NLL: Rochester’s Rylan Hartley gets first win

Rylan Hartley makes a save on Connor Kelly. Rochester Knighthawks v New York Riptide, February 29, 2020 (Photo By Micheline V/ Rochester Knighthawks)

Saturday night the Rochester Knighthawks (2-8) survived a late rush by the New York Riptide (1-11) to escape with a 13-12 victory in front of 6,006 fans at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester New York.

Rylan Hartley collected his first career NLL victory by stopping 49 of 61 shots including some very crucial saves in the final couple minutes.

“I’m just worried about the next shot and focus on one save at a time,” Hartley said after his 49 save performance. “It feels great. We’re gonna enjoy it for tonight and then it’s on to next weekend.”

Holden Cattoni led the way for the Knighthawks scoring four times on the night and adding two assists. Cattoni now has 57 points on 22 goals and 36 assists to lead all Knighthawks’ players. Cattoni is on pace for 103 points (40G/63A) all career highs. Last season with Georgia he collected 80 points (27G/53A).

“Lightning can’t strike three times I guess,” Cattoni said. “We just stuck to our game plan. It was unfortunate that we got away from it in the fourth quarter and let them crawl back into the game, but that’s kind of the way it goes with the ebbs and flows of the game. Tonight, it kind of all came together for us and were fortunate enough to pull it out in the end.”

New York took a two-goal lead in the first six minutes, but Rochester’s Dan Michel would tie the game himself by scoring twice within 1:33. Both teams would exchange single goals and hold a 4-3 lead with 7:16 gone in the second quarter. That would be the last lead New York would have.

Rochester would go on a seven-goal run that would start by scoring the final two goals of the half to take a 5-4 lead, and then roll off five goals in the first 4:33 of the third quarter to take a commanding 10-4 lead. One of the goals came off the stick of Doug Utting. It was Utting’s first NLL career goal and point.

Despite the Riptide’s 1-11 record, this team was not going to quit. McArdle and Thorpe would give them some momentum, but Cattoni scored three in a row himself and the Knighthawks were in command and lead 13-6, or so they thought.

New York would put the Knighthawks’ fans on the edge of their seats as they would score the final six goals of the game. Travis Longboat started the scoring on the powerplay and John Wagner would follow a minute later shorthanded. Then it turned into the Dan Lomas show. Lomas would fire off four-straight goals (one on powerplay) to bring New York within a goal at 13-12.

But it was Rylan Hartley coming up big in the end to preserve Rochester’s second victory of the season.

Dan Lomas (6G/2A) and Tyson Gibson (2G/5A) led the Riptide offense. Alex Buque stopped 29 of 39 shots and was saddled with the loss. Gowah Abrams stopped six of nine shots faced in 7:47 of time in the third quarter.

Curtis Knight (8A) and Holden Cattoni (4G/2A) led the offense for the Knighthawks. Dan Michel, Mark Cockerton and Turner Evans all scored twice in the victory.

Rochester will now travel out west to face the San Diego Seals Saturday night 10:30 p.m. then travel to Colorado to face the Mammoth Sunday night 7 p.m.