December 15, 2012 - National Lacrosse League (NLL) - Rochester Knighthawks
The Toronto Rock used two big scoring runs to top the Rochester Knighthawks 14-10 at the Bell Centre in Montreal on Saturday night. The Knighthawks finished the preseason with a 1-1 record, while Toronto improved to 1-1 with its final preseason contest next weekend.
Toronto used a four-goal outburst to open the fourth quarter to break open a 9-8 contest. Stephan Leblanc led all scorers with two goals and seven assists for the Rock, while former Knighthawk Scott Evans finished with four goals and one assist.
Newly acquired Dan Dawson finished his first game with Rochester with five points (1+4). Craig Point and Johnny Powless each netted a pair to lead the Knighthawks.
Trailing 8-5 at the half, Rochester netted three of the four goals in the third quarter to cut the deficit to one. Powless and Point scored respectively, followed by an unassisted breakaway tally from Brad Self. Paul Dawson assisted on Powless' goal in his Knighthawks' debut, which cut the deficit to 9-6 at 11:52.
"It felt good. I was a little rusty with a couple of things, but all in all I thought it was a good game," said Dawson.
Toronto responded with four consecutive goals to start the fourth quarter with Evans posting three out of the Rock's four goals. His first coming only 55 seconds into the final period. Garrett Billings then found the back of the net to complete his hat trick.
The game opened with a goal by Mark Kirby, the Quebec native Toronto had selected to participate in the exhibition matchup. He scored 31 seconds into the first quarter for a 1-0 lead. Powless and Billings traded goals before Dawson scored off a deflection to close the first quarter with a power-play goal to tie the game at two.
In the second, Rochester took its only lead of the night as Stephen Keogh and Cory Vitarelli scored back-to-back goals for a 4-3 advantage. Yet, the Rock regrouped and broke away with five consecutive goals in 4:48 to take an 8-4 lead. Trailing by one, Damon Edwards netted a breakaway goal at 7:07 to spark the pivotal run. Colin Doyle and Kasey Beirnes connected to help the Rock reclaim the lead at 6-4. Josh Sanderson followed with a power-play tally, and Brandon Ivey scored 11 seconds later to take a 8-4 advantage.
The Knighthawks stormed back in the third, but fell short in the final quarter in front of over 7,200 fans at the Bell Centre. It was the first NLL game in Montreal since the 2002 season.
"I have never been to the city before and the Bell Centre is a pretty special place to have a game," said Vitarelli, who finished with one goal and two assists.
Rochester will begin its title defense on the road to open the 2013 season. The World Champions will open their 19th season against the Washington Stealth at 10:00 p.m. (EST) on Saturday, January 5th. The Knighthawks will play their home opener on Saturday, January 19th against the rival Buffalo Bandits at 7:30 p.m. at The Blue Cross Arena. Season tickets are currently on sale at the Knighthawks Office and can be purchased by calling (585) 454-HAWK (4295).