The Rochester Knighthawks (7-3) will try to gain some ground on the first-place Toronto Rock when they host the Edmonton Rush (6-4) tonight at the Blue Cross Arena.
The Rush meanwhile will be trying to solidify their hold on first place in the West Division.
The three-time defending champion Knighthawks have gotten hot of late, winning five in a row. Defending NLL MVP Cody Jamieson is pacing the K’Hawks with 55 points. Dangerous Dan Dawson is not far behind with 47 points.
After an uncharacteristically slow start, goaltender Matt Vinc (10.53 goals against average) has settled down recently, giving up just 9.8 goals per game during Rochetser’s winning streak.
Brad Self has been the top defender for Rochester so far this year, collecting 71 loose balls while forcing 14 turnovers.
Edmonton is currently on a two-game winning streak, including an 11-9 win over the Rock last weekend. They remain the team to beat in the West this year, but are hoping to put some distance between themselves and the Colorado Mammoth (6-5) who are just a half game behind them in the standings.
Mark Matthews is seventh in league scoring with 67 points and games in hand on everyone ahead of him in the scoring race. His 30 goals are sixth-best in the NLL, making him the top threat on the Rush roster.
Goaltender Aaron Bold is leading the league in goals against average at 9.36. In front of him, Jeremy Thompson has struggled at times in the faceoff circle (130 wins in 260 tries), but his 96 loosies is best on the Rush and sixth-best in the league. Meanwhile, Ryan Dilks and John Lintz have both forced 20 turnovers and Chris Corbeil has forced 19 as well, giving Edmonton three of the Top 10 in the NLL in that category.
Both Rochester and Edmonton are defense-first teams, so expect to see a tight-checking game. Things might come down to one or two possessions, in which case the Rush might have an edge—in spite of being a bit off this year, Thompson should be expected to win more faceoffs than he loses against Rochester’s Dylan Evans.
Game time Saturday night is 7:30 pm in Rochester.