The Rochester Knighthawks will play the Toronto Rock in a best of 2 series starting tonight at the Blue Cross Arena, faceoff set for 7:30 pm. The Knighthawks are fresh off a 14-11 victory in round 1 where they defeated the Buffalo Bandits. The Rock are the top seeded team in the East, so they had a bye in the first round.
Coming into this season, I think a lot of people had the Rock marked down as a question mark. They were going to be without captain Colin Doyle, and also top scorer Garrett Billings (at first with injury, then traded). So far, they’ve proved to just about everyone that they can be force to be reckoned with, even without those guys. Rob Hellyer has really stepped into his role, putting up 91 points (31g,59a) on that right offensive side. You can’t mention Hellyer without mentioning of course Josh Sanderson. Sanderson’s play this season putting up 102 points gave me flashbacks of his days in Calgary during their cup runs several years ago, where he put up back to back 100+ point seasons.
Colin Doyle is now since back after rehabbing from rotator cuff surgery, and played on the First of May against the Blackwolves, seemingly not missing a beat scoring two goals and adding three assists. Add in the goaltending tandem of Brandon Miller and Nick Rose that Toronto has, the Rock will for sure play some great lacrosse on their end.
The Knighthawks first and foremost need to put last weeks victory behind them. They beat the Bandits in a dramatic rivalry fashion, but this Rock team won’t be as easy, and they need to be ready for that. I don’t think they can necessarily dominate and control the whole game like they did with Buffalo; and they have to be ready for that, a Toronto team that plays the full 60 minutes of fast and hard lacrosse.
The Hawks saw a few different players step up and have big games. Joe Resetarits had four goals in the win over Buffalo, while both Cory Vitarelli and Jordan Hall had hat tricks. The usual goal scoring tandem of Cody Jamieson and Dan Dawson was relatively quiet in the goal column last game (3 goals combined), however came up big feeding the ball and racking up the assists, Jamieson with 7 and Dawson with 5.
Matt Vinc is in between the pipes for Rochester. Vinc is no doubt (in my opinion) one of the best goaltenders in the current day NLL, and is also one of the most consistent. Both teams in this one have some great goalies, but without the support from their respective defenses, they won’t be able to do much; defense will be the key in this one.
Tonight’s game can be viewed live on TSN 4, starting time is 7:30 PM EST.