New England Black Wolves (8-8) at Rochester Knighthawks (5-10)
At Blue Cross Arena
Saturday, April 22nd, 7:30 p.m.
Live on NLLTV.com
Last Game: The New England Black Wolves won 13-12 in overtime against the Saskatchewan Rush last week on April 15th. The Rochester Knighthawks fell 13-7 to Colorado on April 15th.
Players to Watch: New England – Kevin Crowley (38 goals, 38 assists) currently leads the Black Wolves this season in goals. He had two goals and two assists in the win over Saskatchewan last week. Shawn Evans (34 goals, 55 assists) leads New England in both assists and points (89). He also had two goals and two assists against the Rush. Kevin Buchanan (21 goals, 43 assists) ranks second on the Black Wolves this season in assists and third in points (64). He added one goal and three assists in the game.
Rochester – Kyle Jackson (24 goals, 31 assists) leads Rochester this season in both goals and points (55). He had one goal and one assist in last week’s loss to Colorado. Joe Resetarits (21 goals, 32 assists) leads the Knighthawks in assists, and ranks second in goals and points (53). He also had one goal and one assist against the Mammoth. Dan Dawson (11 goals, 30 assists) is third on the team in assists and points (41). He added one goal and one assist in the game.
- Shawn Evans (six goals, 11 assists), Reilly O’Connor (three goals, six assists) and Kevin Buchanan (five goals, three assists) have been the top performers for the Black Wolves in the three games played against Rochester this season.
- Kyle Jackson (nine goals, 12 assists), Joe Resetarits (three goals, 10 assists), Josh Currier (five goals, five assists) and Dan Lomas (three goals, seven assists) have led the Knighthawks in scoring in the three games played against New England this season.
- New England is 6-2 this season in one-goal games.
- Jay Thorimbert surpassed 1,300 career loose balls (1,302) last week against the Rush.
- Chad Culp needs one point to reach 500 career points. He also had a season-high three assists against Rochester on January 7th.
- Shawn Evans needs four points to reach 1,000 career points. He currently ranks sixth in the NLL in points this season (89).
- Kevin Crowley is one goal shy of 200 career goals, one assist shy of 250 career assists and two points shy of 450 career points. He set a career-high for single-season goals (38) against Saskatchewan.
- Kevin Buchanan set a career-high for single-season points (64) last week. Back on March 17th, he tied his season-high with four goals against Rochester. Last week was also his 10th game with three or more assists this season.
- Kyle Buchanan needs one more goal to set a career-high for single-season goals (30). He also needs seven points to set a career-high for single-season points (69). He recorded his fourth hat trick of the season against the Rush.
- Reilly O’Connor had a career-high six assists against the Saskatchewan, tying his career-high in points (six). He also set a career-high for single-season points (42).
- Evan Kirk needs two saves to set a career-high for single-season saves (621).
- Cory Vitarelli had a season-high three assists against Colorado last week.
- Kyle Jackson ranks second in the NLL in goals (24), assists (31) and points (55) this season. He also set the league game-high with a career-high nine assists against the Black Wolves on January 7th. He also leads all rookies this season in power-play goals (nine).
- Josh Currier is third in the league in rookie goals (18) and points (35).
- Rochester scored a league-high nine power-play goals against New England on January 7th.
- Matt Vinc is ranked third in the NLL in goals against average (11.12).
- The Knighthawks are second in the league in penalty killing (.508).
- Rochester is 1-6 when trailing at halftime this season.
New England Black Wolves coach Glenn Clark
“Obviously, a very big win and in a tough place to play. The game itself was pretty exciting – a big win – but also where it puts us in the standings with some of the other results that happened over the weekend. We’re pretty happy with being able to – we’ve talked about this a lot – dig ourselves out of the hole, the 0-3, the 3-6, but now we’re in a position where we certainly can control our fate. I’m pretty proud of that from our team standpoint because it hasn’t been an easy season with all of the one-goal wins and sort of having to play catch-up all the time. It was a huge win obviously, but it was also a huge win considering all the other results that happened on the weekend.”
How about those one-goal victories? 6-2 is a pretty good record in those tight games.
“Yeah, it is. You can look at it a couple different ways, we haven’t been able to separate from teams or we’ve stayed the course. The one thing it does is it gets you used to being uncomfortable because we’re certainly used to playing in close games, which is what you’re going to have down the stretch. I would say that’s one of the benefits of being in all those close games, that it’s not foreign to us. We haven’t been blowing teams out. We know we had to be wired for the whole game for the most part. That’s probably the one benefit to playing in those close games.”
What was the team’s attitude like getting into Saskatoon after the tough loss the week before to Georgia?
“It was more of a hunger for redemption. I mean, we obviously weren’t happy with the Georgia game and we kind of wanted to prove that it was a blip, it wasn’t what we truly were as a team. You don’t get to do that for free, so guys wanted to prove that we certainly weren’t a team that is going to lose by 10 or 11 goals on a consistent basis. I think it was actually good, we knew we were playing in probably the toughest place in the league to play against arguably the best team – they’re defending champs, so until somebody beats them, they’re the champs. I think it was a good opportunity to rebound mentally, physically and everything else. We had to play catch-up in that game, but I think the good thing was that we stayed relatively consistent, we didn’t look for shortcuts on the path to victory. We got a couple breaks down the stretch and took advantage of them. Overall, it was good. It was obviously a good result, but it was good for our mental make-up as well.”
How about the ability to clinch a playoff berth with a win on Saturday, is it tough because you want it so bad?
“No, I don’t think so. I said this last night at practice and I said it after the game. A lot of people don’t want to talk about those kinds of things and whatever else, but I don’t mind. It’s obvious, we win and we get a playoff spot. We can’t hide from that and it’s what we want. You recognize it, you identify it and you go after it. It doesn’t make you any less prepared, under-confident or over-confident, it’s just the reality of what we have to do. It is right in front of us and no games are easy. Rochester is still battling for their playoff lives, so no assumptions will be made. We’re going to put in the work and that’s our goal. We don’t hide from those conversations and we don’t pretend that it’s not important – it’s damn important. I’ve said that to the players. This is why we play. This is what’s in front of us and we’re going after it. We want to win this game, it’s important. I’m not one of these coaches that doesn’t like to talk about it. I mean, it’s obvious. It’s right there, so we’re going after it.”
How difficult is it to play in Rochester?
“It’s a tough building. I think I told you guys this last year or the year before – I had no success as a player there. It’s always a tough building and they’re a good team. The dangerous thing in this league is to record-watch, look to see if a team has a bad record. Every team is capable of beating every team on any given night. I think the guys are smart enough to know that. We certainly are as a coaching staff. We’re not making any assumptions about what this game is going to be like. We’re going into a tough building against a good team where we’re the path to their playoff success. They can still make the playoffs, so this is an important game for them and we understand how difficult it’s going to be.”
Next Game: The New England Black Wolves will close out the regular season as they host the Vancouver Stealth at Mohegan Sun Arena on Saturday, April 29th at 7:00 p.m. For more details, visit www.blackwolves.com