NLL: Dawson sets all-time career assists mark as Rock defeat Knighthawks

Rochester Knighthawks v Toronto Rock :: 4.9.2022 (Photo By Micheline Veluvolu)

The Rochester Knighthawks led the Toronto Rock for 56:50 on Saturday night, but not when the final horn sounded. The Rock captured their third straight win 11-9 in Rochester, extending the Hawks losing streak to seven games.

Once again, Toronto played without Rob Hellyer. Only five of their 11 goals were scored by traditional forwards, including an empty netter by Dan Craig, his second of the game. Tom Schreiber also scored twice and Dan Dawson opened Toronto’s scoring with a dunk shot early in the first.

Dawson entered the game one assist shy of the all-time NLL record. Career assist number 935 came on Challen Rogers’ first of two goals in the game. Dawson passed to Schreiber, who passed to Rogers who dove through the crease, adding a twist at the end of his shot to make the score 4-3 Rochester.

Much the way he attempted to divert attention away from himself when he broke the all-time games played record (also held by John Tavares) two weeks ago, Dawson credited “the amazing players I’ve played with over my career.”

Also on the verge of history, Nick Rose stopped 41 of 50 Knighthawks shots. He made career save number 5,095 to pass former Rock teammate and fellow Orangeville Northmen alumni Brandon Miller for eighth on the all-time list, and also passed Miller for ninth in minutes played in the third quarter.


Toronto’s five offensive goals were outmatched by six of nine from the Rochester offense. Three of those from Ryan Smith for his sixth hat trick of the season. Eight of the combined 20 goals were scored by transition players. Those included a pair from Rochester’s Ryland Rees, and two each from the Rock’s Rogers and Latrell Harris, whose second of the game tied the score at nine. Harris ran into a breakout pass from Rose and converted the breakaway to kickstart a three-goal Rock run to end the game.

Harris was a force all night; not just registering five points, but also a team-high five caused turnovers and nine loose balls, one behind Mitch de Snoo. Harris tallied one of each stat midway through the third quarter throwing a big hit at centre floor, scooping the loose ball and converting the ensuing breakaway. At the time, it drew Toronto within one at 8-7. De Snoo would tie the game at eight just minutes later, the first tie since it was 1-1 over 40 minute earlier.

Not good enough…

Toronto trailed 7-5 at halftime, prompting head coach Matt Sawyer to say, “We’ve got to work to get better in all areas.” The Rock responded with a six-goal second half, putting 31 shots on net.

Rochester, meanwhile, only took 21 shots in the second half – nine in the third quarter – and scored just a pair of goals allowing for the Rock to climb back into the game. Smith was also critical of his team’s offense saying, “You can’t go just scoring two goals in the second half. That was the difference tonight.”

Next Up

The Rock return home to Hamilton to host the Halifax Thunderbirds this Saturday, April 16th. The two teams briefly shared FirstOntario Centre as home floor earlier this season when Covid restrictions kept the ‘Birds from playing in Nova Scotia. Unlike early February, the Rock won’t be so welcoming. A win for Toronto will clinch a home playoff game. After their loss to Philadelphia earlier on Saturday, Halifax now trails Toronto by two games in the East Division standings.