual property and the City of Rochester was also approved for a new expansion team in the 2019-2020 season.
The Rochester Knighthawks (0-0) welcome their new division rival the Philadelphia Wings (0-1) in the Wing’s Inaugural Season in the NLL. Faceoff is set at the Connors & Ferris Field at the Blue Cross Arena at 7:30 P.M.. EST. this Saturday, December 29. The Knighthawks are set to play their first game since their disappointing Game 3 Champion’s Cup lost to Saskatchewan back in June. Their hopes are to make a much deeper run this season, culminating in a sixth championship.
The Philadelphia Wings are coming off a hard fought loss to the Buffalo Bandits in their inaugural game 17-15. The Wings leading scorers in that game were Jordan Hall, Chris Cloutier, and Brett Hickey. Wings forward Jordan Hall is also a former Knighthawk and had 2 goals and 4 assists against the Bandits. Cloutier, playing in his first season in the NLL, also had 2 goals and 4 assists, with Hickey tallying 2 goals and 2 assists in that game. On Saturday, expect Davide Diruscio in the net for the Wings.
Rochester has some familiar faces coming back for their 25th season. Head Coach Mike Hasen returns for his 9th season with the Knighthawks. Hasen’s tenure with the Knighthawks has been quite successful having won 3 consecutive championships in 2012, 2013, and 2014 (the only team in NLL History to accomplish this). Knighthawks forward Cody Jamieson had a steller 2018 season with 89 points, and returns for what he hopes is another productive season. Forward Joe Resetarits also returns for the Knighthawks after hitting triple digits with 100 points in the 2018 season. Captain and defensemen Sid Smith will begin the season on IR for the Knighthawks but hopes to return later in the schedule.
One key addition on offense the Knighthawks made this off-season, was the signing of forward Pat Saunders who had 32 points in 14 games last season for Buffalo and Vancouver. Saunders is also a former Knighthawk and originally played for Rochester back in 2009 for one game. One key loss the Knighthawks experienced this off-season was the departure of goalie Matt Vinc. Vinc posted a 9-6 record, with 11.37 GAA, and .782 save percentage in his last season. Vinc signed with the Buffalo Bandits for the 2019 season. Rochester will look to former backup goalie Angus Goodleaf (1-2 record, 11.38 GAA, and .798 save percentage in 2018) to be their starting goalie in 2019. A rookie to look out for this year is first round pick ( 9th Overall) James Barclay, Barclay was a defensive standout while playing at Providence College for 4 seasons. Rochester is counting on him to be a defensive force with the Knighthawks in the 2019 season.
On Saturday The Knighthawks will be hosting their annual “Kids Day”, where kids 12 and under enjoy free admission, inflatables, airbrush tattoos, musical entertainment, and concessions before the game. Rochester will also be presenting and honoring their “All-Time Team” with a ceremony celebrating 25 seasons of Knighthawks Lacrosse. The ceremony is scheduled to start at 7:15 p.m on Saturday. The Knighthawks will be looking forward to seeing you there,