With Cory Vitarelli scratched and Cody Jamieson leaving with a lower-body injury in the second quarter, former Wing Dan Dawson led the charge against his old club. He matched his season-high with four goals, which he scored in a 20-10 victory over Philadelphia on February 8th, and scored a game-high six points (4+2). Dawson surpassed Mark Steenhuis for seventh all-time in postseason goals with 43.
"(Dawson) is a veteran guy and he likes the ball in his stick, and he dictates the pace of the game," said Rochester Head Coach Mike Hasen. "When 'Jammer' went down, we needed that guy to be there for us, and Dawson stepped up for us."
Dawson sandwiched a pair of goals around an unassisted goal from Joe Walters to give Rochester a 3-0 in the first quarter. Goaltender Matt Vinc turned back the Wings on each of their eight first-quarter shots to preserve the early lead. Vinc finished with 29 saves on 37 shots.
Philadelphia responded with four of the next five goals in the first 5:11 of the second quarter. Twenty-three seconds after Jamieson scored his only goal of the game, Drew Westervelt cut the deficit to 4-3. He then scored a shorthanded goal 1:15 later to draw the game even at 4-4.
Dawson scored two unanswered goals, the first on the power play, to regain a 6-4 lead heading into the locker room.
Philadelphia forward Kevin Crowley scored twice in the third quarter, his first on the power play and the latter unassisted. Only 21 seconds into the fourth quarter, Brendan Mundorf netted his second goal to tie the game at 7-7.
With an 8-7 lead, the Knighthawks killed a two-minute minor on Scott Self and then rattled off two goals in a span of 1:01. Paul Dawson went the length of the floor to score the game winner with a diving shot, followed by an insurance goal from Mike Accursi.
"We had numbers so then I kind of ran it up," Paul Dawson said. "Their guy left me at first, so I went to take the shot and then he came up to play me so that's when I ducked underneath. I threw a little bit of a fake and (Brandon) Miller went down. I knew I was close to the crease so I dove and tried to get it over top of him."
"We'll take it," Hasen said. "It was a good lift, specially coming from a defensive guy. Our defense stood tall and it was nice for Paul to get rewarded there."
Although the Dawson brothers were facing their former team for the first time in the playoffs, according to Dan Dawson, there wasn't any additional pressure to win.
"It's just another game for us, and I know I speak for Paul and I when I say that," said Dawson about playing his former team. "I had some great memories while we were in Philadelphia. Obviously we were on the other end of that last year."
The Knighthawks will face the winner of Sunday's matchup between the Minnesota Swarm and the Toronto Rock. Last season, Rochester earned its first playoff win inside the Air Canada Centre to advance to the championship game.
"I'm going to key in and probably DVR-it on TSN and hopefully see some tendencies," Vinc said. "The thing is about being a goalie is that as soon as you win one game you're onto the next, and right now I'm thinking about the opponents for next week."