January 8, 2011

Point Lifts Hawks over Swarm in OT

by Travis Larner | NLL.com

The Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., hosted an overtime thriller in the season opener between the Swarm and the visiting Rochester Knighthawks. Rochester's Craig Point scored the game winning goal to complete the hat trick in sudden death for the 11-10 victory.

In a physical game filled with extracurricular activity, the action started with Rochester's Chandon Hill and Minnesota's Andrew Suitor dropping their gloves early in the first quarter, which drew two of the 14 game penalties.

The Knighthawks drew first blood with a goal from Mike Accursi, who was reacquired this offseason after spending a few seasons down Interstate 90 with Buffalo. Another player returning to Rochester, veteran Pat McCready, scored a short-handed goal in the first quarter. Rookie forward Cody Jamieson scored his first career goal with 10:23 remaining in the second quarter. Jamieson was the first overall pick in the 2010 NLL Entry Draft, and signed a 10-year deal with Rochester.

Minnesota went toe-to-toe with Rochester throughout the first half. Swarm forward Andrew Watt scored two unassisted goals in the first period. Watt also recorded an assist on a goal by Callum Crawford, the only goal scored by the Swarm in the second period. Minnesota trailed Rochester 5-4 entering the half.

After the break, Point and 18-year pro Gary Gait added goals, and Rochester extended their lead to 7-4. Watt added another goal for Minnesota, scoring the hat trick. Rochester's Jamieson had many good shot opportunities in the third quarter, and he added his second career goal in the period. After three quarters, the Knighthawks led 8-6.

Minnesota started the fourth quarter with four straight goals, one each from Ryan Benesch and Crawford. After a pair of Rochester penalties, forward Mat Giles added two power play goals to take a 10-8 lead. The Knighthawks answered quickly with two goals within five seconds on their first two shots of the final quarter and tied the game at 10 all.

In his debut with the Knighthawks, goaltender Matt Vinc earned a win and recorded 30 saves. Minnesota's Nick Patterson made 27 saves. Shawn Williams led Rochester with six points (one goal, five assists), while Benesch recorded a team-high five points (two goals, three assists). Next week, the Swarm travel to Washington to face the Stealth, while the Knighthawks host the Toronto Rock.

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