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JR. KNIGHTHAWKS EARN TRIP TO SEMIFINALS

IMG_0264(August 26, 2017)… Needing one more goal to advance to the Jr. NLL Semifinals, the Jr. Knighthawks turned to their leading scorer, Casey McDermott. And the Brighton High School star delivered in the clutch, scoring the overtime game-winner to give Rochester a 6-5 victory over the Jr. Mammoth.

“I can’t say enough good things about Casey,” said Jr. Knighthawks coach Brad Gillies. “He has been our top offensive guy, and really took charge at the end and carried us to that win. He’s a real hard worker, a great kid, and a gifted scorer.”

McDermott’s OT goal was his fourth of the contest and completed an improbable comeback that began with just 1:37 to play in the second half. Rochester used goals by McDermott and Colby Martin to force the extra session. Martin’s second of the game came with just 36 seconds to play.

The resilient Jr. Knighthawks erased three two-goal deficits Saturday evening at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre (TRAC). The game featured the third-seeded Blue Division Knighthawks and the second-seeded Red Division Mammoth.

The Jr. Mammoth jumped out to a 3-1 lead to open the game before McDermott raced in on goal and ripped a shot to the low pipe at 17:50. In the second half it was more of the same, as Colorado built another lead only to have McDermott respond – twice. He did so at 6:43 and 18:23. With under a minute to play, and the defense keying on him, McDermott side-armed a pass across the crease to Martin, who buried a five-hole shot to tie the game at five.

In overtime, Rochester won the draw and Lukas Stanat drilled a pass to the front of the net. McDermott elevated to grab the pass, and then, in one motion, put a behind-the-back (BTB) shot past the Jr. Mammoth goalie for the winner. McDermott was able to get free because of the hard work of forward Calvin Tourangeau.

“I was on the wing and they were locking me off, and Calvin set a nice pick and mixed them up,” said McDermott. “So I cut right in front of the crease for a pass and went BTB.”

Gage Stevens finished the game with 22 saves as the Jr. Knighthawks Midget team won their third one-goal game of the tournament.

The Jr. Knighthawks (4-1) move on to battle the Jr. Roughnecks at 8:00 a.m. at the TRAC in the Midget Semifinals. In the only meeting of the tournament between the two teams, the Jr. Knighthawks edged Calgary 6-5 to hand the Jr. Roughnecks (3-1) their only loss.

“I am really looking forward to it,” said Gillies. “This has been a great group all weekend. To come out as the lower seed and get the win and advance to the semifinals is exciting. I can’t wait for tomorrow.”