Written by “Muffler” Mike Kostiuk
The New York Riptide opened the 2021-2022 NLL season at the Nassau Live Center, squaring off against the Rochester Knighthawks. The visiting Knighthawks prevailed 13-12 in one of three Week 1 games that required an overtime period to decide the winner.
The Riptide’s 2020 #1 overall pick Jeff Teat began his NLL career with a five-point night (3g, 2a), opening the scoring with his first career goal at the 4:32 mark. The Knighthawks would respond twice within two minutes, with Holden Cattoni (4g, 2a) scoring at 5:18, then assisting on Turner Evans’s goal just over a minute later.
Nearly one minute after that, newly-acquired Riptide forward Connor Kearnan would net the first of his three goals, taking a feed from captain Dan MacRae and putting one past Knighthawks goaltender Evan Kirk at 7:15. At this point, the raucous crowd knew they were in for a nail biting back and forth affair. 2019 #2 overall pick Ryland Rees would put Rochester back in front near the end of the quarter, scoring unassisted at 13:47.
After MacRae picked up a cross-checking penalty at the very end of the first quarter, Rochester used the ensuing power play to take the first two-goal lead of the game, with Cattoni, assisted by Chris Willman (13 of 27 on faceoffs) beating Riptide netminder Gowah Abrams less than 30 seconds in. Scott Dominey (2g) cut the lead back to one at 2:47, and the highest scoring quarter of the game was on.
Knighthawks forward Thomas Hoggarth (3g) scored to make it 5-3, then the moment Riptide fans had been waiting over 600 days for finally arrived: future Hall of Famer Callum Crawford scored his first goal in a Riptide uniform at 6:53, followed by Tyson Gibson at 7:35 to tie the game at 5-5. Not to be undone, Cattoni (one of four players to record a hat trick or better for the game) scored off assists from Shawn Evans at 8:28 and Curtis Knight at 10:02 to regain a two-goal lead, before Jake Fox cut it to one at 12:37. Rochester held a slim 7-6 advantage going into halftime.
Crawford (2g, 1a) struck again at 4:47, scoring on the power play to tie the game for the fourth time at 7-7. After Knighthawks forward Charlie Bertrand scored the first of his two goals at 7:23, Dominey scored what can only be described as “an early Goal of the Year candidate” during a Riptide penalty kill a minute and a half later. Using a jumping swim move to split two defenders, the man nicknamed “The Flash” then fired a behind the back shot past Kirk to once again tie the game at 8-8. Transition player Cory Highfield (1g, 1a) closed the third quarter scoring at 13:50, putting Rochester back on top 9-8.
Rochester poured it on to open the fourth, taking the only three-goal lead of the game after scores by Bertrand and Shawn Evans (1g, 4a) in the first 30 seconds of the quarter. Then the hat trick show started: Kearnan’s second, followed by Teat’s second, closed the gap to 11-10 with just 4 minutes gone. Twenty seconds later, Hoggarth’s second pulled Rochester ahead 12-10. Over 9 minutes of action passed until Teat notched his hat trick at 13:36, then Kearnan netting his on assists from Crawford and Gibson with less than 3 seconds on the clock to tie the game at 12 and force a fifth stanza to determine the winner. That winner would come in the form of Hoggarth’s hat trick goal, a sidearm rocket from the top of the offensive zone beating Abrams 1:30 into overtime for the 13-12 victory.
3 Stars of the Game:
1st Star: Cattoni
2nd Star: Teat
3rd Star: Crawford
Other Stats of Note
Rees (ROC) led all players with 10 loose balls Jay Thorimbert (NY): 15 of 28 on faceoffs
Kirk: 24 saves; Abrams: 18 saves
Riptide defenseman Matt Marinier had 6 caused turnovers in his NLL debut, which currently leads the league after one week of play.
Gary Groob has been involved with Lacrosse for the majority of his life, whether playing, coaching, or covering the sport for the media.
An avid fan, with a real drive about helping to “grow the game”, Gary became part of podcasts about the game in 2010. Through the podcasts, Mr. Groob was given an opportunity to write about lacrosse, and the rest as they say, is history.
Through many miles (flying and driving) Gary has made inroads with the National Lacrosse League, Major Series Lacrosse League, the Ontario Lacrosse Association, as well as the Arena Lacrosse League, covering the leagues, their teams, and players, working for, and in concert with all of them.
In the year 2020, Mr. Groob was made the media person for the Arena Lacrosse League, voted onto the board of directors of the Brampton Excelsiors Lacrosse Club, as well as being made administrator of the Lacrosse page “Global Lacrosse” with a membership of 9000 members in over 90 Countries. Gary was also made an administrator of Lacrosse History Past Present and Future in 2022.
Mr. Groob co-hosts a weekly Lacrosse show on Spanglish Sports World, and ZingoTV channel 250, as well as writes a weekly lacrosse column for La Portada Canada News (both in print, and online).
Gary also hosts a Lacrosse talk show and podcast for The Edge of Philly Sports Network, seen live Sunday nights at 9pm (ET), and archived on the Edge of Philly YouTube page, as well as Spotify.
Mr. Groob’s other sports interests include Hockey, Football, Boxing, Wrestling, and Baseball, competing competitively in Boxing and Wrestling for many years.