It went up until the last few seconds, but the Rochester Knighthawks did it. For the second year in a row the K-Hawks are on top of the league, this time winning the franchise’s fourth championship in front of a sold out crowd at the Langley Events Centre.
Despite the victory, Rochester had to do all they could to hang on. Their 11-10 victory meant that they only scored one goal in the second half, allowing Washington to get back into a game that at one point looked to be absolutely slipping away from them. Like usual it was a game of runs which saw both sides gain momentum at one point or another, but for the Washington Stealth they just came up a tad too short.
Joe Walters would score the eventual game winner only two minutes into the fourth quarter. Tyler Garrison made it a one goal game again only a minute later, but Washington never seemed to get flow in the offensive zone and were shut out for the final twelve minutes.
Rochester was led by their young star Cody Jamieson, who earned his second straight NLL Championship MVP Award for his three goals and two assists on the night. Walters also had a big game, adding four assists to his game winning goal.
The championship was the first for many, including Dan Dawson and Scott Self, who were additions to the team this season. Self and Jimmy Purves were both acquired at the trade deadline from Buffalo and only a few weeks later hoisted the cup with the rest of the Knighthawks.
The Championship, also the second in a row, was the first under Sid Smith’s captaincy after Pat McCready’s retirement. For head coach Mike Hasen, its his second championship in only three years of coaching.
For Washington, the closeness of defeat makes the loss even more difficult. This game was the Stealth’s third championship game appearance in four years, and their record in those games now falls to 1-2.
Thus, another NLL season is in the books. Rochester, who was the favorite coming into the season, finishes on top. Now players and fans move onto the summer, whether it be the MLL, Canadian box leagues, or just getting a bit of a break from lacrosse. Nonetheless, the league never sleeps, and soon every team will be gearing up for the 2014 season.