Nov 29, 2017

Vitarelli preseason.jpg(November 30, 2017)… The Rochester Knighthawks will try to remain undefeated, as they take on the East Division rival Georgia Swarm in their preseason finale on Saturday, Dec. 2. The Knighthawks, who enter the contest with a 2-0 record, will host the Swarm at 6:00 p.m. at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena (ILA) in Six Nations.

The game will mark the first time that the 2017-18 team will be in action since the roster was finalized last Friday. Knighthawks head coach Mike Hasen enters the game and the season with renewed confidence after a tough training camp.

“Each one of them had to earn their spot this year,” he said. “They had to come into camp in shape, healthy and ready to go. The compete level and the energy that the rookies brought (was fantastic), and the optimism we have in the room right now is really good.”

The 24th edition of the Knighthawks features 15 returning players from last year’s 20-man roster and newcomers Billy Dee Smith, Eric Shewell, Jake Withers, Austin Shanks and Eric Fannell. The practice squad also includes first-time Knighthawks Greg Longboat, Adam Perroni and Mike Triolo.

With a reloaded lineup, Rochester has played more of an up-tempo style, which has produced two wins during the preseason. The Knighthawks opened their preseason schedule with a 14-7 victory over the New England Black Wolves on Nov. 18. The following day, the Knighthawks earned a 12-8 win over the Buffalo Bandits. 

Rochester has been led offensively by Dan Dawson who has eight assists in two games. Kyle Jackson (2+3), Joe Resetarits (3+2) and Cory Vitarelli (2+3) all notched five points in one game of action. In goal, Angus Goodleaf has made 44 saves in four quarters of work, while Matt Vinc has turned away 33 in three quarters.

On Saturday, the Knighthawks will take on a Swarm club that dropped their lone preseason game, 24-9, to the Saskatchewan Rush on Nov. 18. Playing Georgia will be a good test for the Knighthawks, as they get to face the defending National Lacrosse League champions one week before opening the season.

“We are trying to build some chemistry with the guys that are here,” said Hasen. “It will be a good measuring stick for us going into the season to see where we (measure up) against the defending champs.”

The current Knighthawks’ roster is a great mix of veterans, draft picks and key free agent signings. After just three weeks, veteran defenseman Scott Campbell has already seen the team building some chemistry.

“It’s a great group,” he said. “It’s a good mix of veterans and young guys; we were competing hard throughout training camp and are really starting to gel. 

“I am hearing more chatter and laughs in the locker room and starting to see the accountability developing on the floor. Everyone is pushing together to get better as a group.”

After this weekend, things get real as Rochester opens its season on Saturday, Dec. 9 against the Calgary Roughnecks. Faceoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Connors & Ferris Field at The Blue Cross Arena. Individual game tickets can be purchased online at, by calling 1-800-745-3000, and at The Blue Cross Arena Box Office. If you're interested in discounted group ticket offers or want to learn more about mini-plan and full season ticket packages, call (585) 454-4295 to speak with a Knighthawks representative.

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