Rochester Seizes 'Must-Win' Game
by Travis Larner | NLL.com
The Rochester Knighthawks (3-2) defeated the visiting
Philadelphia Wings (3-3) by a final score of 11-6 on Saturday. The
Knighthawks move a half game ahead of the Wings in the Eastern
With the win, the Knighthawks ended two streaks. Philadelphia's win streak ended at three games, while Rochester avoided the first three-game home losing streak in team history.
"It was a good win," said Rochester Head Coach Mike Hasen. "It was a must win for us at this point in the year."
The Rochester defense looked rejuvenated after a 16-7 loss last week to the Boston Blazers. Troy Bonterre played in his first game since the season opening victory in Minnesota, brining a much needed physical presence to the defense. "Troy's a presence on the floor," said Hasen. "He made a couple nice hits."
Goaltender Matt Vinc rebounded after being temporarily replaced against Boston. Vinc made 33 saves on 39 shot attempts, and shutout the Wings' offense in the first and third quarters.
"We dictated the tone defensively," said Vinc. "We established a tone and we never looked back."
The Knighthawks took a 4-0 lead into the second quarter. Cody Jamieson scored with less than 48 seconds left in the first quarter to give Rochester a 2-0 advantage. Shawn Evans forced a turnover as Philadelphia attempted the advance the ball up the field and found Jamieson alone in front of the goal.
Forward Athan Iannucci scored the only two goals for the Wings in the first half, the first on a power play. "Obviously it's really disappointing," said Iannucci. "We got outworked."
Evans tiptoed the crease as he beat Philadelphia goaltender Brandon Miller, netting a shorthanded goal to give Rochester a 5-2 lead at the half.
"We had a tough loss against Boston," said Evans. "We had to get over it. Today's a new day."
Jordan Hall suited up for his first game of the season with Rochester, and quickly made an impact. Less than a minute into the second half, Hall scored his second goal of the game.
Mike Accursi and Craig Point each added goals before Philadelphia Head Coach John Tucker pulled Miller from the goal. Miller allowed eight goals on 31 shots in 41 minutes of play. Ray Hodgkinson finished the game in the net.
"We didn't put our best effort forward," said Tucker. "Rochester, to their credit, they played hard."
The Knighthawks led 9-2 heading into the final quarter after Accursi rifled in another shot on a power play. Drew Westervelt scored twice in the fourth quarter on Philadelphia power plays. His latter goal cut the deficit to four.
With Hodgkinson on the bench to give the Wings an extra man on offense, Knighthawks' defenseman Chris Driscoll scored on an empty net to give Rochester an 11-5 lead.
Rochester drew a penalty for having too many men on the floor with under two minutes in the game, which by rule gave Iannucci a penalty shot. Vinc, who made spectacular saves all night, stuffed the Wings' leading scorer, ending any chance for a comeback.
Rochester was led by Evans (1g, 8a), Hall (3g, 1a), and Point (2g, 3a). Philadelphia's leading scorers were Iannucci (2g, 3a) and Westervelt (2g, 2a). Hodgkinson finished with two saves on five shots in nearly 19 minutes.