The Rochester Knighthawks lost yet another game at the Blue Cross Arena last weekend. Teams are supposed to play better at home but the Knighthawks have posted an abysmal 1-5 record at the BCA this season.
It was a rematch of last year's championship game but this time the outcome was much different. The Edmonton Rush jumped out to an early 5-1 lead in the first quarter and Rochester was forced to play catchup for the remainder of the game. The Knighthawks actually were able to pull within one. Thanks to a third quarter rally, the score was 8-7 Edmonton heading into the fourth and it seemed like anybody's game.
Unfortunately, it was the Rush who held the momentum to begin the final quarter and they were able to score three straight. Rochester did net a pair of late goals, but they didn't really put Rochester any close to tying it up. All the final two goals did was make the score sheet look more respectable. Edmonton won 11-9.
Although the Knighthawks seemed to get the better end of the deal on all of their trade deadline moves (acquiring Purves, Sullivan, and Self), some fans are now wondering whether Curt Styres should have made some moves to improve Rochester's offense instead. Aside from a couple of back-to-back games in Week 6 that now feels like forever ago, Rochester has struggled to score all year. Rochester averages just 10.9 goals per game, down from 11.9 during the regular season last year. If you take away that one good weekend, the average falls to just 9.25 goals per game. It's very hard to win games when your offense scores fewer than 10 goals in a game, no matter how good your goaltending and defense are.
The dreaded sophomore slump has seemed to claim Stephen Keogh as its most recent victim. Keogh was held without a point last weekend. It was the third game in a row that Keogh has not scored a goal, and the second consecutive game he has been completley pointless. After having an impressive 58 points (26G + 32A) during his rookie season, Keogh is only on pace for around 30 this year.
Leading Rochester in scoring against Edmonton was Cody Jamieson with 7 points (2G + 5A). Dan Dawson also played well with 5 points (2G + 3A). Unfortunately, there was no transition game to speak of. Rochester only managed to get 33 shots on goal compared to Edmonton's 47. It was a shooting gallery for Edmonton's big guns. Mark Matthews (3G + 2A) and Zack Greer (4G + 1A) both had hat tricks. Ryan Ward also had a noteworthy performance with 6 points (2G + 4 A).
Rochester's record falls to 4-6 with the loss. What makes things even more concerning is that the Colorado Mammoth have won their last two games. Rochester is just one loss away from having the worst record in the NLL. Colorado and Minnesota both currently share that honor with 4-7 records. Only one team will miss the playoffs and as things stand, that could very well be Rochester unless they are able to turn things around soon.
The Knighthawks have this weekend off and will be back to action, at home, on March 30th against the Toronto Rock.