Knighthawks Stay Undefeated Without Fields
Updated: Jan 9
ROCHESTER, N.Y. --- The Rochester Knighthawks rose to 4-0 in emphatic fashion defeating Panther City 17-9 on Saturday. The Knighthawks were without star 25 point forward Conor Fields but still managed to set a franchise record in goals scored in a game. They were instead led in scoring by a trio that is extremely familiar to Rochester, Holden Cattoni (4+3), Curtis Knight (1+6), and Thomas Hoggarth (4+3) all had seven points on the night. Ryan Smith Followed them up with a Hat trick and an assist to put him at 12 points on the season. Five more Knighthawks posted multi-point outings. Thomas Vela had his NLL debut, the 25th overall pick in the 2022 draft, he had an assist on the night.
"He's super young right now so I think you'll see a lot of growth out of him, he's very talented, he's very quick... I think it's only a matter of time before he's an impact player for us." - Holden Cattoni
Rylan Hartley made his fourth start in net and posted 37 saves on 46 shots for a .804 save percentage, that bumps his season average up to .801 Hartley also leads the league in saves now with 161.
The first quarter was a slow start, uncharacteristic of this new Knighthawks team, but it wasn't for a lack of trying. Panther City laid on a heavy physical defense that made it tough for Rochester to even get past the restraining line. Despite that scoring broke open from Ryland Rees, after causing a turnover at midfield he was able to take it all the way to the crease, wait for an outlet option and then hurried it in the top corner.
Jonathan Donville got the next one, making the game tied. The Knighthawks answered with two, Ryan Smith had the first with a screen from Curtis knight to make the space. Austin Hasen had the second, shooting around his defender into the corner. Donville scored a second and it was once again answered by two Knighthawks goals. Holden Cattoni notched his first of the day going bar down and Curtis Knight scored his lone goal wrapping around the goal to find space around the keeper.
In the second quarter, Rochester had little momentum but caught a break in the early minutes with Matt Gilray hitting a goal in transition, burying it over the back of the keeper. Then came the slew of special teams. First it was Panther City scoring on the power play to make the score 6-3. The next two were Knighthawks power play goals, the first of which came around ten seconds after the penalty and the second came 19 seconds after the penalty.
The two teams traded shots and goals for a chaotic 2-2 split over the last four minutes of the period. The Knighthawks went into half up 10-5 but Coach Hasen was not impressed with his unit, despite having scored 10 goals he knew they could play better.
"Results aside, Hartley saved our butts there, it could've been a lot closer than it was... We threw the ball away a ton in transition... It was nice that we were in a good position but we weren't playing good lacrosse so we had to get back to being us." - Head Coach Mike Hasen
The Third quarter has been a dominant area for Rochester to spark to their victories this season, posting an 11-5 goal split over their first three games. Saturday was no different, Thomas Hoggarth had the first two which completed his hat trick, both directly in front of goal. On his second the ball came to him while he had his back to the goal, he quickly flipped it behind him and the goalie and into the back of the net.
"I just threw it on net and it went in" - Hoggarth
Cattoni scored the next just after and completed his hat trick as well. Just like that Rochester was up 13-5. Unfortunately for them, Ryland Rees was called for a cross check and Panther City immediately capitalized for their first goal of the half. Not long after Thomas Hoggarth scored his third goal in just around seven minutes of play and his fourth in the game.
Grenon got another one for Panther City with a massive dunk to carry momentum through the end of the quarter though, the score 14-7. Donville scored first in the fourth, stringing two together for his team and completing his hat trick but Ryan Smith had other plans for the momentum, scoring his second of the night.
With the score at 15-8, Liam Patten scored to put his team at nine and for a moment they didn't look like that would be it, however yet again Ryan Smith took care of that possibility, finishing his hat trick. Holden Cattoni had the last goal, off a one hand desperation pas from Hoggarth to end with a 17-9 final score. the highest goals scored by the new era Knighthawks.