The Knighthawks Stay Undefeated With Another Convincing Win

Gary Groob
All Lacrosse All The Time  – A Division of Edge of Philly Sports Network

The first place Rochester Knighthawks (4-0) put their franchise best three game win streak on the line as they hosted the Panther City Lacrosse Club (2-3) in their first game back from the holiday break at Segar & Sciortino Field at The Blue Cross Arena.

This matchup had two of the NLL’s top five offenses.  Both teams were averaging more than 10 goals per game. Rochester had scored nearly 14 goals per game through its first three games of the season, with only Halifax and San Diego scoring more. Panther City was also the highest shooting team in the NLL, averaging 75.5 shots per game, while being the only team with more than 300 shots. Conversely, Panther City had allowed an NLL-worst 271 shots-against in its first four games.

Connor Fields entered the weekend leading the NLL in scoring with 25 points while ranking second in goals (12) and tied for sixth in assists (13). By averaging eight points per game through his first three games of the season, including four goals in each, Fields is on pace to shatter his career-high mark of 67 points he set last season with the Buffalo Bandits.  However, Fields, who was recently married, was assigned to the “Short Term Holdout List” and would be unavailable for this game. Thomas Hoggarth, Holden Cattoni, Curtis Knight, and Austin Hasen would have to pick up the slack.

Offensively, Panther City is led by lefty Will Malcom (team-high 21 points – 9g,12a). On the right side, Phil Caputo (12 points – 6g,6a) and second year forward Patrick Dodds (13 points – 5g, 8a).  Goalie Nick Damude continues his strong play so far this season, as he made a career-high 48 saves against Saskatchewan and currently leads the league in saves made (139) and is second in the NLL with his 9.06 goals against average amongst starting goalies.

In this game the goalie match-up had Nick Damude in net for Panther City against Rylan Hartley in net for the Knighthawks.

The Knighthawks were rolling early, chasing Nick Damude from the net near the end of the first quarter. Up 10-5 at the half, this game really never was in doubt.  Rylan Hartley was spectacular in net frustrating the Panther City shooters all night.  Thomas Hoggarth (4g,3a), and Holden Cattoni (4g,3a) led the way for Rochester, while Jonathan Donville (3g,3a), Nathan Grenon (2g,1a), and Dean Fairall (2g, 0a) led PantherCity.  Rochester wins convincingly 17-9.

To The Game:

The Knighthawks got on the board first when Ryland Rees, with a beautiful individual effort, scored over the shoulder of Nick Damude to the top corner at 3:10.  Panther City tied the game with an outside shot from Jonathan Donville off a Patrick Foley pass at 6:42.

Rochester took the lead once again when Ryan Smith floated a shot to the top corner off a Dan Coates pass at 8:27.  Then increased the lead off an Austin Hasen low to low shot at 9:57.

Jonathan Donville got his second of the game converting a Phil Caputo pass at 10:29, but was answered back by Holden Cattoni blasting a Curtis Knight pass in at 11:48.  Curtis Knight joined in the scoring when he came in all alone beating Damude over his left shoulder at 13:08. 

Cam MacLeod came in the Panther City goal in relief of Nick Damude at this point.

After one quarter, Rochester 5 Panther City 2.

Second Quarter:

The Knighthawks opened the second quarter scoring when Matt Gilray scored on a fake, converting a Tyler Halls pass at 2:17.  Panther City answered back on the power play when Dean Fairall converted a Jonathan Donville pass at 5:35.  Rochester scored on a power play of their own when Turner Evans put in a Ryan Smith pass at 7:44, followed by Thomas Hoggarth scoring unassisted, also on the power play at 10:10.

Panther City got one back when Nathan Grenon scored off a Jonathan Donville feed at 11:10, but was answered immediately when Holden Cattoni scored his second of the game off a Thomas Hoggarth feed at 12:17. 

The track meet continued when Josh Medeiros fired a low to low shot beating Rylan Hartley at 13:26, but again was answered immediately by the Knighthawks Matt Gilray scoring on a beautiful individual effort at 14:17.

At the half Rochester 10 Panther City 5.

Third Quarter:

Rochester opened the second half with Thomas Hoggarth scoring twice.  The first was over the shoulder of Cam MacLeod off a Turner Evans feed at 2:21, followed by a shovel shot to the shortside just seconds later.  The onslaught continued with Holden Cattoni scoring his third of the night off a Curtis Knight pass at 7:53.

Panther City finally got on the board at 9:35 when Dean Fairall converted a Jonathan Donville pass, but as the Knighthawks had done all night, they answered back immediately.  Thomas Hoggarth scored his fourth of the night off a Holden Cattoni pass at 10:06. 

Nathan Grenon added to the Panther City total with his second goal of the night from Will Malcom at 14:42, but the lead was still seven goals for Rochester heading to the fourth quarter.

After three quarters,  Rochester 14 Panther City 7.

Fourth Quarter:

Panther City opened up the fourth with Jonathan Donville diving across the crease to narrow the Knighthawks lead to 14-8 at 0:36 seconds.  Ryan Smith scored for Rochester beating Cam MacLeod top shelf off a Curtis Knight feed once again at 4:21.  Panther City scored again, thus time on a delayed penalty.  Liam Patten put it by Rylan Hartley unassisted, wiping out the penalty call.

The Rochester squad finished the game scoring twice more.  Ryan Smith converted a Curtis Knight feed, followed by Holden Cattoni blasting a Thomas Hoggarth passed MacLeod to finish the game.

Final score, Rochester 17 Panther City 9.

Game Stats:

  • Shots on goal favored Rochester 50-45
  • Faceoffs were even at 14 to 14.
  • The loose ball battle went to Panther City 84-74.
  • Rochester went 2 for 4 on the power play, while PCLC went 2 for 5.

Top Scorers:

Panther City Lacrosse Club:

  • Jonathan Donville 3g, 3a
  • Nathan Grenon 2g, 1a
  • Will Malcom 0g, 3a

Rochester Knighthawks:

  • Thomas Hoggarth 4g, 3a
  • Holden Cattoni 4g, 3a
  • Curtis Knight 1g, 6a

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Gary Groob
Gary Groob

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.