The Rochester Knighthawks’ two-game winning streak came to an end tonight with a 15-7 loss to the Toronto Rock at the Air Canada Centre. The Rock locked up a playoff spot in the East Division with the victory and secured second place with the Buffalo loss to Orlando.
The Bandits loss helped Rochester(7-8), but Boston defeated Colorado late Friday night 9-7 to deny the Knighthawks a playoff spot for now. Rochester can still clinch their 15th postseason appearance with a win next Saturday at Washington or a Buffalo loss to Boston.
The Rock (9-7) were been led by six-points effort from Blaine Manning (3+3) and Stephan Leblanc (4+2). Bob Watson was stellar in goal, making 39 saves. The Knighthawks fell to 7-8 and into a tie with the Buffalo Bandits for the fourth and final playoff spot in the East. John Grant Jr. led the Knighthawks with five points (2+3) and Craig Point netted three goals to reach the 30-goal plateau for the first time in his career. Aaron Bold made 20 saves and Pat O’Toole stopped 14 shots.
Toronto erased an early 2-0 Rochester lead with seven straight goals and ended the half with nine of the last 10 goals. Joel McCready opened the scoring at 3:41 of the first from Grant and Shawn Williams. Grant then made it 2-0 when he beat Watson to the near post at 6:01. The Rock responded with two of their own on two tallies from Blaine Manning. Manning then set up the third goal of the contest from Mike Hominuck at 14:06. The Rock made it 4-1 just 11 seconds later when Garrett Billings (1+3) scored off a scramble in front of Bold.
Toronto strung together three more goals as part of a 7-0 run. Mike Hobbins did most of the damage with two of the three goals. Leblanc sandwiched a goal in between Hobbins’ goals. Point cut the lead to 7-3 with his single-season best 28th of the season. That was preceded by the pulling of starter Aaron Bold. Pat O’Toole allowed two goals down the stretch and the Rock took a 9-3 edge into the third.
Colin Doyle netted his first of the game on a highlight-reel goal 59 seconds into the third as he backhanded a shot from his waist to the far pipe. Creighton Reid increased the lead to 11-3 with a breakaway goal at 5:13. Leblanc scored his second of the night at 6:25 to make it 12-3. Point answered for Rochester as he ripped home his second of the contest at 13:23 to get Rochester to within 12-4. The goal broke a 20:17 scoreless streak by Watson. Grant assisted on the power-play goal. Leblanc, however, scored his third of the contest for a 13-4 lead at the end of three quarters. That goal brought Bold back into the game to replace O’Toole.
The fourth quarter opened with Grant’s second goal of the contest as he beat Watson at 1:55 while shorthanded. Steve Toll then scored the second straight shorthanded marker for the ‘Hawks to make it 13-6. Toronto put the game away by scoring two of the last three with Point scoring his third of the contest.
The Rochester Knighthawks remain on the road to battle the Washington Stealth on Saturday, April 24th at 10:30 p.m.