By Jim Windle / Craig Rybczynski
SIX NATIONS – NLL fans caught an early glimpse of the 2017 Buffalo Bandits, Rochester Knighthawks and New England Black Wolves this past weekend at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena (ILA).
The exhibition games were scheduled to give their respective teams general managers and coaches an opportunity to watch their new hopefuls interact with veteran NLL’ers in a game like situation.
The Rochester Knighthawks dropped a close 12-10 preseason decision to the Buffalo Bandits Saturday afternoon at the ILA in Six Nations. Rochester was led by a six-point night from Dan Dawson (1+5) and three-point efforts from Cory Vitarelli (1+2) and Joe Resetarits (2+1), and rookies Josh Currier (2+1) and Kyle Jackson (2+1).
“Heading into my first game, I was anxious and a little nervous, but I knew I was there for a reason,” said Jackson. “I went out, relaxed and played with confidence. Playing alongside some guys who are my idols is pretty surreal! I am hoping to continue making progress as a player and learning from this tremendous group of athletes.”
Curt Styres, team owner and GM, signed Kevin Ross from the Toronto Rock in exchange for a 2017 fourth-round draft pick and a conditional fifth-round pick in 2018.
It didn’t take long to see his worth, even in exhibition. The newly acquired forward chipped in two assists in one half of play, while Dan Lomas (0+2) added a two-point performance. Matt Vinc got the start in goal, while Angus Goodleaf logged 12 minutes of action.
For his part, newly acquired forward Kevin Ross is thrilled to be playing with a Knighthawks and carries a great deal of respect for the organization and his new teammates.
“I think I can bring a larger body to that left side to help make some room for guys like Cody (Jamieson), carrying the ball,” said Ross. “At the same time, Rochester has undertaken a youth movement as well. I think I can bring a veteran voice, a veteran presence in the locker room. That is a piece of value I can bring to the table.”
The Knighthawks will conclude their preseason schedule on Saturday, Dec. 10 when they host the Georgia Swarm at 8:00 p.m. at Connors & Ferris Field at The Blue Cross Arena. The game will be free for season ticket holders, while general admission seats are priced at $10 for adults and $5 for kids. However, if you bring in a new, unwrapped toy to benefit the Pirate Toy Fund, you will receive a pair of tickets to the game.
The Knighthawks are marking their 31st year of professional indoor lacrosse with an 81-game season, consisting of 18 games per team, and will begin with the start of NLL #FaceOffWknd on Thursday, December 29, 2016. The Rochester Knighthawks will host the Toronto Rock for an East rivalry matchup to kick off the season before the Colorado Mammoth visits the East Division champion Buffalo Bandits on Friday, December 30, 2016 to round out Week 1.
“We took great effort in developing the very best schedule we could for fans and players and are thrilled to unveil the official schedule of games for the 2017 National Lacrosse League season,” said NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz. “The intense matchups and end-to-end, non-stop action each and every week is back in a big way with an improved schedule. With NLL Productions in full swing, we are especially excited to keep fans connected with more content and coverage from around the league than ever before.”