Wings take Rochester to Bizarro World.

The expansion Rochester Knighthawks (1-5) made their first trip to Philadelphia and the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday. A crowd of 7,015 got to witness bizarre lacrosse which Philadelphia would win in a convincing 12-4 one way battle.

Things started normal enough when Trevor Baptiste scooped a loose ball and scored behind Knighthawks netminder, Steve “Deep” Fryer to give the Wings the only goal of the first period with both goaltenders, Fryer and The Wings, Zach Higgins stealing the show. Shawn Evans set up Holden Cattoni (1g,2a) on the man advantage to get it even at 1-1 at the 2:53 mark.

Philadelphia had a handful of highlight goals and Kiel Matisz (2g,2a) went on a half the floor rush to give the Wings a lead they would not lose. On the man up, Maitisz would go back to work and hit Cory Vitarelli who found a breaking Kevin Crowley (2g,2a) and Philly was working magic with a crisp passing game. Just 2:03 later, Shawn Evans (1g,1a) cut it to 3-2, also on the man advantage.

Things started getting very chippy and a steady parade to the penalty was taking place. Brett Hickey (4g) again on the man advantage and a pair from Cory Vitarelli (2g,3a) also on the advantage closed the first-half scoring. In the final five seconds, Matt Bennett and Paul Dawson each were assessed roughing minors. The half-closed with Philadelphia rolling, 6-2.

The second half was a disaster for Rochester and the bizarre would present itself. Things started normal enough for the home team Trevor Baptiste assisted on a beautiful Matisz goal and Josh Currier (1g) converted yet another pretty passing play from Kevin Buchanan (2a) and Matt Rambo (5a) to close the third with an 8-2 score.

As the final seconds were running out, Matt Bennett and Paul Dawson each were cited for roughing minors and the period ended with Philly going on a two-man advantage. Just :52 in.. Dylan Evans and Shawn Evans were each whistled for roughing minors.

Since there were already two Knighthawks in the box, a sight no one in the crowd and even Wings Head Coach, Paul Day said he has never seen the call. Not one, but two penalty shots were awarded to Philadelphia! Kevin Crowley converted on the first but Kiel Matisz was denied.

The Rochester parade to the box continued and Brett Hickey scored off beautiful feeds from Blaze Riorden (1a) and Vitarelli to push the Wings to a 10-2 cushion. 90 seconds later, Hickey lit the lamp again and Rochester was trailing by 9 goals, 11-2. Finally, after a 32:52 scoreless streak, Curtis Knight (1g) finally got one behind Zach Higgins. Hickey knocked in his third of the period before Phil Caputo (1g,1a) ended the scoring with a short-handed goal.

The excitement, however, was far from over and a series of scrums broke out. The first was at the 11:54 mark and saw Philly’s Alex Pace and Ian Llord each getting four minutes for roughing and the visitors also got four minutes given to Paul Dawson and Shawn Evans.

Just thirty seconds later, Rochester was at it again when Philly’s Josh Currier was whistled for a two-minute hold, Thomas Whitty and Julian Garritano both jumped in on Currier. Garritano was called for 2 minutes for instigation, 5 minutes fighting, and a game misconduct while Whitty was banged for two minutes unsportsmanlike and a 10-minute misconduct. Finally, at 13:42 Dan Michel and Dylan Evans double-teamed Blaze Riorden which resulted in a double minor for Riordan and single minors to Michel and Evans.

Dis and Dat: in all, a total of 35 offenses were whistled for 104 minutes. Rochester, feeling the effects of frustration came away with 76 of the minutes. Zach Higgins was very good stopping 37 of the 41 shots he faced, The Khawks had an astounding 30 shots off the goal. Steve “Deep” Fryer was very good in the first period and turned in 45 saves on the 57 he saw. Rylan Hartley played the final 4:53 and stopped all three shots. Loose Balls heavily favored the victors, 72-45 and Trevor Baptiste was Trevor Baptiste and won 15 of 20 faceoffs. The Power play had Philadelphia going 7 of 12 and Rochester 2 of 4 with a shorthanded strike.

Post Game Interview with Head Coach Paul Day

By: Kevin Neibauer

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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.

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