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12/07/2013 - 10:35am

(December 7, 2013)… The back-to-back National Lacrosse League champion Rochester Knighthawks will open the preseason tonight, as they host the Minnesota Swarm at 8:00 p.m. at The Blue Cross Arena. Prior to the contest, the National Lacrosse League will hold the Hall of Fame Ceremony for former Rochester great Pat O’Toole at 7:00 p.m. O’Toole, who is the only member of the Class of 2013, will become the fifth goaltender and 21st member of the league's Hall of Fame.

Winter Coat Drive: The Knighthawks will continue their Coat Drive for the Rochester City School District tonight at their preseason game.Fans who donate a coat will receive a coupon for a discounted ticket to the Knighthawks’ home opener on Saturday, December 28th against Minnesota.

Head-to-Head: The Knighthawks lead the all-time series with a 10-5 record and are 1-0 in the postseason. They have a 6-2 record against the Swarm at home. Rochester defeated the Minnesota Swarm 12-10 for the East Division crown on May 4th to advance to their second straight Champion’s Cup.

Knighthawks News: The Knighthawks enter the 2014 season with an opportunity to become the first NLL team to win three straight league championships. Cody Jamieson became just the second player in NLL history to win back-to-back Championship Game MVP Awards, joining John Tavares, the league’s all-time leading scorer, who did so in 1992 and 1993. He is also the sixth different player to win multiple Championship MVP Awards. Last season, Rochester goaltender Matt Vinc broke the NLL’s single-season save record by making 662 stops. He also finished the regular season with a league-best 10.17 goals-against average and a .803 save percentage. He became the first Knighthawk goaltender to finish a season with over 600 saves and earn a save percentage over .800, breaking both franchise records held by Knighthawks Hall of Fame netminder Pat O’Toole. He and Dallas Eliuk are the only two goaltenders to lead the NLL in saves four times in their careers. Vinc also became the only three-time winner of the NLL Goaltender of the Year Award.

Dangerous Dan: Dan Dawson stands seventh on the NLL’s all-time assist (577) and points (946) lists. He also has 369 goals in 187 games. In the NLL Playoffs, he is second in assists (73), fourth in points (118) and seventh in goals (45). 

Lucky Sevens for Knighthawks Trio: Defenseman Sid Smith, and forwards Dan Dawson and Craig Point have signed seven-year contracts this offseason. Smith is the team captain and a former first overall pick. Dawson, a former NLL MVP, notched 75 points in his first year as a Knighthawk. Point finished the 2013 campaign with 20 points in 10 games, to go along with eight points in three postseason contests.

Minnesota notes: The Swarm are playing their second preseason game in two days after defeating the Colorado Mammoth 14-10 last night. The Swarm have advanced to the divisional finals the past two seasons. In 2013, they earned a spot in the East Division Final after crossing over from the West to replace Buffalo as the fourth seed. Minnesota defeated Toronto 20-11 in the East Division Semifinals to set up a meeting with Rochester in the East Finals. In 2014, Minnesota enters the season as a member of the East Division. The Swarm have reloaded their roster for the impending competition. The Swarm, for the second time in two years, stacked their roster with four first-round picks. Minnesota used its first-round choices to take Logan Schuss (Ohio State) first overall, Jason Noble (Cornell) second overall, Cameron Flint (University of Denver) fourth overall and Scott Jones (UMBC) seventh overall. Schuss finished his career at Ohio State as the school’s all-time leading goal scorer. During his senior season, he notched 44 goals and added 28 assists. This summer, the forward recorded 56 points (29+27) in 12 games with New Westminster.

Next Game: The Knighthawks will travel to Oakville, Ontario to play the Toronto Rock on Saturday, December 14th. Rochester will battle its East Division foes at 7:00 p.m. at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre (TRAC). Rochester will close out the preseason with an 11:00 a.m. scrimmage against Calgary on Sunday, December 15th at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena (ILA). 

Season Opener: Rochester will host Minnesota to kick off the team's historic 20th season on Saturday, December 28th at The Blue Cross Arena. The game is a 7:30 p.m. start and will begin with the raising of the 2013 NLL Championship banner. Tickets are currently available by calling the Rochester Knighthawks’ office at (585) 454-4295.

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