(February 2, 2013)…
The Rochester Knighthawks avenged their one-goal loss in Week 1 in Washington with a one-goal victory over the Stealth at The Blue Cross Arena on Saturday.
The Knighthawks (1-3) defeated the Stealth (3-3) by a final of 7-6 in front of 7,914 fans, giving them their first win of the season.
“It was a tight one,” said Rochester head coach Mike Hasen. “It was a good team win tonight. Everybody battled and everybody was better.”
Goaltender Matt Vinc, who earned the NLL’s Defensive Player of the Week after the loss in Washington, guided the Knighthawks to a defensive win over his counterpart Tyler Richards. Vinc finished with 42 saves on 48 shots, while Richards denied 48 of 55.
“He’s obviously one of the best in the league for a reason,” Paul Dawson said. “Tonight, when stuff got broken down, he was there to make the save. It just gives us a little more confidence to even press out a little further and not play tense and play a little looser. ‘Vno’ deserves full credit for the win tonight.”
The Stealth have now lost two in a row, both by a single goal. According Washington head coach Chris Hall, poor special teams played a major role in the loss. He noted the Stealth have now allowed six shorthanded goals without scoring one themselves.
“I think those games come down to the execution of special teams, and their special teams beat us,” Hall said. “Their power play, they were 2-for-4 and we were 1-for-3 and we gave up a shorthanded goal. Our power play hasn’t been too efficient and it’s still not, and we gave up another short-handed goal, which is inexcusable.”
Rochester’s short-handed goal opened the scoring 6:18 in the first quarter. Vinc fired a pass the length of the floor and found Brad Self for the breakaway goal. Self has opened the season with a four-game scoring streak, and for the second consecutive week, netted a shorthanded goal.
Lewis Ratcliff tied the game 32 seconds later with a power-play goal. He and defenseman Mike Grimes lead the Stealth with two goals apiece.
“You’re not going to win to many games with only six goals,” Ratcliff said. “We got to put the ball in the net a little better. ‘Vno’ played really well, but we didn’t shot the ball very well.
“I think we were making poor shot choices. We were buying into shooting where [Vinc] wanted us to shoot. We weren’t mixing it up. We had open shots, but were just putting them where he was. I think if we shoot a little better, we probably score nine or 10 and have a chance to win the game.”
Tied at 2-all in the second, Stephen Keogh swamp over defender Justin Pychel and dived into the crease to take the lead. Cody Jamieson scored a power-play goal at 8:13, but the remainder of the first half was scoreless as both netminders stood on their head.
The Stealth roared back from a three goal deficit in the second half to tie the game. Rhys Duch and Athan Iannucci each scored once in the third quarter. Following another goal from Jamieson with a man-advantage, Ratcliff and Grimes scored 60 seconds apart early in the fourth to knot the game at 6.
Johnny Powless and Joe Walters used some well executed two-man game on the right-wing side of the floor to get behind Washington defender Tim Henderson, allowing Powless to bury the game-winner.
“It wasn’t pretty by any means, but to say it was a relief would be an understatement,” Dan Dawson said. Dawson was tied for the team lead with three points, all helpers. Cory Vitarelli scored one goal and added two assists.
Seven goals are the lowest scored by Rochester in a victory. The previous low was eight, scored against the Stealth in an 8-7 win in San Jose on April 8, 2005.
“It’s something we got to address,” Dawson said. “Without overanalyzing, it comes down to execution; just burying your chances. I know I had five good chances in alone on net that I didn’t bury.”
Rochester visits Philadelphia for an 11:00 a.m. ET game on Friday, Feb. 8th and ends the road trip with a 7:30 p.m. ET contest in Buffalo against the Bandits the following night. Both games will be broadcast on Sportsradio 950 ESPN and online at www.sportsradio950espn.com.
The games will be also carried live on YouTube via The Lacrosse Network.
“We got a short week,” Dawson said. “Monday, we’re going to hit up a big workout and Tuesday we are going to practice. We’re going to ride this [victory] on out and keep believing in the dressing room we have.”