“Muffler” Mike Kostiuk – All Lacrosse All The Time, a Division of the Edge of Philly Sports Network

The 2-0 Rochester Knighthawks visited MVP Arena to take on the 1-0 Albany FireWolves in Week 3 action. Both teams were unbeaten thanks to stellar performances from their goaltenders. Rylan Hartley stunned both Georgia and Toronto over the first two weeks of the season, while Doug Jamieson backstopped Albany to a rare road win in Buffalo to open the season. However, the FireWolves got some bad news this week: Joe Nardella is out for the season with a knee injury. The Knighthawks capitalized on Nardella’s absence, going 23 for 30 at the X. The extra possessions helped them prevail 14-13 to improve to 3-0 on the year.

FireWolves build early lead

Albany struck first, with John LaFontaine (2:21) scoring in transition. Tanner Thomson (1g, 2a; 8:10) and Hiana Thompson (3g; 10:01) would increase the FireWolves’ lead to 3-0 before Dan Coates (10:15) ended the run. Ethan Walker (2g, 2a; 11:29) pushed the lead back to three, but Ryan Smith (4g; 13:32) answered with a power play marker. After 15 minutes of play, the Knighthawks trailed 4-2.

Albany continued to apply the pressure in the second quarter. Connor Kelly (1g, 3a; 0:36) and Walker’s second (2:31) made it 6-2. The Knighthawks responded with goals from Connor Fields (4g, 4a; 5:23) and Matt Gilray (1g, 3a; 6:23). Thompson’s second (7:21) and Charlie Kitchen (9:06) pushed the lead back to four, but Thomas Hoggarth (1g, 2a; 10:45) made it 8-5 at the half.

Knighthawks rally, then hold on

The Knighthawks opened the second half with five more unanswered goals. Smith’s second (0:27), Curtis Knight (2g, 5a; 4:27), Holden Cattoni (6:36), Smith’s hat trick goal (6:56), and the second from Fields (10:35) put Rochester up 10-8. Colton Watkinson (13:31) scored while shorthanded to end the Knighthawks’ run and pull within one goal. Smith then responded with his fourth of the night (13:59) to make it 11-9.

Albany then went on a three goal-run into the fourth quarter to retake the lead. Aaron Forster (14:17) netted his first goal in a FireWolves uniform, then Thompson netted his hat trick with less than a second left in the third quarter. Justin Scott (2g, 1a) followed at 6:47 of the fourth quarter to make it 12-11. The second from Knight (7:56) and the hat trick goal from Fields (8:17) restored a one goal lead for Rochester. Scott (9:19) would get his second to tie the game 13-13 before Fields tallied his fourth goal (10:55), which eventually became the game-winner.

Other Stats of Note

Power Play: ROC 1 for 3; ALB 0 for 0

Loose Balls: ROC 100; ALB 58

Tyler Halls (ROC): 13 Loose Balls (led all players)

Rylan Hartley (ROC): 28 saves

Doug Jamieson (ALB): 50 saves

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“Muffler” Mike Kostiuk

“Muffler” Mike Kostiuk was formally introduced to box lacrosse when he attended a New England Black Wolves game on a whim in 2016. Instantly hooked, he has since become an avid follower of the National Lacrosse League. Following the postponement of the 2019-2020 NLL season, he was offered the chance to share his wealth of statistical knowledge and unique insights with the lacrosse community at large. He cheerfully accepted, and covers NLL, PLL, WLA, and Major Series Lacrosse for the network.