FIREWOLVES FALL TO KNIGHTHAWKS IN HOME OPENER
by “Muffler” Mike Kostiuk
The NLL returned to New York’s Capital Region for the first time in almost 20 years as the Albany FireWolves hosted the Rochester Knighthawks at the Times Union Center on Saturday.
Rochester came in on the heels of the news that starting goaltender Evan Kirk would be unavailable to play for the remainder of the season due to a work commitment.
However, backup Rylan Hartley responded to his sudden promotion to starter with a stellar performance, allowing just four goals on 31 shots, and Rochester dominated most of the game to improve to 2-1 with a 16-7 victory. The FireWolves fall to 0-2 on the season.
After scoring the first goal in FireWolves’ history in their Week 1 loss to Toronto, transition player Tony Malcom scored the first home goal in FireWolves’ history just before the 4:00 mark for a 1-0 lead.
But the home crowd’s euphoria would quickly subside, as Rochester went on a 4-goal run over the next four and a half minutes. Charlie Bertrand (3g, 1a) struck first, beating Albany goalie Doug Jamieson at 5:47 to tie the game at 1. Holden Cattoni (4g, 5a; 6:32) continued his red-hot start to the 2021-2022 season, followed by Ryan Smith (3g, 2a) notching his first career goal (6:54; power play) and Thomas Hoggarth (1g, 3a; 8:23) to extend the Knighthawks’ lead to 4-1.
Andrew Kew (1g, 1a) trimmed the deficit to two at 10:42, closing scoring for the quarter.
The second quarter began with another 4-goal run by Rochester, as Albany appeared to be out of sync on both sides of the ball, and incurred two 5-minute major penalties on defenders Colton Watkinson (fighting) and Adrian Sorichetti (high sticking) during the quarter.
Curtis Knight (1g, 4a; 0:17), Cattoni (1:24), Turner Evans (1g, 4a; 6:25) on a power play, and Smith again (8:51), and the lead was now 8-2.
Jaob Ruest closed the gap to five with a power play marker at 9:32 to end the first half scoring.
The Knighthawks continued to outpace Albany as the second half got underway. Shawn Evans (1g, 4a; 1:35), Doug Utting (7:35), and a shorthanded goal by Bertrand at 12:30 offset the first of three goals from Joe Resetarits (11:25), and the third quarter ended with Rochester holding an 11-4 lead.
Cattoni’s third of the game at 0:45 and Ryland Rees (1g) at 2:18 chased Jamieson from the game.
Albany backup Ethan Woods would play less than a minute before flaring tempers finally boiled over at the 3:06 mark, as nine players were sent to the penalty box following a floor-wide melee that included Woods and Hartley shedding their jerseys and upper body pads to brawl.
Both netminders got in a few decent shots on each other before hitting the deck and getting ejected after being assessed game misconduct penalties. This could be the only downside for the Knighthawks, should the newly-minted starter Hartley be suspended by the league.
Jamieson reentered the game following the massive brawl, and the Knighthawks’ dominance continued, with Bertrand’s third (6:10), Cattoni’s fourth (9:16), and Smith’s third (12:23) finding the back of the net.
Albany countered with Jackson Nishimura (3:51; shorthanded) and Joe Resetarits twice (11:36, 13:35) closing a disappointing and forgettable night for the home team.
ODDS AND ENDS
3 Stars of the Game
1st Star: Holden Cattoni
2nd Star: Shawn Evans
3rd Star: Turner Evans
Other Stats of Note
Power Play: ROC 2 of 6; ALB 1 of 4
Joe Nardella was one of few bright spots for Albany, winning 20 of 25 on faceoffs
Joel Watson (ROC): 8 saves, 3 GA in 12 minutes in relief of Hartley
Every Knighthawks forward recorded at least 4 points in the game, with Cattoni’s 9 points leading all players
Kevin has followed and promoted the game of lacrosse since May 19, 1974.
The same day the Philadelphia Flyers won the Cup, the Philadelphia Wings were introduced to Neibauer and Philadelphia.
Kevin has covered many sports, including baseball, football, basketball, and.. lacrosse. A former licensed football referee and baseball umpire, Kevin brings a unique insight to his game coverage.
A published writer in JustHockey Magazine, Kevin covered the American Hockey League as well as a monthly story on a pugilist where Kevin used the pen name, The Rink Rat. Neibauer turned his attentions to lacrosse for a few years and does his part, whether podcasting or writing to grow the game. Kevin branched out to his roots and currently provides insight for all Philadelphia teams for Edge of Philly as well as his full-time duties with LaxPhilly.