Rochester Muscles Back Into Playoff Picture

The Rochester Knighthawks hosted the Albany FireWolves at Blue Cross Arena Saturday night for the first of a home-and-home series. It was the second game of the weekend for the FireWolves, having topped Vancouver 13-8 in the Capital Region on Friday night. Rochester wanted to capitalize on a tired Albany squad, and get closer to .500 after a six-game losing streak the first half of the season. Three Knighthawks players registered 10 or more points on the night as Rochester thumped Albany 18-12.

Rochester, Albany trade blows in first half shootout

Since Albany was on the back end of a doubleheader, Justin Geddie was given the start in net. The Knighthawks opened with Connor Fields and Kyle Waters scoring for a 2-0 lead. Tye Kurtz got Albany on the board before Fields tacked on two more and Thomas McConvey scored to make it 5-1 Rochester. Markers from Travis Longboat and Marshall Powless trimmed the lead to 5-3. McConvey’s second was met by a goal from Sam Firth to keep Rochester in front 6-4 after one quarter.

Ryan Smith netted two goals and Waters tallied his second for Rochester in the second quarter. The Waters goal would chase Geddie from the game in favor of Doug Jamieson. However, Albany struck back with five goals in the frame. Two from Tye Kurtz, a transition marker from Jackson Nishimura, Ethan Walker, and Firth’s second on a power play made it a 9-9 game at halftime.

Rochester pulls away in the second half

Fields opened the second half with his fourth goal of the game, but Alex Simmons equalized for Albany. Rochester then went on a three goal-run as the FireWolves began to show fatigue from having played the night before. Smith scored a power play goal, then Fields uncorked his fifth of the night. A second power play goal from Smith put the Knighthawks up 13-10 going into the fourth quarter.

Firth’s hat-trick goal cut the lead to two, but the Knighthawks scored five unanswered to put the game away. Smith’s fifth, Waters’ hat trick goal, McConvey’s third and fourth, and the sock trick goal from Fields gave Rochester an 18-11 lead. Simmons potted his second of the night with two second remaining to close the scoring. Rochester improves to 5-6 and now sits one game out of 8th place; the loss puts Albany at 10-3, a game behind Toronto for the league lead. These teams meet again at MVP Arena in the Capital Region next Saturday night.

Other Stats of Note

FireWolves: Kurtz (3g, 2a); Firth (3g, 1a); Simmons (2g, 3a); Powless/Longboat/Walker (1g, 3a)

Knighthawks: Fields (6g, 5a); Smith (5g, 5a); McConvey (4g, 2a); Waters (3g, 2a); Lanchbury (12a – one shy of tying the NLL record for assists in a single game (13 – Mark Steenhuis, Buffalo Bandits, February 2009))

Riley Hutchcraft (ROC): 52 saves

“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 currently serves as Edge of Philly’s correspondent for both the Albany FireWolves and New York Riptide.