NLL exhibition series exposes strengths and weaknesses

By Craig Rybczynski

ROCHESTER – The Rochester Knighthawks used an explosive first half to edge the Georgia Swarm 17-15 in their preseason finale tonight at Connors & Ferris Field at The Blue Cross Arena.

“It was great,” said Knighthawks rookie Kyle Jackson, who finished off the night with six points (1+5). “It was good to get my feet wet in this facility and kind of jump into things and come out with the win.”

In a game loaded with young talent, it was the Knighthawks rookies who made the biggest impact. Rochester was led by Jackson’s six-point night, while fellow rookie Josh Currier scored four times in the first two quarters to give Rochester a 14-5 halftime lead. Dan Lomas, who was selected after Jackson and Currier in the 2016 NLL Entry Draft, scored twice and chipped in one assist. Not to be outdone, Luke Laszkiewicz notched two goals.

“It was exciting,” said Currier. “It was nice to be able to contribute to a win. The guys were talking about how they hadn’t had a preseason win in a few years, so it was nice to help out with that. I’m adjusting to the pro game. It’s a lot faster which fits my style pretty well, so it’s been a lot of fun so far and I’m really liking the pace.”

The balanced Knighthawks’ offence also got a four-point night from Jarrett Davis (2+2), Joe Resetarits (1+3) and Wayne Van Every. Davis, who signed this afternoon just hours before the team hit the turf, was playing in his first game as a Knighthawk since winning the 2012 Champion’s Cup at The Blue Cross Arena.

“It felt great,” said Davis. “It was kind of an easy transition with the guys that were here from last time and the coaching staff. It brought back some old memories but there’s something special about being back. It felt good to contribute early. I wanted to play more of an up-tempo game because we start the season in a couple of weeks so this was our last chance to fine-tune what we have going on.”

Georgia was first to get on the board 3:22 into the game, but it was all Knighthawks for the remainder of the first half of the game. The Knighthawks scored nine unanswered goals between the first and second. Georgia chipped away to come within three but two fourth-quarter goals from Kevin Ross and Lomas were enough to keep Rochester ahead for the rest of the game.

For the Knighthawks rookies, playing their first game on home turf was a surreal and exciting experience that they hope to be able to replicate on opening night in a couple of weeks.

“The arena is awesome,” said Currier. “I didn’t know what to expect when I came in here but it was really cool and the fans seemed pretty exciting. I can’t wait to see what it’s like when this place is packed.”

“I feel great. Today was a great experience to get out there and see what it was like,” said Jackson. “I got my feet wet for the first time and it’s about to be an exciting season and I’m thrilled to get started in a couple weeks.”

Jackson led the Knighthawks in the preseason scoring, finishing with 13 points (4+9). Resetarits finished second with six goals and five assists, while Currier connected for seven points (6+1) in two games.

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