Rock Outlast Knighthawks in Wild Finish in Toronto
(Toronto, ON) - A thrilling back-and-forth offensive battle between the Rochester Knighthawks (0-4) and Toronto Rock (3-1) came down to the final minute with the Knighthawks ultimately coming up a goal short in a 13-12 loss to the Rock Saturday at Scotiabank Arena. Saturday's matchup north of the border was the second of a home-and-home series between the two teams.
Holden Cattoni (5+4) led the offensive charge for the Knighthawks, notching his fourth five-goal game in his professional career, while also adding four assists for a career-high nine-point night. Shawn Evans matched Cattoni with a nine-point effort (2+7) of his own to become just the sixth player in NLL history to reach 1,200 career points. The two-time NLL MVP factored in on each of Rochester's first six goals of the night, including scoring off a floor-length pass from goaltender Craig Wende.
Phil Caputo (2+1) netted a pair of goals, including Rochester's final tally of the evening to pull the team within one goal with just under three minutes left. Dan Michel (1+0), Matt Bennett (1+0) and Curtis Knight (1+2) contributed to the final score line with a goal apiece. Wende (0-3) made his second start in the net for Rochester, making 49 saves on 62 shots on goal. Netminder Steve Fryer came in for 45 seconds during the third quarter of play, making one save in his time out on the floor.
Both Rob Hellyer (3+3) and Zach Manns (3+2) completed hat tricks for the Rock, combing for six of their 13 goals on the night. Dan Craig (2+1) would be the third Toronto player with a multi-goal effort, lighting the lamp twice and assisting on Manns' second goal of the campaign. Dan Dawson (1+3), a former Knighthawk in the previous organization, Tom Schreiber (1+3), Brandon Slade (1+1), Adam Jay (1+2) and Damon Edwards (1+0) all added a goal for the Rock, who won their third straight to improve to 3-1 on the season. Nick Rose (3-1) made his fourth start of the year for the Rock, getting the win while making 30 saves on 42 shots.
The start of the second quarter brought about a scoring frenzy from both sides, as the teams combined for nine goals, with the first five coming within the first three minutes of play.
Toronto scored just 29 seconds into the frame, before Evans turned in his 1,200th career point with his first of two goals during the second quarter.
"It's a huge accomplishment being able to still play at a high level and compete with this team here," said Evans on his milestone. "That game out there tonight was a tough one for us. It would've been nice to get that milestone with a win, but we just need to keep plugging away and working hard."
Cattoni's second of the night came within just 59 seconds of Evans' first of the evening before Bennett knocked in the go-ahead goal as the Knighthawks entered the half for the first time this season with a slim 7-6 one-goal lead.
As the Knighthawks entered the third quarter of play leading the way, the Rock came out firing on all cylinders, knotting the matchup and then taking their first lead of the game with two goals just 12 seconds apart from one another.
Rochester didn't let up easy, though, as they kept the goals coming and only allowed Toronto to take a one-goal lead throughout the quarter's entirety. Cattoni took it from there for the Knighthawks, sealing his hat trick on the night while going goal-for-goal with Manns.
The final frame began with Toronto leading by just one before pulling ahead by two for the first time that either team had done so since the very early minutes of the second quarter.
After Cattoni rifled in his fifth of the night, Manns would complete his hat trick before a quick strike from Craig would give Toronto a 12-10 advantage 5:31 in. The lead would be short-lived, however, as Knight and Caputo kept the game within one.
With under a minute to go, the Knighthawks drew a penalty and pulled Wende in favor of the extra attacker for a 6-on-4 two-man advantage for the game's final 33 seconds. Rose, however, came up big for the Rock and Rochester couldn't find the equalizer before time expired.
"Our compete level was there for 60 minutes tonight," said Knighthawks head coach Mike Hasen. "I thought we were better and didn't have those lapses. It's the little things we'll take away, but each week we're getting better and we'll build off it."
Rochester opened the scoring for the first time season, needing just 59 seconds after the opening face-off to move in front. Evans made a pass across the field to Cattoni, who fired in a laser from the outside to notch the first goal of the game to get the Knighthawks on the board early. Toronto would find the back of the net just 35 seconds later to tie the score for the first time of the night.
In the first quarter, both Caputo and Michel followed suit of their fellow forwards, connecting for their fourth and second goals of the season, respectively. Despite Toronto drawing the first penalty of the night between the two clubs with just 3:20 remaining in the first frame, the Knighthawks were able to kill it off and end the quarter leading 3-1.
"We were right there and that's the frustrating part," said Cattoni. "We were so close and just need that one little something we haven't found yet to just get us over that hump. I'm confident that when we get out first one (win) and we figure it out that's it's just going to be a sign of things to come and we'll start rattling off a few wins in a row."
The Knighthawks open a rare two-game weekend on Saturday, Jan. 18 when they return home to host the defending NLL champion Calgary Roughnecks at Segar & Sciortino Field at The Blue Cross Arena for the only time this season. The 7:00 p.m. matchup will be carried live on 107.3 FM The Bull as well as B/R Live. Fans can stay up to date all season long with the latest Knighthawks news, stories and notes at www.rochesterknighthawks.com.
ROC: C. Knight (1), S. Evans (2), P. Caputo (2), H. Cattoni (5), M. Bennett (1), D. Michel (1)
TOR: Z. Manns (3), D. Dawson (1), R. Hellyer (3), D. Craig (2), T. Schreiber (1), D. Edwards (1 - GWG), A. Jay (1), B. Slade (1)
ROC: S. Fryer - 1/1 (ND) | C. Wende - 49/62 (L)
TOR: N. Rose - 30/42 (W)
ROC: PP (0/2) | PK (3/3)
TOR: PP (0/3) | PK (2/2)
1. R. Hellyer (TOR)
2. H. Cattoni (ROC)
3. Z. Manns (TOR)
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