The Rochester Knighthawks (4-5) will look to earn their second win at home tonight as they take on the Edmonton Rush (5-5) for the first time this season. It will be the first meeting between the two teams since the Championship game last year.
Newly acquired defensemen Jimmy Purves and Scott Self will likely be making their Knighthawks debut tonight. Jon Sullivan, however, will not. He was suspended for one game by the National Lacrosse League after things got out of hand at the Colorado/Buffalo game last weekend. He elected to serve the suspension now rather than appeal it and possibly miss a later.
Rochester already has one of the best defenses in the NLL but the addition of Sullivan, Purves, and Self improves it greatly. Purves is a tough guy that has been known to drop the gloves from time to time. This is exactly the type of player that Rochester needs in their lineup. When Johnny Powless is fighting people, you know the team is in dire need of an enforcer.
Scott Self was one of Buffalo's best defensemen. He led the Bandits in loose balls last year with 78. Self has also been known to help out on transition. He has four goals and two assists in ten games with the Bandits this season and had 17 points (6G + 11A) in 16 games last year. Scott is also the older brother of current Rochester Knighthawk Brad Self so look for them to be working together often.
The Rush have made some key additions of their own since they last faced Rochester. Most notably, first round draft picks Mark Matthews and Curtis Knight. Matthews has 46 points and is currently fourth in the league with 28 goals. A key to winning tonight's game will be shutting him down. This will be a good test for the new Rochester defense.
Ryan Ward has also been dangerous for Edmonton this year. After putting up just 57 points all season in 2012, Ward already has 51 points in 10 games. He even set a new team record with 10 points against the Calgary Roughnecks two weeks ago.
Rochester goaltender Matt Vinc could also be a difference maker in tonight's game. Many would say he is the best goalie in the league right now. He leads the NLL in goals against average (10.08), save percentage (.807), and is averaging over 40 saves per game. Considering Matthews alone takes 10-14 shots per game, Vinc will have a lot of saves to make tonight.
The game starts at 7:30 p.m. EDT. Fans who can't make it out to the Blue Cross Arena can watch the action live online via The Lacrosse Network on YouTube.