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KNIGHTHAWKS-WINGS’ RIVALRY HEATS UP
02/22/2013 - 12:07pm

By Travis Larner -- The Rochester Knighthawks will look to make it 11 straight over Philadelphia when they host the Wings on Saturday, February 23rd at The Blue Cross Arena.

The Knighthawks defeated the Wings 20-10 in their first tilt on February 8th, which stills hold the National Lacrosse League’s 2013 record for most goals scored in a single game (20) and the largest margin of victory (10).

On February 9th, following the win in Philadelphia, the Knighthawks beat the Buffalo Bandits handedly, but dropped a decisive 10-6 decision to Buffalo last weekend. Rochester Head Coach Mike Hasen wants to be sure the same doesn’t happen in the rematch against the Wings.

 “We know Philadelphia’s a good team,” Hasen said. “I think we caught them on a bad afternoon I guess. We know they’re going to be better just like Buffalo was a lot better last week against us.”

“Regardless of who you are playing, whether or not you beat them before, big or not, you got to be ready for the weekend ahead,” added Rochester transition player Brad Self.

The 10-goal victory over Philadelphia was a break out game for the Rochester offense, scoring more than half of their goal total from the first four games of the season combined. During their loss on February 16 to Buffalo, the offense seemingly disappeared again as the Knighthawks only mustered six goals.

“[Buffalo’s] defense and [goaltender Anthony Cosmo] played extremely well and took us right out of our rhythm,” Hasen said. “We couldn’t get back to what we were successful with the week beforehand.”

Despite the up and down season by the offense, Hasen felt the defense’s performance gave the team an opportunity to defeat Buffalo.

“You hold any team to 10 in this league, you expect to be on the right side of the end of the game,” Hasen said.

Rochester’s defense is statistically one of the best in the NLL. The Knighthawks have league-best 10.14 goals-against average and .812 save percentage. The defense is also tops in penalty killing, holding opponents scoreless on 66.7 percent of their man-down situations.

“Defensively, we just got to make sure we keep doing our job,” Hasen said. “The offense is going to click and they are going to come out and score bunches for us. We just got to worry about the back end first and foremost.”

Former Philadelphia forward Dan Dawson scored a season-high 11 points (4+7) against Philadelphia in their first meeting. Last week, he scored his 900th career point with a fourth-quarter goal against Buffalo. While Dawson was able to spoil his homecoming for fans in Philadelphia, former Knighthawk Jordan Hall hopes to do the same in Rochester. Hall was part of the six-player, two-pick deal that brought the Dawson brothers to Rochester.

“I definitely want to go out there and have a good performance,” Hall said. “I think Dan Dawson looked at it that way (in his first game in Philadelphia) because he put up 11 points against us. I definitely want to have a homecoming that maybe is upsetting for some of the Rochester fans.”

Rochester and Philadelphia can be seen live on the NLL on YouTube via The Lacrosse Network on Saturday, February 23rd at 7:30 p.m.  The game can also be heard live on Sportsradio 950 ESPN and www.sportsradio950espn.com.


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