Knighthawks Alone Atop the East After Win over Rock
The Rochester Knighthawks knocked off the Toronto Rock 14-11 Friday night to move into sole possession of first place in the East Division. The win was Rochester's third straight and moved them a half-game ahead of Buffalo and Georgia.
For the second straight game, the Knighthawks (9-7) erased an early five-goal deficit en route to a dramatic victory. Joe Resetarits led the way with seven points (3+4), while Cody Jamieson finished with three goals and two assists. Josh Currier also scored his first hat trick of the season.
"I never get worried with this group, even when we're down," said Currier. "We were down last game, and we started out down this game. With this group, it doesn't matter. We battle back."
Rochester battled back for most of the game and pulled even early in the third quarter after going on a 5-0 run. Currier scored two of those goals, as he connected to end the second quarter to get Rochester within two. Then he opened the third with a diving goal to make it 8-7 just 46 seconds into the second half. The Knighthawks tied the contest when Resetarits netted a shorthanded goal at 3:24.
Rochester would outscore the Rock 8-3 in the second half, as goalie Matt Vinc and the Knighthawks shut down the Rock offense. Vinc made his biggest stop with 6:21 to play in the third. With Toronto leading 9-8, the Knighthawks' goalie reached out his left arm to deny Tom Schreiber on a penalty shot.
"I was fortunate enough to stay big," said Vinc. "He already had four goals in the game, and you want to turn the tide. That was a big momentum boost for me."
Vinc, who made 41 saves, became only the second goalie in National Lacrosse League history to reach 7,000 career saves.
"Anytime 'Vno" is on it gives us a huge boost. He is the greatest goal ever to play the game," said Resetarits. "When he made that save (on Schreiber), it was exactly what we needed. We were going on a run, and when he made that save, we said 'we got this one.'"
After that stop, Toronto mustered just two goals over the final 19-plus minutes of the contest. Rochester, meanwhile, got a pair of transition goals to tie the game at 10 in the third as Paul Dawson and Brad Gillies buried breakaway chances.
In the fourth quarter, Resetarits did most of the damage. After the teams traded goals, Resetarits scored back-to-back markers to give the Knighthawks a 13-11 lead. Jamieson would add an empty-netter to seal the win.
"It was a huge win. Our playoffs started tonight," said Resetarits. "Everyone knew this was going to be a fight because of how tight the East has been this year."
One of the great equalizers Friday was the play of rookie Jake Withers. The Peterborough, Ontario native won 22 draws to surpass Stephen Peyser's rookie league faceoff wins record. He also broke Stephen Hoar's team single-season faceoff wins mark of 240.
"It's always good any game I can get extra possessions for our 'O' guys," said Withers. "Tonight it paid off."
Withers, who leads the league with 243 faceoff wins, showed that dominance in the first half by winning 15-of-16 draws.
"It's awesome having the best draw man in the league," said Currier. "You know you are getting the ball back every time you score."
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Paul Dawson of the Rochester Knighthawks moves in on the Toronto Rock goal
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