National Lacrosse League

Knighthawks Hand Rock First Loss; Other Saturday Results

(January 24, 2015) ... In a tough defensive battle, the Rochester Knighthawks used stifling defense and a late three-goal run to knock off the Toronto Rock 8-6 tonight at Connors & Ferris Field at The Blue Cross Arena.

"Our defense did a great job. They got in lanes and really disrupted shooting and just did a really great job tonight," Knighthawks goalie Matt Vinc said. "We did a great job blocking a lot of shots and it made my job a lot easier. That's what you need to do. You can't give them too much time or space and I think our 'D' guys, from top to bottom, did a really great job."

Vinc finished the night with a season-high 47 saves and the defense blocked over a dozen shots to hold Toronto to its lowest goal total of the young season.

"'Vno' is a rock back there," said Assistant Captain Mike Kirk. "It's kind of what we've been working on the past couple of weeks, getting back to that. (We need to) make sure he can see the shots so he can make those saves for us."

Offensively, Cody Jamieson led Rochester with four points (2+2). Cory Vitarelli posted a two-goal night, while Paul Dawson, Dan Dawson, Joel Matthews and Dylan Evans each netted one goal each in the team's first win of the season. The Knighthawks improved to 1-2, while Toronto fell to 3-1.

The game was close throughout as Rochester rallied twice in the first half to pull even at two apiece after 30 minutes. Paul Dawson got the Knighthawks on the board with less than one minute left in the first quarter to tie the game at one. In the second, it was Vitarelli who tallied for Rochester as he scored with just 32 seconds left in the half.

"It was definitely a defensive battle and the goalies both played good," said Vitarelli. "It was nice to get a couple goals when we need to and come back with the win. We're definitely happy to get the win. It's just a starting point. If eight goals is what it takes to win then we'll definitely take it."

Just 2:38 into the third, Vitarelli scored his second of the night to give the Knighthawks their first lead of the game at 3-2. Matthews, who was making his Rochester debut, followed with his first Knighthawks goal 7:59 into the third to give his team a two-goal lead.

"It feels great," Matthews said. "All the guys have welcomed me with open arms. (There's a) great team comradery. It's really easy to transition into your game when you've got guys being positive and backing you up and the crowd was amazing. Just all those things make it a lot easier to just do your job. All I was trying to do all night was do my job."

In the fourth, Rochester erased two Toronto leads and finished the contest with three straight goals to knock off the Rock. Evans sparked the comeback with an end-to-end rush and finish early in the fourth to tie the game at five. Dan Dawson, who played in his 200th consecutive regular season game, then scored to tie it up at six apiece at 8:26. But Dawson deflected the praised and noted the solid play of the defense.

"We were really feeding off of the defense tonight. The shots, they were really just soaking into the lanes. That's stuff you thrive off of when they're paying a price like that and when they're scoring in transition to get us going," said Dawson. "We're a defensive unit team and that showed tonight. They give us a chance and we bury it when it counts. (Scoring) is just my job."

It was Jamieson who put the game away as he netted back-to-back goals to finish off the game. He then put up his first of the night to give the Knighthawks a 7-6 lead with 5:49 left in the contest and then struck again with just over a minute left on the game. The defense did the rest in the final 90 seconds. It was a great team win, according to Head Coach Mike Hasen.

"Both units played exceptionally well. They were doing everything we drew up. It was a gutsy game," said Hasen.

The Knighthawks will be back at home on Saturday, January 31st as they take on their thruway rivals, the Buffalo Bandits.

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Rochester, NY The Rochester Knighthawks (1-2) defeated the Toronto Rock (3-1) for their first win of the season by a score of 8-6 in a very tight defensive battle at Blue Cross Arena on Saturday night.

Brett Hickey got the scoring started early for the Rock, finding the net just 55 seconds into the first quarter. It was a pretty quiet 13-plus minutes, with both teams likely taking a few shots they would like to have back. The Knighthawks scored in transition with just 54 seconds remaining in the first quarter to tie the score 1-1.

Rochester's Matt Vinc and Toronto's Brandon Miller had great support from their defence in front of them throughout the first half. The Rock scored first in the quarter with the goal coming from Kevin Ross on a long underhand shot from outside. The Knighthawks did their damage in the final minute once again, tying the score 2-2 with 32 seconds left in the half.

