Knighthawks Win Home Finale, 14-7 - 04/07/13
The Rochester Knighthawks closed the home portion of their schedule with a 14-7 win over the Philadelphia Wings on Saturday night at The Blue Cross Arena.
For the second consecutive week, Rochesters defense, led by goaltender Matt Vinc, held their opponent to single digits. In fact, the combined 15 goals allowed in the past two games are the Knighthawks fewest in a two-game span in 2013.
(Vinc) saved our butts on too many occasions here tonight, said Rochester (6-6) Head Coach Mike Hasen. Hes playing very well right now. Im glad hes here as opposed to anywhere else.
When we dont give those guys too much time and space, it makes my job a whole lot easier, Vinc said. I got a little lucky; I think [Kevin] Crowley hit a few pipes. A little bit of luck and the solid defense.
The reigning National Lacrosse League Defensive Player of the Week made 45 saves on 52 shots, dropping his league-low goals-against average to 9.73. He was a major reason why the leagues best penalty-killing unit held the Wings to only one power-play goal on six chances.
He took them to the championship last year and they won, said Philadelphia (5-8) Head Coach Johnny Mouradian. We got (52) shots and we spent a lot of time working on our shot selection. We had some good shots. We had pipes, we had one-on-ones with him, we had good lookswe cant settle for scoring 10, nine, or seven goals, especially when were getting (52) shots, quality shots.
'Vno was great in the net, said Philadelphia transition player Paul Rabil. It felt like we probably got better shots this time around than we did last time and scored three fewer goals.
In addition to a strong defensive performance, Rochesters offense scored the most goals in a single game since netting 15 in a February 9th win over Buffalo and 20 versus the Wings the night prior.
Five different Knighthawks scored at least two goals and 13 different players recorded at least one point. Although Cody Jamieson led the team with seven points, Rochesters top goal-scorer earned six of his points with assists (1+6). Johnny Powless scored a game-high three goals (3+1) while Dan Dawson added five points of his own (2+3).
Were one of the most dangerous teams in the league, Jamieson said. We truly believe that in the locker room. You may stop one of us, but youre not going to stop us all. When we share the ball, when we move the ball and keep our feet hot, were a tough offense to stop.
The leagues lowest-scoring offense continued to struggle. Although seven different Philadelphia players scored, all seven finished with only one goal. Crowley earned a single point (1+0) despite taking a game-high 14 shots.
Rochester took a 3-1 advantage in the first quarter, never relinquishing the lead. Transition player Jimmy Purves buried a behind-the-back goal with 1:29 remaining in the first to give the Knighthawks the two-goal cushion.
Dawson guided the Knighthawks to an 8-4 lead at the half with a pair of second-quarter goals. He scored the first 1:10 into the period and netted the latter shorthanded approximately 10 minutes after. Cory Vitarelli scored the eighth goal with 57 seconds left before half.
Philadelphia scored three of the final four goals in the third period to cut the deficit to three. Kevin Ross scored unassisted with a wraparound goal midway through the quarter. Former Knighthawk Jordan Hall followed with his only goal at 12:22.
Vinc shutout the Wings for the final 17:38. Rochester sealed the victory with an unassisted breakaway from Brad Self 42 seconds into the fourth quarter. He sandwiched his second around goals from Vitarelli and Powless hat-trick tally.
With the win, the Knighthawks have increased their lead to one and a half games over the Wings for second place in the East Division. While Rochester evened its record at .500 for the first time since February 9th, the Wings have now lost five straight.
At this level, the best players have to step up and be better than the opposing team, Rabil said. I think its just fighting to win at this point and see where everything falls into place [for the playoffs].
Both teams must play the second leg of a back-to-back weekend on Sunday. Rochester travels north to Toronto for a 3:00 p.m. contest against the Rock. The game can be seen live on YouTube via The Lacrosse Network and heard on Sportsradio 950 ESPN and on www.sportsradio950espn.com.
A win over Toronto would not only give the Knighthawks a 2-1 tiebreaker over the Rock (9-5), but it would keep the Easts first seed in reach for Rochester.
Every games important, but in these division games, we need to win, Vinc said. We got to come out with a full 60 minutes and we didnt do that last time we played Philadelphia. Every game is a playoff game. Nobody has secured a spot. Were fighting for our lives out there.