January 19, 2010

NLL: K-Hawks, Rock Set for First-Place Showdown

from press release

The Rochester Knighthawks (2-0) continue their three-game road trip with a stop at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday, January 23rd against the Toronto Rock (2-0). The 7:00 p.m. contest will be broadcast live on The Zone 94.1 FM and thezone941.com <http://thezone941.com> . Fans can also watch the game live on the NLL Network.

The game is the first of three between the two East Division rivals. It should have the feel of the old days of this bitter rivalry with John Grant Jr. (5g, 11a) back in the lineup for Rochester and Colin Doyle (2g, 14a) back with the Rock. The players are tied for second in the National Lacrosse League with 16 points each.

Grant, who missed the entire 2009 season, recorded three goals and five assists last Saturday in the 13-11 win at Buffalo. His third goal tied him with Tom Marechek for fourth in NLL history with 399 goals. Shawn Williams also had two goals and three assists, and Craig Point chipped in four goals and 15 faceoff wins. Williams is now three assists away from 400 as a Knighthawk. O’Toole (6,168 career saves) made 33 saves to climb just 188 saves away from breaking Dallas Eliuk’s league record of 6,356. The win was the 99th of O’Toole’s Knighthawks career, placing him one away from becoming the first Rochester goalie to reach the century mark. The Knighthawks goalie is tied for third in the NLL with an 8.00 goals-against average.

I have the Power:
Rochester is second in the NLL with power-play efficiency, converting nine of 16 chances (56.3 percent). Grant also leads the league with nine power-play points.

Rochester leads the season series with a record of 18-9. The Knighthawks, however, are only 4-9 in Toronto.

Three’s company: Rochester is attempting to open a season 3-0 for only the second time in franchise history. The 1998 Knighthawks opened the season with three straight wins.

Road Warriors: Last season, Rochester was 1-8 on the road, which included a playoff loss. The Knighthawks have already equaled their road wins total from last season and can pass it with a win Saturday.

Rock Notes: Goalie Bob Watson, who is in his 14th season, leads the NLL with a 6.54 goals-against average. Last Friday, the Rock edged the Boston Blazers in overtime to remain perfect. Rookie Garrett Billings netted the game-winner from Doyle and fellow rookie Stephan Leblanc at 6:37. Doyle and Leblanc are first and fourth in the NLL in assists, respectively. Leblanc finished the game with a team-high seven points (2g, 5a). The rookie, who was the 11th overall pick in this year’s draft, has four goals and 10 assists in two games. Toronto has the top two point-producing rookies in the league in Leblanc and Billings (6g, 5a). Doyle is closing in on three milestones this season: 400 goals, 600 assists and 1,000 points. He currently has 386 goals, 595 assists and 981 points. He ranks sixth all-time in goals, second in assists and third in points in NLL history.

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