NLL: Jackson’s OT goal gives Knighthawks third-straight win

Colton Armstrong jumps over the crease for a shot on Dillon Ward. Rochester Blackhawks at Colorado Mammoth, April 12, 2019. (Photo credit: Bart Young/National Lacrosse League)

The Loud House experienced a dramatic ending to the Colorado Mammoth and Rochester Knighthawks game on Friday night. The Mammoth would force the visiting Knighthawks to overtime only to fall short 10-9 due to a controversial goal from Kyle Jackson (#47).

Moments after Mammoth play-by-play man Jamie Shewchuk stated that the Knighthawks were barely holding on, Jackson battled down into the crease, scoring the potential game–winning goal. The play was immediately reviewed to verify that Jackson hadn’t hit the ground before the ball crossed the goal line. It was close – with Ian Llord draped all over him, it was hard to tell whether Jackson’s hip or upper leg had hit the crease before the ball entered the net. The referees reviewed the goal for four full minutes, and, due to inconclusive evidence, the call on the floor stood.

It was the Knighthawks’ third win in a row, though their streak came too little, too late for them to make the playoffs. The Mammoth are desperately trying to stay ahead of the Vancouver Warriors for the last Western Division playoff spot.

Both teams came out of the faceoff hard resulting in a back–and–forth battle to start the game. Cody Jamieson (#88) would open the scoring for the game putting the Knighthawks up 1-0 early in the first quarter. The Mammoth’s Ryan Lee (#16) would answer back 10 minutes later to tie the game and go on to have a five-point night (2G, 3A). Jake Withers replied off his own faceoff win nine seconds later to restore the Mammoth lead.

Returning back to Denver for his first time since being traded for Cory Vitarelli (#26), veteran Ryan Benesch (#17) closed the scoring in the first quarter on a pass from Jackson. Benesch consistently finds ways to contribute in the offensive zone and this game was no exception. He would tally four points (2G/2A) in this contest with three of them coming in Rochester’s critical third quarter.

More back–and–forth play would take place in the second quarter, as Vitarelli would tally a goal early for the home team. Soon after, a fresh face for the Knighthawks, Mike Triolo (#12,) registered a goal to keep the pressure on the Mammoth. Triolo had major success in the Arena Lacrosse League (ALL) before his promotion to the NLL and undoubtedly earned his spot at the highest level of play. His height and wingspan allow him to see passing and shooting lanes with ease and he doesn’t hesitate to capitalize on his shooting opportunities. He would go on to contribute two points on the night (1G/1A).

Chris Wardle replied for Colorado but the Knighthawks held a 4-3 at halftime.

The third quarter brought a high goal-tally for the Knighthawks. They would go on a four-goal run to momentarily deflate the energy of the Mammoth defence and hometown crowd. The Mammoth’s morale remained durable, however, as Jamieson and Scott Carnegie (#27) scrapped it out – an entertaining fight after Jamieson allegedly head-butted Carnegie.

Kyle Killen and Austin Shanks traded goals in the fourth before the Mammoth went on a scoring tear of their own. Taylor Stuart struck first on the power play. Wardle then scored a one-handed behind-the-net dunk goal with an extra attacker on the floor with 50 seconds left, and with 30 seconds left, Ryan Lee flew over the crease to tie the game.

Knighthawks’ goalie Warren Hill (#76) would face a total of 47 shots and stop 38 of them while Mammoth’s goalie Dillon Ward (#45) would face 45 shots and stop 35 of them. Both goalies performed in stellar fashion and did a great job cutting down shot angles, moving through the crease, and helping on transition.