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Knighthawks prep for must-win in NLL Finals

Knighthawks prep for must-win in NLL Finals

The Rochester Knighthawks know all about the importance of home-floor advantage during the playoffs. For the past 13 years, the Knighthawks have knocked off every team that has entered Connors & Ferris Field at The Blue Cross Arena.

On Saturday, Rochester hopes to add Saskatchewan to that list and extend its league-record home playoff winning streak to 15 games. The teams will face off in Game Two of the National Lacrosse League Finals at 8:00 p.m.

Rochester enters the game down 1-0 in the best-of-three series. Needing a win to force a decisive third game, the Knighthawks are glad to be back in front of their home fans.

“We have the most dedicated, blue-collar fans in the league,” said Knighthawks forward Kyle Jackson. “In a must-win game, there’s no place I’d rather be playing.”

“To have any kind of success, you have to win at home,” added Knighthawks head coach Mike Hasen. “We come home a little bit hungry and ready to play in front of our fans. They always give us an extra boost when we need it.”

The Knighthawks’ faithful have aided the team in winning every home playoff game since April 22, 2006. That night, Rochester defeated the Toronto Rock, 16-8, to advance to the East Division Finals. During the run, the Knighthawks are 3-0 at home in the NLL Finals.

Broadcast Information: The game will be broadcast on 107.3 The Bull and the iHeartRadio app. The contest will be streamed on Twitter at live.twitter.com/nll and simulcast on NLLTV.com.

Scouting the Knighthawks: The Knighthawks are poised to rebound from a 16-9 Game One loss to the Saskatchewan Rush. On May 26 at the SaskTel Centre, the Knighthawks were led by a six-point performance from Cody Jamieson, and four-point efforts from Eric Fannell (2+2), Kyle Jackson (1+3) and Joe Resetarits (1+3). Jamieson (4+8) and Resetarits (3+9) are now tied for the team lead with 12 points, while rookie Austin Shanks leads the team with seven playoff goals. In goal, Matt Vinc made 48 stops to give the NLL’s all-time playoff saves leader 895 in his career.

Milestone Watch:

Cody Jamieson (28) needs one more tally to pass Mike Accursi and move into sole possession of second place in franchise history in playoff goals.

Cory Vitarelli is one goal away from tying Craig Point and Shawn Williams for fifth place on the team’s all-time postseason list with 21.

Rochester is making its league-record 10th appearance in the NLL championship.

With a championship this season, the Knighthawks will tie the Toronto Rock and Philadelphia Wings for the most NLL titles with six.

Hossack Brothers Meet Again: Graeme and Matt Hossack will play against each other for the second time in their postseason careers. In Game One, both brothers scored goals, while Matt also picked up one assist. Graeme is in his third season after being selected second overall by Rochester in the 2015 NLL Entry Draft, while Matt was picked 14th overall in 2016 by Saskatchewan.

Scouting the Rush: Saskatchewan is one win away from capturing its third Cup in the past four seasons. In the Game One win, Robert Church led the Rush with six points (4+2), while Matthew Dinsdale posted five (1+4). In goal, Evan Kirk made 35 saves to pick up his second win of the postseason. During the regular season, Kirk led the league with 12 wins and was second with a 10.82 goals-against average. After setting an NLL-record with 84 assists, Mark Matthews has seven assists and 10 points in two playoff games.

Next Game: If the Knighthawks win, the series will shift back to Saskatoon for Game Three. The contest would take place on Saturday, June 9 at 9:30 p.m. ET.

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