Knighthawks Drop Heartbreaker to Swarm

February 10, 2024 - National Lacrosse League (NLL) - Rochester Knighthawks News Release

(Rochester, NY) -Another furious second-half rally by the Rochester Knighthawks (3-5) came up just short as the Georgia Swarm (6-4) pulled away in the final 25 seconds of regulation to escape with a 14-12 win Saturday at Segar and Sciortino Field at The Blue Cross Arena.

With the loss, the Knighthawks drop to 3-5 after opening the season with three straight wins. Four of the team's five losses have been by three or fewer goals.

Hat tricks from Ryan Smith and Thomas McConvey fueled the second-half push for the Knighthawks, who rallied back from several multi-goal deficits to tie the contest at 12-12 before Andrew Kew scored the tiebreaker with 25 seconds remaining.

In addition to Smith and McConvey's three-goal nights, Austin Hasen and Ryan Lanchbury each netted a pair of goals, while Connor Fields and Kyle Waters also found the back of the net. Lanchbury finished with seven points (2+5) in his first game against his former team and Fields led the way in helpers with eight assists. Mitch Ogilvie earned an assist to round out the scoring for Rochester. In the face-off dot, Joe Post continued to lead the way, winning 19 of 30 draws.

Riley Hutchcraft made 28 saves, including 11 in the second quarter in what was his eighth appearance of the season.

Real estate on the floor was at a premium through the first 30 minutes, with the Knighthawks being held to four goals in the opening half.

After Georgia leaped out to a 2-0 advantage, Hasen got the 'Hawks on the board late in the first quarter, finding a seam to the front of the net to wire his fifth goal of the season in with 2:17 remaining.

The Swarm managed to regain the two-goal edge before the end of the first quarter with a shorthanded goal with 5.3 left in the first from Bryan Cole, who carried the ball to the front of the goal before shoving it over the shoulder of Hutchcraft to push Georgia to a 3-1 lead.

Lyle Thompson made it 4-1 early in the second, but Smith got Rochester back within two after corralling a pass from Fields, then from behind the net, dunked the ball over the top of Georgia netminder Brett Dobson for his first of the night. Lanchbury followed with a goal through Dobson's legs less than two minutes later to make it a one goal game.

Rochester went on to trail behind 6-3, but a second-quarter power-play offered the chance for rookie McConvey to score, following up on his own rebound that pinged off the post to make it a two-goal game on the man-advantage.

In the third, Hasen got his second on the night in what was Rochester's second power-play goal. Fields targeted Hasen for a pass, allowing the second-generation pro to bury the ball past Dobson.

It took over 40 minutes, but Fields would then score his first of the night with 4:48 remaining, shooting five-hole, making it 10-6.

The run continued when Waters pulled Rochester within three on a behind-the-net goal that was challenged by Georgia, but upheld by the officials. McConvey added another less than a minute later to make it 10-8 with 2:06 to play in the third.

The Swarm went up 11-8 heading into the fourth, but McConvey got one back, picking the pocket of Lyle Thompson to complete the hat trick. Both sides traded goals after, with Lanchbury aiming low to find his second of the night.

Rochester's rallying attempt was amplified with a 5-on-3 power-play chance in the fourth that Smith took advantage of, getting the 'Hawks back within one for the first time since early in the second quarter with just over eight minutes to play. After the man-advantage, Smith stood tall again, relentlessly attacking the net until he managed to beat Dobson and tuck the ball into a partially dislodged net, tying the game at 12-12 with 6:17 left in regulation.

The game remained tied until a last-minute effort from Kew saw the Swarm score to make it 13-12 with 25 seconds left. Cole's impressive night ended with an empty net goal for his fifth conversion on the evening to seal the 14-12 final for Georgia.

The Knighthawks remain at home on Saturday, Feb. 24 when they host the Las Vegas Desert Dogs in their inaugural visit to the Flower City. The 7:00 p.m. matchup will be the 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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