ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The Rochester Knighthawks limited the Washington Stealth to their lowest point total of the season and got a little revenge while they were at it.
The struggling Knighthawks endured a Stealth comeback and held on for a 7-6 win, their first of the season in a defensive struggle on Saturday night.
Washington, which defeated Rochester 13-12 at home in the National Lacrosse League season-opener on Jan. 5, was down 5-2 with 6 minutes remaining in the third period when Stealth forward Rhys Duch scored from the left wing. The goal ended a 3-0 Rochester run and was the first for Washington since Mike Grimes scored a minute into the second quarter.
Two minutes into the fourth period, Grimes scored his second goal on a breakaway to even the score at 6-6. Kyle Sorensen and Chris O’Dougherty joined him on the break, with only Rochester goalkeeper Matt Vinc standing in the way.
“We just snuck in behind them, caught the Rochester guys ball-watching,” Grimes said about the play. “Just kind of a scrambled play, it just bounced to me in the open floor … and it went in the net for me.”
Rochester’s Johnny Powless scored the game-winner 10 minutes into the fourth period before Vinc saved a diving shot attempt in front of the goal by Athan Iannucci. The Knighthawks missed four shots in the final two minutes but picked up three straight loose balls to hold on for the win.
Stealth coach Chris Hall thought his defense performed well, but it was the offense that was lacking.
“We’ve got to create some better scoring opportunities for ourselves five-on-five,” Hall said. “We need to produce more on our offense. Six goals on 48 shots — wow, thats not enough.”
Entering the game the Stealth’s emphasis had been on improving on the power play, and then Brad Self scored a shorthanded goal for Rochester six minutes into the opening period.
After the game, the emphasis was still on the power play.
“Our power play needs work … It’s right around 30 percent and its got to get better,” Hall said. “And the first power play of the game? That happens. It was inexcusable.
“I don’t know how much more we can emphasize that we can’t give those up. It’s a straight-up lack of effort.”
Stealth goalkeeper Tyler Richards had 48 saves in a game where both defenses played well.
“Collectively our defense played well and Richards played great. It was a tight, tight game and they were one better,” Hall said.
“We did some good things on defense, Tyler Richards played unbelievable for us. He was the MVP for us and kept us in the game,” Grimes said.
In the fourth quarter Iannucci followed Duch’s score and Lewis Ratcliff added a goal, bringing the score to 6-5 after a goal by Rochester’s Cody Jamieson.
Ratcliff scored the Stealth’s first goal 6:50 into the first quarter after Rochester’s Self scored the shorthanded goal.
Hall said the Stealth need to improve their power play and five-on-five offense, and will have that opportunity when Washington comes home to play Colorado on Feb. 9.
“After getting off to a 3-1 start, now we’re 1-3 and now we’re .500, other teams are going to start catching us and passing us,” Hall said.
“We need to get back to work and grind it out.”
Knighthawks 7, Stealth 6
Washington 1 1 2 2 — 6
Rochester 2 2 1 2 — 7
1st Quarter—Scoring: ROC – Self Goal (SH) (Vinc) 6:18; WAS — Ratcliff Goal (PP) (Smith, Bucktooth) 6:50; ROC – Vitarelli Goal (Dawson) 13:01.
2nd Quarter—Scoring: WAS – Grimes Goal (Garrison) 1:02; ROC — Keogh Goal 5:36; ROC — Jamieson Goal (PP) (Dawson, Vitarelli) 8:13.
3rd Quarter—Scoring: ROC — Accursi Goal (McCready) 2:24; WAS — Duch Goal (EA) (Grimes) 8:59; WAS — Iannucci Goal (Buchanan, Smith) 11:54.
4th Quarter—Scoring: ROC – Jamieson Goal (PP) (Dawson, Vitarelli) 0:31; WAS — Ratcliff Goal (Iannucci, Salt) 1:10; WAS — Grimes Goal (O’Dougherty, Sorensen) 2:10; ROC — Powless Goal (Walters, Keogh) 5:12.