The Rochester Knighthawks defeated the Saskatchewan Rush, 13-8, Saturday night to even the best-of-three National Lacrosse League Finals. Game Three is set for 9:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 9.
“We knew what we had to do here tonight,” said Knighthawks head coach Mike Hasen. “We’ve been there, done that. They’re a team that starts very, very well. Both games we beat them they started off with a bang, so we knew we just had to get through that and do what we needed to do. We were rewarded tonight.”
Josh Currier tied his career high with four goals as he led Rochester with a six-point effort. Cody Jamieson put up a pair of goals and added two assists, while Graeme Hossack had a two-goal night and added an assist. Brad Gillies, Austin Shanks, Cory Vitarelli, Kyle Jackson and Eric Fannell all pitched in with single goals.
“That’s how it’s been all year,” said Currier. “Someone steps up each night. But what’s most important is we got the win, and that’s what I’m happy about.”
Despite the game opening up with the Rush going up by two early in the first, the Knighthawks quickly regrouped and responded. Currier found the net first for the Knighthawks 7:38 into the game to spark what would turn into a three-goal run for the teal and purple. Hossack and Fannell also added first-quarter markers to give the Knighthawks a 3-2 lead.
Momentum continued to be in Rochester’s favor as the team scored five times in the second to take an 8-4 lead at halftime. The defense and Matt Vinc, who finished with 47 saves, put up a stellar performance to hold the Rush to just one goal in the second quarter.
“I was just trying to make one save at a time,” said Vinc. “I think the team did a good job digging out of an early hole. That’s the game we’ve played all year though. When one guy is down the other is there to bail us out.”
Rochester posted three straight goals between the third and fourth quarters and added two single markers to solidify the victory on home turf. The win extended the Knighthawks’ league-record home playoff winning streak to 15 games.
Next Saturday, Rochester will hit the road as it travels to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan to play in the final game of the series.
“We have to approach next week like we’ve approached all year,” said Vinc. “I’ve got to go out there and try to make the first save, stay level-headed and calm in there. If we do that, we’ll have the opportunity to play a good game and come out on top.”