2014 preview: Rochester Knighthawks

Knighthawks

I guess you could say the Knighthawks had a successful 2013 season despite their mediocre 8-8 record. I’m going to go out on a limb and and call back-to-back Championships “successful”. I’m sure they’d like another 12-4 or 11-5 season but as long as they get into the playoffs, perhaps they don’t really care. After an off-season of minimal change, I see no reason why the Knighthawks won’t have another successful season in 2014, but will it be as successful as the last couple? Last season, Rochester became the fourth NLL team to win consecutive Championships, joining Buffalo, Philly (twice), and Toronto (twice). Can they become the first team to do it three straight years?

2013 season summary

Record 8-8 (2nd in East)
Home 3-5
Away 5-3
Goals for 179
Goals against 165
Top scorer Cody Jamieson (89)
Playoffs Division semi-finals: Beat Philadelphia 10-8
Division finals: Beat Minnesota 12-10
Finals: Beat Washington 11-10

Roster changes

Almost none. Only two players on the announced roster weren’t on the Knighthawks last season. Angus Goodleaf begins the season on the PUP list, so the Knighthawks brought Mike Thompson out of retirement as Matt Vinc’s backup. GM (and owner) Curt Styres also signed former Knighthawk Mac Allen from the Mammoth as a restricted free agent. Allen is formerly one of the league’s top defenders and was named to the All-Star team in 2011, but only played in a total of six games in 2012 and 2013 due to injury. If he’s healthy again, Allen will be a welcome addition to an already strong defensive core.

But one of the players missing from last year’s roster is surprising. Mike Accursi is 11th all time in scoring, and only needs 11 points to tie the now-retired Blaine Manning. But he can’t do that if he’s playing on the Boston Blazers (or sitting in the front office, as it turns out). Rory Glaves, Matt Hummell, Jimmy Purves, and Jon Sullivan were also released by the Knighthawks.

Burning question

In my opinion, neither the 2012 Knighthawks nor the 2013 Knighthawks were the best team in the league, but they have two Championships in those years so that’s arguable. Obviously “Can they do it again” is question one. But right behind that is this: How much better can Matt Vinc possibly get? Will the Goaltender of the Year award be Vinc’s to lose for each of the next five years? Or more?

Look out for

Joe Walters. It’s going to be hard to stand out when you play with the likes of Dan Dawson and Cody Jamieson. But hometown boy Walters played very well in their exhibition game against the Rock, and could emerge as their #3 scorer.

Prediction

First in the East.

Haiku

Second straight season
Knighthawks are defending champs
Gonna try for three

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One thought on “2014 preview: Rochester Knighthawks

  1. Pingback: 2014 NLL Predictions | NLL Chatter

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