April 18, 2009

Rochester Beats Wings for Final Playoff Spot

from press release

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - In a do-or-die game for the final playoff berth, the Rochester Knighthawks defeated the Philadelphia Wings 11-8 on Saturday night at Blue Cross Arena. Rochester clinches the fourth and final playoff berth in the East Division. Philadelphia is eliminated from playoff contention on the final night of the regular season.

Rochester secured the final playoff spot even though they share the same record as Philadelphia, due to having a better winning percentage versus East Division opponents. The Knighthawks face New York in a Divisional Semifinal playoff game on the weekend of May 1st.

"We just could not get it going in the second half, Rochester played a great game," said Head Coach Dave Huntley.

Rochester opened the scoring with a shorthanded goal, but Merrick Thomson responded just as the penalty expired to tie the game. Former Wings legend Gary Gait added a goal late in the quarter to give the Knighthawks a 2-1 lead at the end of one.

The teams continued to battle in the second quarter, but it was the Wings who managed a slight edge. Athan Iannucci scored three second quarter goals to help give his team the advantage. Two Rochester scores had the teams knotted at four, but with three seconds remaining the half the Wings pulled Rob Blasdell for an extra attacker and Mat Giles scored the go ahead goal. Philadelphia took a one goal lead into the locker room with the score 5-4.

Rochester took over in the third quarter. Despite a Wings goal just 33 seconds into the second half, Rochester rebounded and scored four straight from four different Knighthawks. Rochester goalie Pat O'Toole made 10 saves on 11 shots and his team held an 8-6 lead going into the final quarter of play.

The Knighthawks increased their scoring streak to six straight to start the fourth quarter. The Wings were finally able to get on the board behind two consecutive goals by Mat Giles, but they were the final two goals for Philadelphia on the night. O'Toole stopped 46 of 54 shots overall and only allowed three Wings goals in the second half and was the game's MVP.

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