The Rochester Knighthawks return home Saturday night to Blue Cross Arena to face the Toronto Rock as they are still looking for the first win of their inaugural season.
The Knighthawks had much improved game against the Halifax Thunderbirds a weekend ago that saw them play with more confidence and chemistry all over the floor.
The Knighthawks offense and transition game came alive in Halifax as they lead 7-6 going into halftime. A 5-goal run in the 3rd quarter by the Thunderbirds would prove to be too much for them to handle and they ran into a hot goaltender in Warren Hill who thwarted their attempts at completing the comeback. Despite the 14-12 loss, it was a huge step for a team that just started playing together almost two months ago.
Pushing the ball in transition really sparked the Knighthawks as their first 4 goals came on breakaways. Rookie Cory Highfield scored the first two goals of his career as he pushed the ball and found the back of the net. They will need to have the same blood in the water mentality all season to capitalize on transition chances.
The Knighthawks also got big performances from Holden Cattoni, Dan Lintner, and Curtis Knight on offense while Shawn Evans also looked much more comfortable as he scored his first goals as a Knighthawk. Pat Saunders and Phil Caputo also chipped in a goal a piece with Caputo’s being a beautiful shot on a set play right before half time.
The defense worked much better together as a unit talking through picks and limiting turnovers in their end, which plagued them in the home opener. Steve Fryer was solid in net with 30 saves and kept the Knighthawks in the game. Head Coach Mike Hasen will have a tough decision on which goalie to start as Craig Wende and Steve Fryer both played well in their respective starts.
Jay Thorimbert had a record-breaking performance as he passed Geoff Snider for the most faceoff wins all-time with a total of 2,652 after last weekend’s game. Thorimbert has provided a great veteran presence for the Knighthawks and his ability to win faceoffs will be crucial to giving the Knighthawks as many chances to score as possible.
The Knighthawks will welcome their North Division rivals the Toronto Rock to Blue Cross Arena who are 1-1 on the season after falling to the New England Black Wolves in their home opener, but then rebounded against the San Diego Seals. The Knighthawks and Rock tied 14-14 in their preseason meeting.
The Rock are loaded on offense with the likes of Dan Dawson, Tom Schreiber, Johnny Powless, Dan Craig, and Rob Hellyer while also boasting some of the league’s best transition players in Challen Rogers and Brandon Slade. The Rock defense is also filled with veterans like Billy Hostrawser, Damon Edwards, David Brock, and goalie Nick Rose who the Knighthawks offensive will have to contend with.
If the Knighthawks can play with the energy and confidence that they did in Halifax right out of the gate, then they will have a great chance of earning the first win in the history of the new Rochester Knighthawks franchise.
Opening face-off is set for 7:00 p.m. ET Saturday night. The game can be watched with a subscription on the B/R Live app which is available on the web or through iTunes, Google Play, Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire.