BRAD SELF STEPS UP IN THE CLUTCHMay 19, 2015
By Andrea Chevalier -- The Rochester Knighthawks have always taken pride in each player’s ability to step up to contribute at the most critical times. During Game One of the National Lacrosse League’s East Division Finals, it was transition man Brad Self who stepped up in more ways than one, leading the Knighthawks to a 10-9 victory over the Toronto Rock on Saturday.
Not only did Self set a new career-high with eight playoff points in two games, but he also put up a personal-best six points (3+3) against the Rock. He wasn’t done there, though. The 34-year-old went on to scoop up a game-high 16 loose balls en route to the victory.
“Guys stepped up tonight,” said Self after the game. “I was fortunate enough to bury the ball. We got some bounces that went our way and we’re just going to have to continue to step-up next Saturday night.”
Self’s first goal, which came 12:09 into the first quarter, gave the Knighthawks a 2-1 lead, their first lead of the night. The Rock would come back to tie the game four more times, but Rochester would never let them take back the lead.
The second of Self’s hat trick performance came just one minute into the second quarter, giving the Knighthawks a three-goal lead. He completed his three-goal night with a breakaway goal in the final frame, which gave Rochester another single-goal lead (8-7).
“(Self) was very good tonight,” Knighthawks head coach Mike Hasen said after the game. “Sometimes we’ve got to focus on holding the back end first and he did that with spades tonight. Then he chipped in on the front end which is great to see for us. (But) it’s not on one guy to do it for us. It’s on 16 guys to step up each and every shift. Everyone played their roles and it was nice to see the win.”
Toronto fought back to tie the game once more before the end of the fourth, but with 36 seconds left, forward Dan Dawson secured the Knighthawks’ victory. Though Dawson scored the game-winning goal, he says Self was the true all-star of the night.
“He definitely was our MVP,” Dawson said. “‘Silky’s’ goal up there, three times, it was unbelievable.”
Even after a stellar Game One performance, Self is only looking at the bigger picture — working hard to move on to the Champion’s Cup Finals. He knows that even with the win, the team still needs one more victory to advance to the next round.
“We’re a championship team, but this year is a new year,” Self said. “We have a lot of guys who have played a lot of lacrosse and have been in these games before. Obviously, it’s going to go back and forth. There are runs in lacrosse games and it was nice to come out on top.”
The East Division Finals will shift to the Air Canada Centre in Toronto for Game Two of the East Division Finals on Saturday, May 23rd. Faceoff is at 7:00 p.m. A Game Two win for the Knighthawks means the team will move on to the Champion’s Cup Finals. If the series is tied at the end of the second game, Toronto and Rochester will play a 10-minute mini-game to decide which team will continue on to the Finals.