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KNIGHTHAWKS RALLY TO RETURN TO FINALS
05/04/2013 - 6:43pm

Rochester will play Washington Saturday for NLL Championship
 
(May 4, 2013)... The Rochester Knighthawks will travel west to defend their championship after defeating the Minnesota Swarm 12-10 in the East Division Final on Saturday afternoon at The Blue Cross Arena.
 
The Knighthawks are looking to become the first team to repeat as National Lacrosse League champions since the Toronto Rock won back-to-back titles in 2002 and 2003.
 
The Knighthawks will play the Washington Stealth in the 2013 NLL Championship Game on Saturday, May 11th at 7:00 p.m. The game will be played at the Langley Events Centre in Langley, BC and will be televised live on CBS Sports Network.
 
 “We knew at the end of the season that we put ourselves in that predicament that we wouldn’t be able to host,” said 2012 Champion’s Cup MVP Cody Jamieson. “It feels good to be back in the championship game. I wouldn’t say we’re defending last year’s championship because our name plate is never coming off. I’m looking at it as another shot of putting our name plate on there.”
 
The Swarm took their only lead of the game with four consecutive goals bridging the third and fourth quarters. Minnesota’s fifth straight goal, scored by Matt Gibson, was overturned after a successful challenge by Rochester head coach Mike Hasen. The shift in momentum was all the Knighthawks needed to spark the come-from-behind victory.
 
“We’re a veteran team; we’ve got a lot of guys who have been through these battles before,” Hasen said. “We just kept our composure. We knew that if we stick to it, we honestly did believe. Say what you will, but the 26 guys in this dressing room do believe every time we step on the floor we are going to do good things.”
 
Down 9-7 midway through the fourth quarter, the Knighthawks rattled off five unanswered goals in a span of 5:24 to gain an insurmountable lead. Johnny Powless and Craig Point drew the game even before Jamieson, who was a game-time decision with a leg injury, scored the eventual game-winner.
 
“I knew pretty much after I missed the end of last week, I was going to do whatever it took to get back in,” Jamieson said. “It was tough not being able to run around and shoot around and have to stay off of it all week. Whatever I had to do, I did it.”
 
With 1:40 remaining and a 10-9 lead, Point scored his fourth goal, tying his single-game high. Only 26 seconds later, Jimmy Purves scored unassisted to go up 12-9.
 
“They just said at the start of the game we need our veteran guys to step up if other guys can’t,” said Point, who was named the 2008 Rookie of the Year with the Swarm. “I know all year this year I haven’t played that much, but I’ve been working hard and our team’s been working hard at practice. Come the weekend, we come to work hard every time. It pays off.”
 
Powless, who finished with a hat trick after being held without a goal in the previous two games, scored twice to give the Knighthawks an early lead in the first quarter. Rochester native Joe Walters added a goal of his own 20 seconds later to put Rochester up 3-0.
 
Matt Vinc, who won his third Goaltender of the Year Award earlier in the week, held the Swarm scoreless in the opening quarter. Although he finished with a season-low 25 saves, Vinc credits the defenseman in front of him for limiting the Swarm to only 35 shots on goal, tied for the fewest he’s faced all season.
 
“We didn’t want it to get out of hand like it did last weekend in Toronto,” Vinc said. “I think we did a great job dictating our pace of the game. They have a lot of great athletes and we didn’t want them to get the momentum. They did there for a little bit in the fourth, but we responded well.”
 
The Swarm scored five of the seven goals in the second quarter and tied the game at 5-5 before halftime. Point scored Rochester’s only goals of the quarter at 6:35 and 9:10, but Ryan Benesch and Jordan MacIntosh scored respectively in the final minute of the half to tie the contest.
 
Dan Dawson and Mike Accursi each scored once to take a two-goal cushion, but Benesch cut the deficit to 7-6 with his third of four goals.
 
Jamieson finished with a team-high five points (1+4) for the Knighthawks, followed by four points from Point (4-0) and Powless (3+1).
 
“That’s the one thing we preach every time; it’s not going to be on [Jamieson’s] shoulders, it’s not going to be on Dawson’s shoulders, it’s got to come from everybody,” Hasen said. “Tonight was [Point and Powless’] turn. That’s what we need every night.”
 
In a similar fashion as the 2012 season, the Knighthawks built off a slow start to the regular season and began playing their best lacrosse in the playoffs, and now have a chance to win their fourth title in franchise history.
 
“Going there for a second year is pretty hard, I know that,” Point said. “It takes a lot out of you working all week and working out, then going on the weekends. You don’t get too much of a break. But once you hold that Cup up in the end like we did last year—and hopefully we can repeat it—it feels awesome.”
 


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