February 12, 2011

Rochester Wins Second Straight at Home

from staff reports

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- After struggling in the National Lacrosse League season's early going, especially at home, the Rochester Knighthawks are within a half game of first place in the East Division following Saturday's 12-10 victory over the Minnesota Swarm. It was Rochester's second consecutive win in as many weeks at Blue Cross Arena.

Despite facing a 10-9 deficit late in the fourth quarter, the Knighthawks rallied back with three unanswered goals. Rochester improved to 4-2 overall, moving into a second-place tie with the Buffalo Bandits and within a half game of the East Division-leading Toronto Rock. The Swarm fell to 3-3 with its second loss to the Knighthawks this season.

Rochester was fueled offensively by Shawn Evans, Shawn Williams, Craig Point and Mike Accursi, who all netted multiple goals tonight. Evans and Point both earned hat tricks, while Rochester netminder Matt Vinc put a stop to 34 shots in the win.

Ryan Benesch, Callum Crawford, and Jamie Shewchuk all struck more than once for the Swarm, while goaltender Nick Patterson posted 39 saves in the losing effort.

After strong goaltending early on at both ends of the field, Rochester opened the scoring at the 7:10 mark. After taking a pass in-stride from Pat McCready, Evans netted his eighth goal of the season, squeaking a shot behind Patterson that just crossed the goal-line. Scott Campbell picked up the secondary assist on the play.

Williams extended the Rochester lead to 2-0 just 3:06 later, snapping a shot from the high slot past Patterson after receiving a pass from Evans, who picked up his second point of the quarter. Jordan Hall also assisted on the tally.

Minnesota quickly evened the game at two with back-to-back goals from Benesch in the closing two minutes of the first quarter. Benesch's goals came off shots from the top of Vinc's crease, with former Knighthawk Aaron Wilson figuring in on each play with assists.

The Knighthawks struck early in the second quarter to take the 3-2 lead at 3:11 on the power-play. Point sent a quick pass to Williams, who fired a shot past Patterson. The initial show went wide left, but bounced back at Patterson, caromed off his back and finally landing in the back of the net.

The Swarm quickly made up for the goal and took the lead less than three minutes later to make the score 4-3. The first came on the power-play at 4:45 from Shewchuk, who netted his sixth goal of the season. Wilson, who picked up his third assist in as many goals, and Mat Giles were both credited with assists. Then at 5:25, Giles would send a pass to Benesch, who shot one past Vinc for his third of the night.

It didn't take long for the K-Hawks to take the 5-4 lead and slow down the Swarm's momentum. Campbell made sure of it at 5:33 of the second, less than 10 seconds after Minnesota had previously taken the lead. The equalizer was Campbell's first of the season, with help from Chris Schiller and Sid Smith.

Rochester then took back the lead at 7:49 when Point drilled his first goal and second point of the night past Patterson. Evans and Williams both picked up their third point of the night on the play. The trio would then combine for another goal three minutes later to extend their lead by two. Point scored his 10th goal of the season, making the score 6-4.

The half didn't end without some contact as the K-Hawks' Troy Bonterre and Kyle Laverty both exchanged pleasantries with Rory Smith and Andrew Suitor of the Swarm in the heat of a close, physical battle.

Rochester jumped on Minnesota 50 seconds into the second half with a power play goal by Evans, assisted by Jamieson and Accursi.

The Swarm scored shortly after when Crawford came around the front of the net and slipped the ball in the right corner to make the score 7-5. Minnesota struck again 44 seconds later when Tyler Hass got a pass from Jon Sullivan to score and cut the deficit to one with 12:53 remaining in the quarter.

Eighteen seconds later, Point received a pass at the point from Williams to extend the lead to 8-6. Rory Glaves also assisted on the play. Shewchuk for Minnesota scored his seventh goal of the season upon a short pass from Wilson, who snuck the ball stick-side past Vinc at 11:50. Crawford also assisted on the play.

After strong goaltending from both sides for about five minutes, Minnesota evened the score at eight with a shorthanded goal by Kevin Ross. It took a booth review to have the goal upheld. The Swarm took the lead 10:13 into the quarter after a power-play goal by Benesch, his 20th of the season, assisted by Shewchuk and Crawford, Crawford's fourth of the game. Minnesota improved upon their lead with an additional power-play goal about a minute later. Crawford faked a shot, ran closer to the net and fired a shot past Vinc. Benesch and Giles picked up the helper on the play.

The Knighthawks rallied back to bring their team back within a single tally with nearly three minutes remaining in the quarter to cut Minnesota's lead to one. Accursi tallied his seventh goal of the season after a pass by McCready. Ian Rubel also assisted. The third quarter drew to a close with a score of 10-9 in favor of the Swarm.

Just over midway through the final quarter, McCready knotted the score at 10 with a shot directly in front of the Minnesota net. Just over a minute later at 9:13, Accursi struck again to pull Rochester ahead by one with his second tally of the evening. After Jordan Hall took the initial shot, Accursi scrambled and scooped up the loose ball, then beat Patterson to make the score 11-10 in favor of the Knighthawks. Evans then extended Rochester's lead to 12-10, earning the hat trick with his third goal of the game at 10:42. Hall and Point assisted.

The Knighthawks' three goals in the fourth quarter went unanswered by the Swarm, leaving Accursi's late tally as the game-winner and the final decision 12-10 in favor of Rochester.

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