Knighthawks Host Wings on Opening Night
The Rochester Knighthawks will kick off their 25th Anniversary season on Saturday, Dec. 29, when they host the Philadelphia Wings at 7:30 p.m. at Connors & Ferris Field at The Blue Cross Arena.
On a historic night, Rochester rekindles a rivalry that lasted 20 years and included 52 hard-fought games, including a pair of playoff wins during the Knighthawks' run of three straight NLL Cups. During the pregame festivities, the Knighthawks will honor their All-Time Team, presented by iHeartMedia. The Top 20 players in franchise history, as voted on by the fans, will be introduced before the showdown against the Wings.
Opening Night Record: The Knighthawks are 12-12 all-time on opening night, which includes a 17-6 win over the Calgary Roughnecks last season.
Kids' Day: Fans should arrive early to enjoy the Knighthawks annual Kids' Day, which features inflatables, games, airbrush tattoos, music and more. Doors open at 4:00 p.m. and kids 12 and under are free. Kids' Day is brought to you by Adventures in Climbing, Altitude Trampoline Park, Bill Gray's, Zweigle's and Villa of Hope.
Get your Tickets: Knighthawks individual tickets are on sale and range in price from $16 to $27. Tickets can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com, by calling 585-454-4295, or by visiting the Knighthawks front office. Fans can also go online to Knighthawks.com for more information.
Broadcast Info: The game will be broadcast on 107.3 The Bull and the iHeartRadio app. Fans can watch the contest on B/R Live. Craig "Ripper" Rybczynski returns for his 18th season as the team's play-by-play man, while veteran lacrosse broadcaster Brendan McDaniels will handle the color commentary.
Scouting the Knighthawks: Rochester enters the 2018-19 campaign after an incredible season which saw the Knighthawks finish one win away from raising the NLL Cup. The Knighthawks erased a 2-6 start to win 10 of their last 12 to advance to the best-of-three NLL Finals. Rochester's midseason turnaround was fueled by a high-powered offense. Last season, the Knighthawks scored 236 goals to finish third in the NLL, while the power-play unit was second with a 59 percent conversion rate. Rochester also had two players in the Top 10 in scoring: Joe Resetarits, who finished fourth with 100 points, and Cody Jamieson, who was tied for eighth with 89 points. Resetarits earned Second Team All-Pro honors for the first time in his career. Graeme Hossack was also honored as a first-time winner of the NLL Defensive Player of the Year award. Jake Withers was selected as the NLL Rookie of the Year and Owner Curt Styres was named the winner of the General Manager of the Year for the second time in his career.
New Faces: In the offseason, the Knighthawks reloaded their roster through the draft and via free agency. This year's team features nine new faces, including five players who were taken in this past September's NLL Entry Draft. The addition of James Barclay, Oran Horn, Leland Powless, and Luke Van Schepen will help strengthen the Knighthawks' defense and transition game. Fifth-round pick Dylan Riley, who scored three goals and added one assist during the preseason, secured one of the spots on the right side of the offense. Rochester used free agency to add NLL veterans Pat Saunders (forward) and Warren Hill (goalie). The Knighthawks also signed forward Cam Milligan and defenseman Darryl Robertson.
- Joe Resetarits will play in his 100th NLL game; he also needs six goals to reach 100 as a Knighthawk.
- Mike Hasen needs one win to pass Paul Day as the franchise's all-time wins leader. Hasen earned his 75th victory last season, which guaranteed Rochester a playoff spot.
- Cory Vitarelli needs one more goal to stand alone in fourth place on the team's all-time goal-scoring list with 170; he also needs eight points to hit 250.
- Cody Jamieson is eight assists away from 400.
- Pat Saunders is one goal shy of 150 in his career.
Scouting the Wings: Philadelphia, led by longtime Knighthawks coach Paul Day, enters the game after a 17-15 shootout loss to the Buffalo Bandits on Dec. 15. It was an electric atmosphere as the City of Brotherly Love welcomed back one of its most successful sports franchises. The Wings entertained a crowd of over 11,000 by storming back in the second half to tie the game at 15 with just under five minutes to play. Philadelphia received great efforts from its top two draft picks, Chris Cloutier (second overall) and Trevor Baptiste (14th overall). Cloutier finished the game with two goals and four assists, while Baptiste won 25 faceoffs and collected 13 loose balls. Former Knighthawks forward Josh Currier also scored three times. Fairport native Blaze Riorden is expected to make his season debut against the Knighthawks.
Next Game: Rochester will embark on a season-high three-game road trip. The road swing kicks off in Buffalo on Saturday, Jan. 5 against rival Bandits. Rochester will then jet west to play San Diego on Saturday, Jan. 12. The three-game set ends on Saturday, Jan. 19 against the Saskatchewan Rush in a rematch of the 2018 National Lacrosse League Finals.
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Rochester Knighthawks forward Austin Shanks
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National Lacrosse League Stories from December 28, 2018
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