Rochester, NY – In a night filled with milestones, the Black Wolves were unable to pull out the victory, falling 15-13 to the Knighthawks on Saturday night at Blue Cross Arena.
Shawn Evans (three goals, four assists) and Reilly O’Connor (two goals, five assists) led the Black Wolves (8-9) with seven points apiece. With 1:58 remaining in the first quarter, Evans assisted on a goal by Kevin Crowley for his 1,000th career point. He is only the eighth player in NLL history to reach the milestone. The goal by Crowley was the 200th of his career.
Chad Culp also reached a milestone with his 500th career point with an assist on a goal by Seth Oakes 2:35 into the second quarter. With 44 saves, New England goalie Evan Kirk now has a career-high and franchise record 663 saves on the year.
Evans got the scoring started just 3:17 into the first quarter, finding the back of the net off a pass from Culp. Rochester’s Dan Lomas evened the score for the Knighthawks just 32 seconds later and Joe Resetarits put Rochester up 2-1 on the power play two minutes later.
Evans picked up his second of the night 8:08 into the quarter and O’Connor followed him 55 seconds later to give New England the lead at 3-2 with 5:57 left in the frame. Rochester would pick up three more to take a 5-3 lead before Kevin Crowley scored the 200th of his career with 1:58 remaining in the quarter.
Rochester would pick up one more to lead 6-4 at the end of the first, but the first 10 minutes of the second quarter would see New England pick up three of their own. Oakes scored 2:35 into the frame on assists from Culp and Evans. Just over two minutes later Matt Spanger picked up his first career goal in transition to tie the score at 6-6 and O’Connor scored his second of the night to give the Black Wolves a 7-6 advantage with 8:03 left in the frame.
The Knighthawks’ Paul Dawson tied the game with 4:31 remaining in the half and Cory Vitarelli put Rochester in the lead, 8-7, with 2:30 left to close out the scoring in the first half.
Rochester took a two goal advantage 3:03 into the third quarter, but Oakes cut it back down to one at 9-8 with his second goal of the night with 11:21 left. Dan Dawson picked up two more to put the Knighthawks up 11-8, but Oakes secured his first career hat trick with 4:52 left in the third and Sheldon Burns scored in transition with 3:15 left to cut the deficit to one. However, Rochester answered with 30 seconds on the clock to close out the third with a 12-10 lead.
Rochester scored again 3:29 into play, but with 10:17 left, Kyle Buchanan scored to pull New England back within two, 13-11. Dan Dawson scored his fourth of the night to put the Knighthawks up 14-11. With 3:26 left to play, Evans buried his third of the night to put the score at 14-12. Crowley picked up his second of the night with 1:22 left to pull the Black Wolves within one. However, Rochester scored on an empty net with 49 seconds remaining to close out the game at 15-13.
The Black Wolves will close out the 2017 regular season at home on Saturday, April 29th against the Vancouver Stealth. Game time at Mohegan Sun Arena is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.