Dawson's late goal gives Knighthawks game one win
(May 16, 2015)"| Dan Dawson's game-winning goal with 36.1 seconds left in Game One of the East Division Finals led the Rochester Knighthawks to a 10-9 victory over the Toronto Rock.
"(It was) perfect timing," head coach Mike Hasen said. "You can't ask for anything more than that."
The Knighthawks saw a career-high six-point performance from Brad Self (3 3). Craig Point also completed his hat trick and added a helper in the victory, while Jordan Hall put up five points (1 4). Dawson and Cory Vitarelli each put up two points (1 1). Joe Resetarits also cashed in once. Matt Vinc backstopped the Knighthawks, making 35 saves for the night.
"(Self) was very good tonight," Hasen said. "Sometimes we've got to focus on holding the back end first and he did that with spades tonight and then on the front end which is great to see for us. (But) it's not on one guy to do it for us. It's on 16 guys to step up each and every shift. Everyone played their roles and it was nice to see the win."
The Knighthawks buckled down, scoring three first quarter goals to take a 3-1 lead. Point scored first for Rochester, which tied the game at one apiece. It was all Knighthawks after that. Self drove it to the net, scoring his first of the game. Point's second of the game, a laser, came with just over a minute left in the first to give the Knighthawks a two-goal lead.
"Guys stepped up tonight," said Self. "I was fortunate enough to bury the ball. We got some bounces that went our way and we're just going to have to continue that step-up next Saturday night."
Self's next goal gave Rochester a 4-1 just one minute into the second. Vitarelli scored to extend the run to five with a goal 4:30 into the second before Rochester cut the deficit to 5-4 before the end of the first half
"No team wants to get scored on (in the final seconds) but talk about character," Dawson said. "You can let that deflate you or you can forget about it and head into the second half and that's what we did."
The teams traded goals during the second half, starting with a Toronto goal which tied the game at five. Hall answered back 6:02 into the third to get the Knighthawks ahead by one goal for the third time in the game. The Rock closed out the quarter tying the game at six going into the final frame.
Resetarits then put Rochester back in front just 49 seconds into the fourth, but Toronto was quick to tie it up yet again. Self cashed in on a beautiful breakaway opportunity to regain a one-goal lead. Point followed suit in completing his hat trick less than two minutes later to give the Knighthawks a 9-7 lead 7:36 into the fourth. Toronto chipped away, to tie the game with less than four minutes remaining in the game.
With 36.1 seconds left in the game and the score tied at nine, Dawson got hold of a loose ball and put up a couple of fake shots to beat Toronto goaltender Brandon Miller and score the game-winning goal.
"It was kind of Johnny on the spot," Dawson said. "The ball happened to go near my stick. I got lucky with the loose ball. I caught (Brandon Miller) off guard with a couple of fakes and was lucky to bury it."
"We're a championship team, but this year is a new year," Self said. "We have a lot of guys who have played a lot of lacrosse and have been in these games before. Obviously, it's going to go back and forth. There are runs in lacrosse games and it was nice to come out on top tonight."
The Knighthawks will play Game Two of the NLL East Division Finals in Toronto on Saturday, May 23rd at 7:30. If the series is tied at the end of Game Two, the teams will play a 10-minute mini-game to decide who will move onto the Champion's Cup Finals.