The combined 4 goals were the fewest scored in a half over the last 159 NLL games. The last time two teams scored just 4 goals combined was January 19th, 2013 when the Rock outscored Philadelphia 3-1 in a half.

The Knighthawks scored the first two goals of the third quarter to build a 4-2 lead with the Rock offence struggling to find the net. Ross scored his second of the game, despite a Rochester challenge, as he tight roped the crease and gave the Rock some life. Late in the quarter, Jesse Gamble and Damon Edwards broke up the floor on a 2-on-1 and Gamble converted a quick-stick pass to tie the game 4-4.

The teams wasted a little less time collectively getting on the board in the fourth quarter. Brock Sorensen scored in transition to give the Rock their first lead since the first quarter, however Dylan Evans answered for the Knighthawks just seconds later to even the score 5-5.

Toronto took the lead but the Knighthawks scored 3 straight goals to get their first win of the season.

* * * *

Colorado 20, Vancouver 9

DENVER Superheroes are able to achieve the unimaginable. Thus far this season, the Mammoth offense has fit the bill. On Saturday night at Pepsi Center, Colorado (3-0) scored 20 goals (for the second time in three games this season) as it defeated the Vancouver Stealth by 11 on Superhero Night. The goal-total tied a team record, while forward Adam Jones set a new career-high with 10 points.

"When you pass the ball to guys that are shooting as well as we were tonight, it's not too hard to get those assists," said the humble fourth-year man. "We played a team-effort all the way from the goaltending to up front. We'll celebrate tonight, and get focused for next weekend starting tomorrow."

Sure, Jones did tie a personal best with six assists. But he also chipped in four goals, extending his streak of a hat-trick or better to six straight games (including the postseason) dating back to last year. Seemingly everyone was in on the act, including Jackson Decker (1goal, 2 assists) who made his season debut tonight.

"I just wanted to get back [into the line-up], waited my turn, and knew I had to perform."

The Mammoth is the lone remaining undefeated team in the National Lacrosse League. The offense leads the league, averaging 19 goals per game.

"The game's easy when you're moving the ball, and you're cutting through the middle, and that's what the boys did tonight," said coach Chris Gill. "The best part is we know we can be even better!"

Colorado tied its second-largest margin of victory in franchise history, thanks in part to the play of goaltender Dillon Ward.

"That was our most complete game so far this year," said the second-year netminder who made 24 saves while allowing seven goals. "We're just believing in each other. We've got 'D' guys scoring, we've got 'O' guys scoring, we're moving the ball like crazy. Everything's just really coming together for us."

Ward was pulled with 8:08 remaining in regulation with the game no longer in doubt, making way for rookie Alex Buque's professional debut.

Colorado heads to Vancouver to take on the Stealth next Sat., January 31 at 8:00 pm MT. The Mammoth leads the West Division by two games over Edmonton.

Rock goal scorers were Ross (2), Hickey (1), Sorensen (1), Gamble (1) and Leblanc (1).

Brandon Miller was sensational in a losing effort making 41 saves. Matt Vinc was equally as brilliant stopping 47 shots and getting his first win of the year.

Toronto's next home game will be Saturday, January 31st at 7:00 pm against the Calgary Roughnecks.

* * * *

Minnesota 19, New England 13

UNCASVILLE, Conn. The scoring never stopped for the National Lacrosse League's Minnesota Swarm (2-1) in the team's 19-13 win over the New England Black Wolves (2-1) at Mohegan Sun Arena on Saturday night.

The Swarm did not have to pull off a mighty comeback to record its second victory of the season, and their 19 goals marked the most in the regular season since posting 21 against Buffalo on April 6, 2013. Minnesota scored early, building a 6-2 advantage in the first, and maintained the lead throughout a majority of the contest until a little slip up in the second quarter. After giving up five straight goals to the Black Wolves, the Swarm stormed back with four goals right before halftime to regain the lead at 10-8.

Minnesota's scoring came from several different sources including forwards Shayne Jackson (4g 3a), Callum Crawford (3g, 4a), Miles Thompson (2g, 5a) and transition player Jordan MacIntosh (3g, 2a). Jackson, Crawford and Thompson tied for the game lead in points with seven each; Thompson's five assists and seven points marked career-highs.

