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 Rochester Knighthawks

Knighthawks Come up Short in Season-Ending Loss to Rock

April 27, 2024 - National Lacrosse League (NLL)
Rochester Knighthawks News Release

(Hamilton, ON) - The Rochester Knighthawks were unable to erase a pair of early four-goal deficits as their comeback attempt fell short in a 9-6 loss against the top-seeded Toronto Rock Saturday afternoon at FirstOntario Centre in the NLL Quarterfinals.

The Knighthawks made their second-ever postseason appearance in the expansion-era while the Rock, who finished atop the NLL's unified standings with a franchise-best 15-3 record, have advanced to the NLL Conference Finals in each of the last three years.

Connor Fields (1+3), who was named the Gatorade Canada NLL Player of the Week for Week 21, led all Rochester players with four points on a goal and three assists. Ryan Smith notched a hat trick while Curtis Knight (1+1) also notched a multi-point effort. Ryan Lanchbury , Dan Coates , Turner Evans , Tyler Biles , Ryland Rees , and Thomas McConvey all registered an assist. Kyle Waters (1+0) opened the scoring in the first quarter.

Goaltender Rylan Hartley appeared in his second career postseason game, stopping 40 of the 49 shots he faced. Hartley made nine saves in each of the first two quarters before combining for 22 in the second half.

Callen Rogers (2+3) and Mark Matthews (1+3) each chipped in three assists as part of a multi-point outing for Toronto, which has qualified for the postseason in 20 of its 25 seasons in team history. Tom Schreiber (2+1) and Chris Boushy (2+1) both tallied a pair of goals to go with an assist while Corey Small (1+2) also had three points. Justin Martin, Brad Kri, Mitch de Snoo, Josh Jubenville, and Chris Weier all contributed one assist each.

Frontrunner for NLL Goaltender of the Year, Nick Rose, who led the league with 15 wins in the regular season, made 51 saves and held Rochester to three goals in each half to earn the victory.

Toronto used a four-goal run in a two-minute span to establish a 4-0 lead less than five minutes into the contest.

Rogers kicked off the scoring 3:09 into the frame, collecting a pass from a spinning Schreiber to fire over Hartley's shoulder from the middle of the floor. Just 11 seconds later, Rogers had a chance bounce off a Knighthawks defender and in to double the lead before Chris Boushy completed a trifecta of goals scored over 33 seconds.

Small broke free down the floor to extend the cushion to 4-0 just 4:46 into the first, quarter.

Waters got Rochester on the board, blasting the ball past Rose for the first Knighthawks goal of the 2024 NLL Playoffs after the third-year pro reached 21 goals during his regular season campaign.

The Rock added a goal to make it 5-1 before the end of the first, then midway through the second, Smith notched a power-play conversion to pull the 'Hawks back within three with just over seven minutes left in the frame.

With 2:50 left in the half, Knight flicked the ball at Rose from the middle of the zone to find the back of the net, making it a 5-3 deficit.

Narrowing the score to a pair of goals, Rochester earned a late power-play in the quarter, but Schreiber scored while shorthanded for Toronto in the final seconds of the half to make it 6-3 at the break.

Just under five minutes into the third, another untimely bounce wounded Rochester as Matthews took a shot that went off a Knighthawk at the front of Hartley's crease, before leaking past for Toronto to regain a four-goal lead.

With 4:26 to play in the quarter, Boushy scored his second of the game to get Toronto its largest lead yet at 8-3 with less than five minutes in the stanza.

Fields converted on a breakaway opportunity after being sprung by Rees to make it an 8-4 score early into the fourth quarter for his first of the night. The goal came on the heels of an historic season, where shattered his previous highs from a year ago with 56 goals and 64 assists for 120 points.

Hartley and the 'Hawks defense held Toronto off again until midway through the fourth quarter, where Craig scored for the Rock for the 9-4 lead.

Rochester was able to pull within three as Fields setup Smith to complete the hat trick, but the team's brief playoff run would fall short again for the second straight year .

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