Playoffs in sight as Knighthawks host New England
(April 18, 2018) In a game with playoff implications, the Rochester Knighthawks will host the New England Black Wolves in their regular season home finale on Saturday, April 21 at Connors & Ferris Field at The Blue Cross Arena.
The Knighthawks (9-7), who are tied for first place in the East Division, can clinch a playoff berth with a win over New England. Rochester can also secure a home playoff game with a win and a Buffalo loss.
Rochester enters the game on a three-game winning streak after rallying to defeat the Toronto Rock, 14-11, on April 13. The Knighthawks erased an 8-3 second-quarter deficit and pulled away in the fourth to earn the road victory at the Air Canada Centre. Two power-play and two shorthanded goals fueled the Rochester comeback.
Joe Resetarits led the offense with seven points, while Cody Jamieson and Kyle Jackson each finished with five. Josh Currier also scored his first hat trick of the season. Matt Vinc, who recorded his 7,000th career save, made 41 stops. Jake Withers also reached a milestone, two in fact, as he won 22 draws. Not only did he set the league single-season rookie faceoff wins mark, but he broke Stephen Hoar’s single-season team record.
Awards Night: Before Saturday’s game, the Knighthawks will recognize players for their outstanding efforts during the 2017-18 season. The team will name its Offensive and Defensive MVPs, along with the Team MVP. The Knighthawks will also hand out the Rookie of the Year award, and the Wolf Pack and Seventh Man awards. The latter two honors recognize players and/or staff who have demonstrated outstanding dedication to the team. The Knighthawks will also present the Community Service Award to the player who has excelled off the field.
Scouting the Knighthawks: Rochester is the hottest team in the NLL, having won seven of its last eight games. During that stretch, the Knighthawks have also won their last three home games. With a win this weekend, Rochester will lock up its first playoff berth since the 2015 season. The Knighthawks are currently the highest scoring team in the East Division and second overall with 215 goals. The power play has been clicking all season, as the team sits second in the league with a 63 percent conversion rate. In goal, Matt Vinc is among the league’s best, ranking third in the NLL in save percentage (.780), and fifth in goals-against average (11.43) and saves (567). Defenseman Jake Withers leads the NLL with a .666 faceoff winning percentage and is on pace to become the first rookie in league history to have the best faceoff percentage (minimum of 200 faceoffs won) since Geoff Snider in 2007.
Broadcast Information: The game will be broadcast on 107.3 The Bull and the iHeartRadio app. Fans can also watch on NLL TV (NLLTV.com).
Resetarits closing in on U.S. Record: Joe Resetarits needs just three points to break Tom Schreiber’s record for points in a season by a U.S.-born player. Last season, the Toronto forward posted 94 points.
Rookies on 40-40 Pace: Austin Shanks (46) and Eric Fannell (34) are currently second and third in points among rookies. If Eric Fannell collects six more points over his last two games, he and Shanks will become just the second rookie duo since the 18-game expansion in 2014 to reach 40-plus points. The 2016 Georgia Swarm had three players reach that plateau.
Scott Campbell will play in his 200th game Saturday.
Head coach Mike Hasen is two wins away from passing Paul Day for the most victories in franchise history with 76.
Cory Vitarelli needs two goals to pass Duane Jacobs for fourth on the team’s all-time goal-scoring list.
Scouting the Black Wolves: New England is riding a two-game winning streak after defeating the Colorado Mammoth, 10-6, on April 14. Kevin Crowley led the effort with five goals and one assist. The veteran forward leads the NLL with a career-high 49 goals. Callum Crawford chipped in three points to give him 29 in seven games since coming over in a trade with Buffalo. With two games to play, the Black Wolves (8-8) are tied for the third and final playoff spot with the Buffalo Bandits.
Next Game: The Knighthawks will wrap up the regular season with a 7:30 p.m. contest at Key Bank Center against the Buffalo Bandits on Saturday, April 28. The game is the fourth and final game between the I-90 rivals, with Rochester holding a 2-1 series lead.