Going into Saturday night’s National Lacrosse League Champion’s Cup, one thing was certain — the champion would have a below .500 record in the regular season. The only question was which team would it be, the Edmonton Rush or the Rochester Knighthawks.
In the early going, all signs pointed to Edmonton, but the Knighthawks came staged a furious rally in the second half to claim the franchise’s third championship, winning 9-6.
It was an impressive playoff run for both team’s who came into the playoffs as underdogs, but each reeled off impressive runs to reach the title game.
Edmonton’s Zach Greer scored the game’s only goal of the first period and Edmonton added four more in the second, taking a 5-1 lead into halftime.
Then the Rush ran into Rochester goalkeeper Matt Vinc, who held the Rush scoreless for 26 minutes and 22 seconds of game time. By the time the Rush had scored again, the Knighthawks had turned a 5-1 deficit into an 8-5 lead. Ryan Ward’s goal with six minutes left in the fourth period got the Rush to within two, but Vinc remained stellar down the stretch, keeping the Rush off the board the rest of the way.
Vinc saved 46 of the 52 shots he saw on the night.
Offensively the Knighthawks were led by Cody Jamieson, who scored four goals and added four assists. Seven of his eight points came in the second half. After the game, Jamieson was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
Johnny Powless and Mike Accursi each added two goals for the Knighthawks.
Greer led Edmonton with two goals and two assists.
It was the Knighthawks first championship since 2007 when they defeated Arizona, who folded prior to the 2009 season.
Edmonton lost in its first ever trip to the championship game.