The 2013 season comes down to this, one last game to decide who will walk away with the Champions Cup. Will the Rochester Knighthawks win their second championship in a row, becoming the first team to accomplish that feat since the 2002 and 2003 Toronto Rock? Will the Washington Stealth win their second in four years? It’ll all be settled tonight in Langley.
It’s been an interesting season for the Rochester Knighthawks, who came into the year as the favorite to win the championship. The reining champions came into the season with almost the same roster as last year, despite one big addition in Dan Dawson. Despite all the hype, the season didn’t exactly start as planned. Rochester dropped its first three games, much to the dismay of Knighthawks fans. However, Rochester managed to pull things back together. A three game win streak followed that three game losing steak, and Rochester managed to finish with an 8-8 record at season’s end.
In a weak season for the Eastern Division, that 8-8 record gave the Knighthawks the second seed in the Eastern Division playoff bracket. Their path to the championship includes victories over Philadelphia and Minnesota, who played in the East thanks to the crossover rule. They experienced quite the scare last week, down by three late in the game. However it wasn’t too much to overcome, as Rochester stormed back on route to a 12 to 10 victory.
The Washington Stealth went from the worst team in the league to one of the best over the course of two seasons. Their season opened up the same way it will end, with a game against the Rochester Knighthawks. They hope they’ll have the same result they did last night, when they walked away with the victory.
Washington had the better record, 9-7, hence why they have somewhat of a home advantage. Washington beat both Alberta teams, Calgary and Edmonton, to get to this year’s championship. Last week’s game was an incredible hard fought battle with the Roughnecks, with the Stealth slipping by up only one goal.
The two teams played twice in the regular season, each winning one game. The first was the previously mentioned season opener, where Washington emerged victorious by a 13-12 score. The second time they met was just as close and an incredible goalie battle between Matt Vinc and Tyler Richards. Rochester was able to beat Richards just one more time to win 7-6.
Dawson has been coming up big in the playoffs so far, scoring nine points in two games. Cody Jamieson, who was somewhat limited due to injury, follows right behind him with eight points. Jamieson should likely be closer to 100% for tonight’s game. Washington’s been getting big production from Rhys Duch (13 points), Athan Iannucci (10 points), and Brett Bucktooth (9 points). Lewis Ratcliff should be a factor as well. The storyline of Richards vs. Vinc is one of the best to follow, as two of the best goalies in the league face off.
Due to the conflicts with Comcast Arena, the game will be held at the Langley Events Centre in Langley, British Columbia. A sellout is expected and they are hoping to create as much of a Stealth home-floor advantage feel as possible. The game will be available to watch live on CBS Sports Network and will be broadcasted on the Armed Forces Network.