Before the game, Rochester Knighthawks forward Eric Fannell was asked what he wanted for his birthday.
“All I want is a win,’” he said emphatically.
On Sunday, Fannell helped fulfill his birthday wish as he posted career highs in assists (four) and points (six) in a 17-10 win over the Georgia Swarm at Infinite Energy Arena. The Ohio State product also tied his career high with two goals.
“We were able to come out here, firing on all cylinders, and played a very complete game,” he said. “It was a complete team win and it was a great feeling.”
The 17-goal output was Rochester’s second of the season, as eight players scored goals Sunday. The win evened the season series against the Swarm at one win apiece and moved the Knighthawks within a half-game of fourth-place Georgia, who lost back-to-back games this weekend.
The play of Cody Jamieson was one of the keys to the Knighthawks’ win. “Jammer” broke out and scored a season-high four goals and tied his season high with six points. It was evident that Jamieson benefitted offensively from the addition of Fannell on the left side.
“The shots fell. Every game I get my shots, but it’s frustrating when they don’t,” he said. “They fell today. We got Fannell in (the lineup) and he did a great job setting hard picks. We are gaining some chemistry and that helps.”
Jamieson scored four times on seven shots, which included three during a 7-0 run that erased a 4-3 second quarter deficit. During that stretch in the middle two quarters, Jamieson assisted on Fannell’s second of the contest, which gave the Knighthawks a 7-4 lead.
“He is one of the best lefties and one of the best players in the world,” said Fannell. “He is so smart out there. If he gets an open shot, it’s pretty much going in every time. It is easy playing with him because he is never selfish with the ball.”
After Jamieson made it 8-4 in the third, Joe Resetarits had the goal of night, and possibly the year. He grabbed a loose ball behind the goal, leapt from one side of the net to the other, and dunked a one-handed shot past Mike Poulin. The goal at 3:31 of the third gave the Knighthawks a 9-4 advantage.
Resetarits, who tied his career high with four goals on Saturday, did even better on Sunday. He dished out a career-high seven assists and reached eight points in a single game for only the second time in his career.
Rookie Austin Shanks also had a career outing with one goal and six assists for seven points.
“The offense was working well together,” he said. “We just swung the ball, worked hard and scored goals. No one was selfish and we were hitting our shots tonight.”
Rochester’s offense continued to pour it on, netting seven goals in the fourth quarter. Cory Vitarelli scored a pair of goals in the final frame to go along with three assists, which tied his single-game best. Quinn Powless, who was making his season debut, also had a two-goal effort, ripping in his final tally at 6:33 of the fourth to make it 15-8.
Kyle Jackson tied his season high with four goals and five points. Jackson’s first goal of the night gave Rochester a 3-1 lead as he squeezed a shot between Poulin’s arm and the near post. He would tack on another in the second and two in the fourth.
Billy Dee Smith, who played in his 200th NLL game today, summed up the win.
“It’s huge for us,” he said. “It’s definitely going to be a turning point. I think we were close the last four games. We just didn’t have the little things that it took to win. Moving forward, we all knew what it took to win this game.”
The Knighthawks will return to action on Saturday, Feb. 17, as they host the Saskatchewan Rush at 7:30 p.m. at Connors & Ferris Field at The Blue Cross Arena.