UNCASVILLE, Conn., Feb. 15 – The Black Wolves are finding deficits hard to make up. New England dropped its third straight game on Sunday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena to defending National Lacrosse League champion Rochester Knighthawks, 15-10, before more than 3,500 fans.
Rochester led 3-0 early only to see the Black Wolves rally. But New England could never take the lead. The score was tied 6-6 at halftime before Rochester outscored the Black Wolves, 9-4 in the second half to secure the win. New England did cut the lead to one, 11-10 but couldn’t move any closer.
Brett Bucktooth had four goals in his season debut, but it was not enough for New England (2-3). Bucktooth, a free agent signing during this past offseason, had been sidelined since the start of the year but made his presence felt as he had a game-high four goals.
“Any time someone can put up four goals, it’s always good,” New England coach Blaine Harrison told NLL.com. “I think he moved his body around, and for a guy who hasn’t played in a long time, it was certainly a nice shot in the arm. I still think we need to have some of our offensive guys being a little more aggressive as opposed to perimeter players, which I think we were tonight.”
Pat Saunders and Kevin Crowley each had a goal and four assists for New England. Crowley leads the team in both goals (12) and assists (17) on the year. Saunders has 11 goals on the season and 12 assists, good enough for second and fourth respectively.
Kevin Buchanan added four assists of his own bringing his season total to 15, which ties him for second on the team.
It was the first of three games in a week for the Black Wolves. New England is at Toronto on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. and they return to Mohegan Sun Arena on Sunday to host Colorado at 1 p.m.
Rochester (4-3) was led by Cody Jamieson and Cory Vitarelli who had three goals and two assists each. Jordan Hall and Dan Dawson both had two goals and four assists on the night. Craig Point had two goals and three assists of his own for the Knighthawks.
The Knighthawks finished in the weekend with two victories. Rochester beat Buffalo, 15-10 on Valentine’s Day.
Against New England, Rochester jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first quarter as both Dawson and Point each had a goal and an assist in the first 8:23 of the game.
The Black Wolves came storming back, scoring three unanswered goals of their own in two minutes to knot the score up at three. Bucktooth scored his first goal in a New England uniform over this stretch while Crowley and Kevin Buchanan each had two assists.
Point would steal the lead back for the visitors as his second goal of the game made the score 4-3 with two minutes to go in the quarter.
Bucktooth tied the score for the Black Wolves at the beginning of the second quarter, but goals by Vitarelli and Jamieson would give the advantage back to the Knighthawks, 6-4. To end the half, Jamie Lincoln scored his seventh goal of the season followed up by a goal by Kyle Buchanan with half a second left on the clock, making the score 6-6 going into intermission.
Rochester outscored New England 9-4 in the second half to take the victory. New England cut it to one goal, 11-10, on Bucktooth’s fourth goal of the game, but the Knighthawks rattled off four unanswered goals to close out the game.
For the Black Wolves, goalie Evan Kirk made 33 saves on 47 shots faced. Goalie Matt Vinc stopped 38 of the 48 shots he faced for Rochester.