When the 2018 season started the Rochester Knighthawks started out fast at 2-0, outscoring their opponents 38-17, and it looked as if they would control the east. Yes, it was only two games, but they dominated those games.
Then they went on a six-game losing streak, five of the games by no more the three goals, and one by eight goals. So even though it was a low point early in the season, the Knighthawks stayed in most of the games. But the Hawks sat in the bottom of the east division and it looked as if it could be a very long season.
But then the Knighthawks bounced back, winning their next three games by a total of 19 goals over their competition (Georgia and Buffalo by 7, Saskatchewan by 5). Then this past weekend they hosted the Georgia Swarm and defeated them in overtime in a game that was one of the most exciting games this season. But the story here just isn’t the four game winning streak – they won the first three without Dan Dawson in the lineup and the team since traded him to Saskatchewan, and Rochester continues to win.
This weekend they lost a close game to the Calgary Roughnecks. They were behind most of the way but a big fourth quarter push showed the determination in the Knighthawks young squad. Don’t let the loss fool you. Calgary sits in the final playoff spot in the west but they’re keeping pace with second place Colorado. Christian Del Bianco had his hands full and it was a very interesting game.
Following Calgary, the Knighthawks will travel to Saskatchewan and then host Colorado to finish the month of March and the games versus the west. In April they will travel to Toronto, host New England and finish the regular season in Buffalo, all very tough games as the east is only separated by 1.5 games from first to last.
Not only is every game important right now, but is even more vital as New England has two games in hand and Toronto has one over the Knighthawks.
Can the Knighthawks get back into the playoffs? Their fans think so, and with the way the team is playing now they are the hottest team and most consistent team in the east. Veteran players like Cody Jamieson, Joe Resetarits and Matt Vinc are stepping up big. Rookies and second-year players like Austin Shanks, Eric Fannell and Kyle Jackson are playing as if they have been in the league for years.
From week to week a team can vault to the top of the standings and just as quickly drop to the bottom. So now is not the time for any team to hit a stumbling block.
Rochester will need to beat Toronto and New England outright in the standings as they have lost the tie-breaker to both. With the win last week, they now hold the tie-breaker over Georgia which could prove important. As far as Buffalo, they play them four times this season and hold a 2-1 series edge and a plus 15 in goal differential, so it looks as if they will have the tie-breaker over them as well, unless three teams or more end up tied.