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Rochester Knighthawks Game Preview: Saturday, January 22 at Philadelphia

January 22, 2022 - National Lacrosse League (NLL) - Rochester Knighthawks News Release


The Rochester Knighthawks (2-2) embark on a season-long three-game road swing tonight at Wells Fargo Center as they go up against the Philadelphia Wings (3-2) in their second game in as many nights. The 7:00 p.m. matchup will be the first of two exchanges between the Eastern Conference rivals and will be carried live on 107.3 FM The Bull as well as ESPN+.


It's been just over two years since the memorable first-ever meeting between the two teams back on Jan. 19, 2020, which was resulted in a 12-4 win for Philadelphia and 103 combined penalty minutes. Holden Cattoni, Shawn Evans and Curtis Knight all scored in the game, which also featured the professional debut of goaltender Rylan Hartley, who entered the contest late in the fourth quarter and turned aside all three shots he faced. Both Rochester (2-0) and Philadelphia (2-1) have winning records this season when leading after the first quarter, including a 2-0 record at home for the Wings. Conversely, however, the Knighthawks are a perfect 2-0 so far on the road when leading after the first, second and third quarters. Following tonight's matchup, the teams ate idle until Philadelphia makes its inaugural visit to Rochester later this season on Saturday, March 26.


The Knighthawks went goal for goal with the Georgia Swarm for three straight quarters, but a slow start in the opening frame ultimately proved to be the difference in a 12-8 loss last night at Segar and Sciortino Field at The Blue Cross Arena. It was Rochester's first game back following a month-long layoff and the first of a two-game weekend for the Knighthawks, who fell to 2-2 on the season heading into tonight's matchup in Philadelphia. Charlie Bertrand (1+1) scored Rochester's first goal of the night, giving the rookie forward at least one goal in each of the Knighthawks' four games this season. Forwards Curtis Knight (2+0) Ryan Smith (2+0) and transition player Matt Gilray (2+0) each scored twice, while forwards Holden Cattoni (0+3), Turner Evans (0+2) and Shawn Evans (0+2) and defenseman Dan Coates (0+2) all had multi-assists outings. Goaltender Rylan Hartley (1-1) made his second straight start of the season in net for Rochester, getting his first loss of the 2021-22 campaign despite making 45 saves over the course of the contest. Last night was the first time all season Cattoni was held without a goal after starting the season with a hat trick in three straight games.


Cattoni has wasted little time in picking up right where he left off from the 2019-20 season. His explosive start to the season has him 13th in the NLL in scoring with 23 points while continuing to pace the Knighthawks in goals (10), assists (13) and points (23) through his first four games. The reigning Offensive Player of the Year is tied for seventh in the league in goals and is 16th among league leaders with 13 assists. Cattoni, who's scored a hat trick in three of Rochester's first four games this season, is also tied for fourth in the league with a team-best 49 shots. Dating back to the 2019-20 season, he and Shawn Evans remain the only two Knighthawks to record at least one point in all 16 games in franchise history. His nine-point effort against Albany back on Dec. 18 was the most in a single game since he put up 10 points (3+7) against Buffalo on Jan. 31, 2019.


The Knighthawks come into the weekend owning two of the NLL's top 10 scoring rookies in forward Charlie Bertrand and Ryan Smith. Bertrand, who's new to the indoor game following one season in the PLL with Redwoods, has taken his first NLL season by storm. Following last night's performance, Bertrand, who is averaging three points per game, is tied for the league lead in goals among all NLL rookies (7) and ranks third in scoring among all first-year players with 12 points overall. He's also tied for second in the league with two shorthanded goals. Smith remains at a close second with 11 points (5+6), good enough for sixth amongst all NLL rookies coming into tonight. Smith, Rochester's third overall pick in the 2020 NLL Entry Draft, has scored two of his five goals this season on the power-play, which are tied for most among rookies, while his 28 shots are only two off the league lead for most by a first-year player.


After becoming just the sixth player in NLL history to record 1,200 career points during the 2019-20 season, Shawn Evans continues to climb up the league's all-time scoring lists. With three goals already on the season, Evans needs just three more to move ahead of Josh Sanderson for ninth all-time with 450. The 16-year pro and two-time NLL MVP also trails Colin Doyle by 58 assists for fourth all-time and needs only one more assist to become just the fifth player in league history to reach 800 career assists. He also needs just 10 more penalty minutes to pass Geoff Snider for third on the all-time list with 583. Following a two-assist effort in last night's loss to Georgia, he's currently tied for the team lead with 13 assists, all but one of which have come at full strength. Evans is also tied for second on the team in overall scoring with 16 points in four games.


Philadelphia, playing its first of back-to-games this weekend, comes into the matchup having dropped two of its last three contests to fall to fourth place in the NLL's Eastern Conference standings. The Wings are coming off a 9-8 loss to Albany last Saturday, just their first at home after opening the season with straight victories within the friendly confines of Wells Fargo Center. Philadelphia owns three of the NLL's top scoring forwards in Kevin Crowley, Matt Rambo and Corey Small, who rank first, second and third on the team in scoring, respectively, and have combined for 27 goals and 69 points through the team's first five goals of the season. The trio share the team lead with nine goals each, including a team-high three power-play tallies from Small, and have reached the 20-point mark. Crowley's team-leading 25 points place him tied for sixth in the NLL in scoring while Rambo is tied for ninth with 24 points entering the weekend. Crowley, who's coming off back-to-back five-point efforts, also ranks fifth in the league with 16 assists. The Wings also have one of the NLL's top scoring defensemen in Kiel Matisz, whose 11 assists and 13 points rank second and third among all defensive players, respectively. As was the case during the 2019-20 season, Trevor Baptiste remains the league's top face-off specialist with 85 face-off wins and a 65.4 percent success rate. He also leads the NLL with 54 loose ball recoveries to go along with one assist.


- Holden Cattoni reached the century mark in his NLL career with his third goal of the game against Buffalo on Dec. 11.

- Shawn Evans needs three more goals for 450 in his career.

- Shawn Evans is one assist away from 800 in his pro career and needs just two more points to reach 1,250 career points.

- Turner Evans surpassed 100 career assists as part of a four-assist outing against Albany on Dec. 18.


Rochester continues its three-game road swing on Saturday, Jan. 29 as the Knighthawks venture north of the border to take on the six-time NLL champion Toronto Rock at FirstOntario Centre. The 7 p.m. matchup will be the first of two scheduled meetings between the two teams this season and will be carried live on 107.3 FM The Bull and ESPN+.

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