The Rochester Knighthawks got their first win of the season Saturday night as they defeated the Washington Stealth 7-6 in a very defensive battle. Rochester is now 1-3 on the season and Washington drops to 3-3.
Brad Self started the scoring six minutes in to give the Knighthawks a 1-0 lead. Lewis Ratcliff quickly answered a half a minute later to tie it at one. Cory Vitarelli had the only other goal of the first to give Rochester a 2-1 lead heading into the second quarter. Mike Grimes scored the first goal of the second quarter to tie the game at 2-2. “The Unit” Stephen Keogh gave the K-Hawks a 3-2 advantage and Cody Jamieson gave Rochester a 4-2 lead going into the half. No Mercy Mike Accursi came back from being out a few games in style and scored almost right out of the gate in the third, 5-2. That 5-2 lead was quickly shortened by Washington as Rhys Duch and Athan Iannucci. Cody Jamieson got it back 30 seconds into the fourth to bring the lead back up to 6-4, but the Stealth’s resilient spirit paved the way for Ratcliff and Grimes to tie it at 6-6. But then the most clutch young player in the National Lacrosse League, Johnny Powless, scored what would turn out to be the game winner, and Matt Vinc and the defense took care of the rest.
Matt Vinc would definitely get my MVP for this game. Vino was standing on his head in parts, especially in the fourth quarter. Stopping 42 of 48 shots, with most of the six goals being on breakaways or wide-open looks, he proved himself as one of the best goalies in the world tonight.
Rochester got the win, but it wasn’t without a bizarre officiating play you simply can’t find in the box score. Rochester took possession in the early third quarter and the shot clock didn’t start. The Knighthawks took their 20 or so seconds and Powless fired a goal. The referees then called it off, saying the 30 seconds had expired. I would like an explanation on that call since it sure didn’t look like they took the whole chunk of clock to me.
The Knighthawks play two next weekend. An unusual 11 am game on Friday in Philly kicks it off, then a 7:30 Saturday night game against Buffalo that Rochester would love to win out on. The Stealth head home next Saturday night to face John Grant and the Colorado Mammoth.