Knighthawks advance to NLL finals

A defensive struggle turned shootout, Rochester tops Georgia 9-8.

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After hosting a playoff win last week in Rochester, the Knighthawks took flight to battle the defending 2017 NLL Champions, the Georgia Swarm.  Like any good tug ‘o war, this one went back and forth, all through the night.

Cody Jamieson was the go-to guy early, giving the K-Hawks a 1-0 lead.  Georgia would tie that up to end the 1st quarter 1-1.  The Swarm would lead early in the 2nd before Jamieson bagged his 2nd of the night, knotted 2-2 at the half.  Interestingly enough, Georgia’s Miles Thompson also scored two for his team.  The 2nd quarter goals came 55 seconds in..and with 55 seconds to go.

The Knighthawks returned to pursuit mode after Randy Staats scored another for the Swarm.  Cody Jamieson recorded a hat trick and Josh Currier put Rochester up 3-2, heading to the 4th.  Luc Magnan assisted on both 3rd quarter scores.  And then the rains came..

A frenzied 4th quarter saw action throughout, five total goals in the first four minutes.  Rochester led 8-4 at that point, four Knighthawks hitting the score sheet for the first time while the Swarm’s Staats logged another.  The next three minutes saw Georgia’s Thompson brothers crash the net, two more goals for Miles and one for Lyle.  With that, the Swarm closed the gap to 8-7.  Rochester’s Austin Shanks scored a minute and change later to move to 9-7, and with 2:10 left in the game, Georgia put another one through for a 9-8 score.  Goalie Matt Vinc and the Knighthawks defense would hold on for the duration, sealing the game and their ticket to the finals, their first appearance since 2014.

With 46 saves this game, Matt Vinc passed Pat O’Toole and Dallas Eliuk on the All-Time Postseason Saves list, now standing alone up top.  For he and the rest of the Knighthawks, they wait to see the results of Sunday night’s tilt between the Calgary Roughnecks and the Saskatchewan Rush.  Rochester will host at least one game in a three-game series; if the Roughnecks advance, the Knighthawks will start at home (and Game 3 if necessary).  Should the Rush top Calgary, Rochester would host a very important Game 2.  Keep an eye on knighthawks.com and NLL.com for updates.

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