The Rochester Knighthawks returned home to open the team’s 25th season and renew a rivalry with the visiting Philadelphia Wings.
Opening the season in front of the home crowd of 8,144 fans, the home team would not disappoint. The Hawks would have an unbelievable first half, taking a commanding 8-2 lead. And if that wasn’t exciting enough the faceoff battle between the Hawks’ Jake Wither and Wings’ Trevor Baptiste was phenomenal! Trevor would get the edge in the battle winning 15 of the 27 meetings at the dot.
— Greg Gurenlian (@GregBeast32) December 30, 2018
The Rochester Knighthawks came out of the tunnel in what I believe may be the best uniform in the league currently, next to the Wings’ and Buffalo’s. The Hawks would come out strong, putting up the first five goals of the game. Quinn Powless would use a perfect screen shot in front of the net for the first goal of the game just over five minutes in. Just about a minute later Cory Vitarelli would bury his shot on the crease. Vitarelli would stand tall a couple minutes later as he would plow the Wings’ Frank Brown to the turf and send home the Hawks’ third goal. Cody Jamieson would make his presence known when Jake Withers would give Jamieson a beauty of a feed that spanned the full length of the box to find Jammer all alone for the goal. Philly would give the Hawks a Power Play with less than a minute remaining in the quarter, but Rochester wouldn’t need long at all. Jamieson would get his own rebound and would catch Philly goalie David DiRuscio out of place and bury his shot putting the Hawks up 5-0 to close the quarter.
Philly, down 5-0 to start the second quarter, stopped the bleeding when Chris Cloutier would score a side-arm shot 34 seconds in. But the Hawks would come right back and net three straight goals. Kyle Jackson would get the sixth goal when he would start the play with the ball up top before he would come down the boards then dart to the crease for the dive and burying his first of the year. The rookie Robinson would get a great cross pass from Joe Resetarits for his first NLL goal. This would spark a goalie change for Philly, putting Doug Buchan in for DiRuscio. But, the Hawks would still find the net. Austin Shanks would takes his time before picking his spot and sniping his shot for the 8-1 lead. However, the hometown boy, Blaze Riorden, would step up for Philly. Blaze would snipe a shot of his own in the top corner, virtually all alone to get the Wings’ second goal of the game just about a minute and a half left in the half.
To start the second half, most were wondering what was going to spark Philly to wake up. Well, the two teams both traded goals the whole third quarter! Shanks would start it for the Hawks, then Cloutier for the Philly. Rochester’s quick transition would lead to Resetarits hitting the corner, but Harris with an absolute rip to the top corner would bring the score to 10-4. Then, Jamieson doing his thing would draw a triple team before he would flip the ball to Robinson for the 11th goal. Before the quarter would end Cloutier would find the net again to close out the quarter 11-5.
Philly would then outscore the home team in the final quarter four goals to two. Brett Hickey, Harris, former Knighthawk Josh Currier and Hickey got those goals. Vatarelli and Jamieson got the two for Rochester. Jamieson’s goal on the empty net put a scare into some fans as the Wings defensive man Chet Koneczny would jump in the empty net and try to stop the shot, Jamieson cranked it to the corner for the Hawks thirteenth goal.
3 Stars of the Game: Rochester Knighthawks
- Angus Goodleaf, turning away 50 shots
- Cody Jamieson, 3g,3a
- Chris Cloutier, 3G, 2a
Rochester hits the road to face the Buffalo Bandits to renew the I-90 battle on Saturday, January 5 at 7:30 p.m.. This will be an exciting game to watch as Matt Vinc puts on the black and orange to face his old squad for the first time.
READ MORE: Check out NLL Week 3: Winners and Losers by Steve Wizniuk here on LaxAllStars.