Aug 12, 2016

Matthews and Powless.jpg(August 12, 2016)… The Rochester Knighthawks loaded up on righties today as they re-signed forwards Joel Matthews and Quinn Powless to four-year deals. The young forwards are now signed through the 2020 season.

“They both have been working hard this offseason and need to continue to work to get to the next level,” said Knighthawks assistant coach Paul Day. “We need young players to step up and contribute to be successful.”

The 25-year-old Matthews will enter his fourth season in the National Lacrosse League and third with the Knighthawks in 2017. Matthews rejoins a veteran lineup that is poised to take a run at the postseason and the Champion’s Cup.

“This upcoming season is going to be a good one. We are returning a lot of core players,” he said. “This team meshes really well and the chemistry is through the roof. I want this to be my breakout year. I want to show the coaches and the fans that I belong in the league and I can be a contributing member of this team on a regular basis.”

Since becoming a Knighthawk, Matthews has recorded four goals and 11 assists in eight games. His best season came in 2015, when he notched career highs in goals (4), assists (9), points (13) and loose balls (17). He was honored that year as the Knighthawks Rookie of the Year.

“Being a Knighthawk means a lot to me,” said Matthews. “Being a part of a winning organization is something every player wants to be a part of. Curt Styres has figured out a formula and it's working. We have the best fans in the league, and I cannot wait to bring another championship back to Rochester.”

The St. Catharines, Ontario native broke into the NLL in 2014 with the Buffalo Bandits after being selected in the fourth round of the 2012 NLL Entry Draft. Before going pro, Matthews played his collegiate ball at Detroit Mercy, finishing third in school history in goals (61), fourth in points (87) and sixth in assists (26). He also registered impressive numbers during his Junior “A” career, collecting 124 goals and 156 assists in 76 games. The 2010 Second All-Star spent the majority of his five seasons with St. Catharines. Matthews has been successful by bringing grit and passion to the floor every shift. This week, all that hard work paid off as he was rewarded with a new contract.

“Signing the longest deal of my career makes me feel appreciated,” he said. “I've stayed loyal to this team and I believe in this organization. I want to be here for a long time. I feel it's the right fit for me and I will continue to bring my energy in everything that I do.”

Powless returns for his second season with the Knighthawks. The Six Nations product was acquired by Rochester, along with Mike Manley, on February 12, 2016. Last season, he set career highs in goals (3) and tied his career best in points (7). The 23-year-old forward notched points in three of his first four games with the Knighthawks. He recorded his first point/assist as a Knighthawk on March 18th in an 11-4 victory over the Georgia Swarm.

“I think I fit in well. Toward the end, we were starting to click (on offense),” said Powless. “It’s fun playing with these guys and learning new things. We are starting to grow together as a team.” He rejoins a right side that includes Dan Dawson, Craig Point, Stephen Keogh, Joe Resetarits and Matthews. Playing alongside veterans like Dawson and Point has been an incredible experience for Powless.

“They are good guys on and off the floor,” he said. “They help you if they see something. It’s just building that chemistry together and we have been working on it. Coming into Training Camp, we will have more time to work together.”

Before arriving in Rochester, Powless had one goal, six assists, and 11 loose balls with New England in seven games over two seasons. The former Six Nations Arrows standout was originally selected by the Black Wolves in the first round (eighth overall) of the 2014 NLL Entry Draft. He won a Minto Cup in 2014 with the Arrows, finishing tied for second in the series in assists (16) and points (22). The championship was the fourth in a four-year run of titles for Powless. He won back-to-back NJCCA championships (2012-13), while playing at Onondaga Community College. In 2011, he won the Junior “B” Founders Cup with the Six Nations Rebels. The following year, he claimed a bronze medal with the Iroquois Nationals at the U19 FIL World Lacrosse Championship.

In 2017, Powless hopes to add a Champion’s Cup to his long list of accomplishments.

“I like where I am. I am growing as a player and developing more,” he said. “I am happy to be here another four years and work toward a championship.”

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