Black Wolves win the Battle, Move Half Game from Second Place
The New England Black Wolves (6-6) defeated the Rochester Knighthawks (4-8) 12-11 in a very crucial eastern division match up Friday night in front of 4,449 fans at the Mohegan Sun Arena and Casino.
New England’s win, coupled with the Rock falling to Colorado leaves the Black Wolves only a half game out of second place in the east. In typical fashion, the Knighthawks and Black Wolves played a game that would come down to the wire.
Rochester would open with an early two goal lead as Scott Campbell and Kyle Jackson would record goals, before Shawn Evans would tie the game with two of his own, the second coming with only 10 seconds remaining in the quarter. Kevin Buchanan would complete the three goal run just :58 seconds into the second quarter as the Black Wolves would lead 3-2.
Rochester would go on their own two goal mini-run. Vitarelli would register his only goal of the game followed by Kyle Jackson scoring his second of the night, this one was short-handed giving the Hawks a one goal lead. But the luck of the Irish would shine as Riley O’Connor and Kevin Crowley would score 63 seconds apart to give New England a one goal lead going into the half.
As the horn sounded we had something we have not seen this much this season. Two fights broke out. First had enforcer Bill O’Brien and Dan Dawson square off. Both players were able to remove their helmets but as they tangled the gloves seemed to stay on. Dawson and O’Brien would each get a few good shots in on each other as Dawson would also get the jersey over O’Brien’s head before the officials would step in.
The second match would be Derek Searle squaring off with Andrew Suitor and this would go all Suitor’s way. By the time the dust settled, all combatants would not only receive five minute majors for fighting, but would also be ejected from the game.
With Dawson out of the game, the Hawks would be looking for someone to take the lead. On the other side with O’Brien and Searle gone, the Black Wolves would now be down three defensemen, as Brett Manney would go down early in the game with a lower body injury.
It would be Kyle Jackson stepping up for the Knighthawks in the second half as he would score three more times in the second half, while also picking up two assists. Meanwhile, Evan Kirk would make some key saves to keep the Black Wolves in the lead.
The entire second half would be a copy of the first, a battle up and back. After Josh Currier tied the game at nine, Riley O’Connor and Kevin Crowley would score just 61 seconds apart (they scored 63 seconds apart in the second quarter). Joe Resetarits would tally 56 seconds later to reduce the lead to one.
But Kevin Buchanan would give the Blackwolves back their two goal lead with just over a minute to go. Josh Currier would draw Rochester within one, but just a little too late as the Black Wolves would hold on for the 12-11 victory.
The game could have been worse for the Knighthawks as they played a man down six times. Luckily they were able to kill off all six.
Rochester: Kyle Jackson (5G/2A)
New England: Kevin Buchanan (4G/3A), Shawn Evans (3G/5A), Riley O’Connor (2G/4A).
Rochester will host Buffalo next Saturday 7:30 p.m.
New England will visit Calgary for a 9 p.m. contest.
New England Assistant Coach Tracey Kelusky will be enshrined as “Forever A Roughneck.” Kelusky’s #17 will be alongside the first recipient Kaleb Toth.