Woah. Where did these Rochester Knighthawks come from and where have they been all season?
Friday night the Knighthawks picked up their best win over the season – and just fourth overall – 15-7 over the Calgary Roughnecks, who had come into Blue Cross Arena on a five-game winning streak.
Calgary had been looking to sew up a home playoff game but will have to wait until next week to find out if that’s meant to be.
So what happened here? How did Rochester manage to put together such a distinctive win over one of the NLL’s hottest teams?
Statistically, Calgary did everything right. They had the edge in faceoffs, shots and loose balls. They went 4/5 on their power play while holding Rochester to just one goal in four power play attempts. They absolutely dominated with 17 caused turnovers, meaning they should have had the ball in their stick more often. But none of that mattered, because they just couldn’t put the ball past Joel Watson in Rochester’s net.
Curtis Dickson scored twice and assisted on the other five of Calgary’s goals – that’s a great night for him personally, but the frustration when he scored Calgary’s last goal of the night was visible. It just wasn’t enough, and the Roughnecks have to be better heading into the postseason.
Now, as for Rochester: Ryan Smith led with four goals and Curtis Knight scored three. Watson had his best game in the army green, and finally got to put a notch in the win column after losing his previous six starts. The Knighthawks just kept shooting on Christian Del Bianco, who didn’t have his best outing of the season, and he received no support from his offense to make the score look better.
Rochester’s entire offense contributed. Thomas Hoggarth scored a pair of insurance markers late in the game. Mike Burke scored twice. Holden Cattoni had nine shots on goal to lead the team, and made one of them count, scoring with three seconds left in the first half to send Rochester to the locker room with all the momentum and an 8-4 lead. Tyler Biles scored his first career goal, and Mitch Ogilvie, subbing for an injured Turner Evans, had big fourth quarter transition goal after Paul Dawson jostled the ball loose from Reece Callies. Ogilvie picked it up at the restraining line, aimed high and shot low for his second goal of the season.
Rochester won’t be making the playoffs this season, but that doesn’t mean they won’t enjoy playing spoiler when they can. Next Saturday they host the Halifax Thunderbirds, who are desperately trying to clinch a playoff spot in the East.
Calgary will host the Colorado Mammoth next week as each team continues to try to lock up a home-floor quarterfinal game in the West.