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Knightawks Outlast FireWolves in Final Minutes to Stay Unbeaten

December 17, 2022 – National Lacrosse League (NLL) – Rochester Knighthawks News Release

(Albany, NY) -The Rochester Knighthawks (3-0) and Albany FireWolves (1-1) went goal for goal for nearly the entire contest until Connor Fields’ fourth goal of the night with 4:05 remaining in regulation ultimately proved to be the difference as the Knighthawks held on for a 14-13 win over their intrastate rivals in a back-and-forth affair Saturday at MVP Arena.

After being outscored 8-5 in the opening half, Rochester shifted the momentum in its favor in the second, using a second-half surge while overcoming a pair four-goal deficits to outscore Albany 9-5 over the final 30 minutes to remain unbeaten on the season.

Fields, the NLL’s leading point-getter with 25 points through his first three games, paced the Knighthawks with an eight-point performance, including his third straight four-goal outing to begin the season. Curtis Knight also had his best game of the season thus far with seven points (2+5) while Turner Evans and Matt Gilray each contributed four points on a goal and three assists. Ryan Smith rounded out the scoring with a hat trick while rookie forward Austin Hasen chipped in three assists as Rochester extended its win streak to a franchise-best three straight games. In addition to scoring twice and adding two assists, Holden Cattoni finished with a team-high 16 shots on goal as the Knighthawks outshot Albany 64-41.

Rylan Hartley finished with 28 saves in his third straight start, improving to 3-0 and helping the Knighthawks take sole possession of first place in the NLL’s Eastern Conference.

Justin Scott (3+1) and Connor Kelly (1+3) each finished with four points for the FireWolves while Jerome Thompson, one of several offseason additions to Albany’s lineup, scored three goals. Tanner Thomson and Ethan Walker each had a goal and two assists and Doug Jamieson turned aside a season-high 50 shots to fall to 1-1 on the season.

Albany set the tone early in its home opener, storming out to a 3-0 lead courtesy of three different goal-scorers before Evans put Rochester on the board with 4:45 left to play in the opening quarter.

Scott restored Albany’s three-goal lead at 3:31, but Smith would capitalize on Rochester’s first power-play of the night in the final minute of the frame with his first of the three markers. Smith originally had the ball before sending a pass to Fields, who took the initial shot. The rebound made its way to Smith, and he made good on the second opportunity.

The FireWolves opened the second quarter like they did the first, scoring twice in the first 3:31 to increase their lead to 6-2. Rochester countered back with a pair of its own from Fields and Gilray a minute apart to come within two, but two from Albany would give the home team an 8-5 advantage entering the half.

The Knighthawks emerged from the half with a purpose, scoring five straight in the first 4:25, including a pair from Cattoni while Knight, Smith and Fields also found the back of the net during the 5-0 run. Smith would add another in the final minute of the third quarter to complete the hat trick, but three goals from the FireWolves, including a buzz-beater from Thompson, would knot the contest up at 11 entering the final frame.

Each team scored twice to begin the fourth quarter with both Albany goals coming from Scott, with the first coming at 8:13. Back-to-back tallies from Knight and Fields 21 seconds apart temporarily gave Rochester a 13-12 advantage, but Scott delivered the equalizer 22 seconds later to complete the hat trick.

With the score tied at 13-13, the Knighthawks would take the lead on their next possession when Fields converted from long range with 4:05 remaining.

Albany pulled Jamieson for the final minutes of regulation in favor of the extra attacker, but Hartley and the Knighthawks were able to survive the late push and hang on for the win.

The Knighthawks return home following the annual Christmas break on Saturday, Jan. 7 as Panther City Lacrosse Club makes its inaugural visit to Rochester. The 7 p.m. matchup from Segar & Sciortino Field at The Blue Cross Arena will be only meeting of the season between the two teams and will be carried live on Big 107.3 FM as well as ESPN+.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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