ROCHESTER – The Rochester Knighthawks used a six-goal fourth quarter to defeat the Vancouver Stealth 12-8 on February 25 at the Langley Events Centre. Defenseman Brad Gillies scored the game-winner with under three minutes to play as the second-year pro finished the night with a career-high two goals.
“It’s a big win for us as we try to get back on track,” said Gillies. “It was a tie game late and to be able to pull that one out is really big for our team.”
Rochester clawed its way back into the contest the entire night, erasing an early three-goal deficit and multiple two-goal deficits. It wasn’t until 7:13 of the fourth quarter that the Knighthawks took their first lead of the contest. That power-play goal was courtesy of Joe Resetarits, who ripped a shot past Vancouver goalie Tye Belanger.
“It was a tough start, but we kept chipping away,” said Knighthawks head coach Mike Hasen. “We took over in the second half and defensively we shut the door. We found a second gear and just kept pushing.”
That effort was evident after the Stealth tied the game at eight with 2:41 to play. Off the ensuing faceoff, Gillies scooped up the loose ball, beat two defenders and squeezed the ball past Belanger to the near pipe to give the Knighthawks a 9-8 advantage. The goal came just eight seconds after a Vancouver tally. Josh Currier, Adam Bomberry and Dylan Evans would add late goals to help Rochester (3-6) secure its third win of the season.
“We needed that big time,” said Evans about Gillies’ winner. “Gillies has been unbelievable all season long. It’s good to see him get rewarded with scoring a big goal.”
Rochester dominated the second half, outscoring the Stealth 8-2. The Knighthawks, backed by a 35-save effort from Matt Vinc, held Vancouver scoreless for 25 minutes over the final two quarters. With the Knighthawks holding an 8-7 lead, Vinc made his biggest save of the night by stopping an inside goal-scoring opportunity by Cliff Smith with 5:56 to play.
Rochester was led offensively by a three goal, one-assist performance from Currier. Kyle Jackson (2+1) and Resetarits chipped in two-goal efforts as Rochester scored seven of the game’s last eight goals. Dan Dawson, Wayne Van Every and Dan Lomas also posted three assists apiece.
“We refused to lose this game,” said Currier. “We came out hard in the second half.”
The Knighthawks ended the first half with a spectacular diving goal from Cory Vitarelli. “Dogger” caught a pass behind the net, dove out and tucked the ball past Belanger to make it 6-4. In the first quarter, Dawson picked up his 365th point to move past Mike Accursi for fourth place on the Knighthawks’ all-time points list. Evans also reached a milestone as he won his 800th career faceoff to become only the second player in team history to achieve that feat.
“It’s just a testament that I am hanging around,” said the seven-year pro. “I am having some success at my job.”
Next weekend, the Knighthawks and Buffalo Bandits will meet twice in less than 24 hours. On Friday, Rochester will take on the Bandits at 7:00 p.m. at KeyBank Center. The following day, the teams will meet at Connors & Ferris Field at The Blue Cross Arena at 1:00 p.m.