"It's great, that's what we're going to need all year," said Jackson on the Swarm's balanced scoring attack. "It's not going to be just one guy scoring four or five a night, it's going to be balanced everywhere. Guys like Crepinsek got two tonight and that's huge for us so we're going to need everyone all pulling in the same direction all year so hopefully we can keep it going."

The Swarm not only had forwards putting numbers up on the scoreboard, but several defenders helped in Minnesota's scoring dominance. Defenders Alex Crepsinsek (2g), Jordan Houtby (1g, 2a) and Kiel Matisz (2a) added points to the scoreboard to take down New England and give the Black Wolves its first loss of the season.

"Guys on the bench just get so excited when a defender scores because they're not supposed to," Swarm coach Joe Sullivan said. "They're actually kind of out of their element so when they score it's a huge momentum lift for the rest of the team."

Swarm goaltender Zach Higgins started in goal for the first time this season and received his second win of the season. Higgins recorded 41 saves with 54 shots on goal. A total of 15 players for the Swarm tallied points in the win, including 12 players with two or more points.

"I think we were just running the floor well and timing was right and everyone was on tonight it seemed like," Crepinsek said. " ... I think this group is really starting to come together and it's nice to see already at the beginning of the season that we're improving every game out there. It's really a tight-knit group. I think it's just going to get better from here on out."

Minnesota is now 2-0 on the road this season and will finish up its three-game road trip in Buffalo next weekend on Friday, Jan 30.

The Swarm will return to Ho-Chunk Nation field at Xcel Energy Center on Feb. 6 at 7:30 p.m. CT to face the Rochester Knighthawks for Native American Heritage Night.

* * * *

In the other Saturday night game, the visiting Edmonton Rush routed the Calgary Roughnecks, 16-8. Edmonton picked up its first win of the season, while Calgary dropped to 0-3.

  ... [full story]

NLL Stories

Toronto Rock Edge Buffalo Bandits to Stay Unbeaten

Gavin Prout Signs One-Day Contract with Colorado and Retires

Colorado Wins in OT; Swarm, K-Hawks, Rock Win on the Road

Defending Champ Knighthawks Fall as NLL Season Opens

Former NLL Commissioner Jim Jennings Passes Away

McIntosh, Noble, Miles Thompson Top Picks in in NLL Draft

NLL Announces the League's 2014 Season Award Winners

National Lacrosse League Announces Schedule for 2015

Toronto Rock Acquire Brodie Merrill in Blockbuster Trade

NLL's Philly Franchise Headed to Mohegan Sun for 2015

Philadelphia Wings Plan to Relocate Franchise

Pat Coyle and Chris Hall Win Induction into NLL Hall of Fame

Finalists Announced for NLL Hall of Fame Class of 2014 Ballot

Finalists Named for the NLL Player and Coach Awards for 2014

Knighthawks Top Roughnecks to Win Champions Cup

Knighthawks Drop Champions Cup Opener at Calgary

Knighthawks Victorious, Will Face Calgary in Cup Finals

Buffalo and Calgary Prevail in Divisional Round One

Buffalo Sinks Rock; Calgary Edges Mammoth in OT

Mammoth and Rock Win as Regular Season Ends

NLL Scores
01/30Buffalo 15, Minnesota 12
Edmonton 18, New England 9
01/24Colorado 20, Vancouver 9
Edmonton 16, Calgary 8
Minnesota 19, New England 13
Rochester 8, Toronto 6
01/23Toronto 13, Buffalo 11
01/17Buffalo 14, Vancouver 13

NLL Computer Ratings
1   Colorado Mammoth99.903-0
2   Edmonton Rush98.622-2
3   Minnesota Swarm98.152-2
4   Toronto Rock96.663-1
5   Buffalo Bandits96.303-2
6   New England Black Wolves95.782-2
7   Rochester Knighthawks93.031-2
8   Vancouver Stealth92.281-3
9   Calgary Roughnecks92.270-3

NLL Standings
East Division
New England210.667220.500
West Division

NLL Schedule
DateMatch-up (Eastern Time)
02/06Rochester at Minnesota (8:30 pm)
02/07Buffalo at Calgary (9:00 pm)
02/13Edmonton at Colorado (9:00 pm)
Toronto at Minnesota (8:30 pm)
02/14Rochester at Buffalo (7:30 pm)
Minnesota at Toronto (7:00 pm)
Calgary at Vancouver (10:00 pm)
02/15Rochester at New England (6:00 pm)

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