The night also marked Hall of Fame Night for the Knighthawks, with former players Mike Hasen and Jeremy Hollenbeck being inducted in front of 5,656 fans prior to the evening’s game. Hasen is currently serving as the Knighthawks head coach.
Shawn Evans led the Knighthawks with three points (1+2), while Matt Vinc made 32 saves in the defeat. Blaine Manning had six points for the visitors (1+5), while Stephan LeBlanc and Garrett Billings both recorded hat tricks. Veteran netminder Bob Watson made 35 stops for the Rock.
Former Knighthawk Stephen Hoar scored the game’s first goal, collecting a missed pass for an uncontested shot on Rochester’s Vinc. The unassisted goal was scored at 2:58 of the first quarter.
Rochester equalized the game on its first power-play opportunity of the evening, when team captain Shawn Williams fired a shot past Watson. The goal was set up by Evans, who faked a shot on Watson before feeding the ball to Williams.
The two goals were the only ones scored in the first 15 minutes of play.
In the second quarter, Toronto regained the lead after Billings took advantage of a tic-tac-toe passing sequence and beat Vinc from the doorstep. The goal came on the power-play, with assists going to Colin Doyle and LeBlanc.
Yet again, Rochester responded, this time while shorthanded. Cody Jamieson fooled the Toronto defense by pretending to run time off of the penalty, but unexpectedly fed a ball to Jarrett Davis who was streaking to the goal. Davis was able to collect the pass and put in a shot from close range.
Toronto scored on that same special teams effort, with LeBlanc finding a seam past Vinc as he dove across the crease to get the tally and give Toronto a 3-2 lead.
The Rock continued scoring to finish out the half, netting another three unanswered goals in the final 6:20. Kasey Beirnes scored Toronto’s fourth goal, beating Vinc with a quick shot to the upper corner.
LeBlanc then scored again, just 39 seconds later, with assists going to Manning and Glen Bryan.
Finally, with three seconds remaining in the half, Jeff Gilbert scored his first goal of the season on an empty net. Vinc made an attempt to return to the goal, but was unable to get in front of the shot. The goal gave Toronto a 6-2 lead entering the second half.
Toronto opened the second half much like it opened the first, scoring a breakaway goal to continue its hot hand. The unassisted goal was scored shorthanded by defenseman Mike Hobbins.
Hoar added his second of the game just 38 second later, another shorthanded tally for the visitors. Assisting on the play was Manning and Watson, to make it a six-goal streak for the Rock.
Mike Accursi found the back of the net for his ninth goal of the season, with a solo assist going to Evans.
However, any Rochester momentum was dwindled as Billings added his second of the night. The goal was Toronto’s third power-play marker, and Doyle’s second assist.
Manning also got in the goal column for the Rock, finishing an Aaron Pascas feed to make the game 10-3 in Toronto’s favor.
Yet again Toronto closed out the quarter on a goal streak, this one reaching three-in-a-row, after LeBlanc completed his hat trick with about one minute remaining. Doyle was credited with an assist on the goal, and the Rock took an 11-3 lead into the final stanza.
In the fourth, Scott Campbell led and finished a Rochester rush, after he deked a defender and capitalized past Watson.
A few moments later, Accursi added another to cut the Rock lead to six. Jordan Hall recorded his first point of the night with an assist, while Williams was also credited with one.
However, that goal was negated when Creighton Reid collected the ensuing faceoff and took it the length of the floor and beat Vinc.
Billings then tallied Toronto’s second hat trick of the night, giving Toronto a 13-5 lead.
After coming out of the penalty box, Evans took a long pass from Chris Driscoll, and beat his defender for the Rochester goal. The goal proved to be the last of the night, as Rochester was unable to gain any edge on the Rock.
The Knighthawks remain home to host the Edmonton Rush at 7:35 p.m. at The Blue Cross Arena on Saturday , February 26th.