The Rochester Knighthawks' fourth-quarter rally fell short this afternoon as the Colorado Mammoth earned a 16-12 victory at The Blue Cross Arena. The game marked the return of K-Hawks' all-time leading scorer John Grant Jr. and he did not disappoint the "home" fans with an 11-point effort (3+8).
Grant was greeted with a loud ovation before and after the game. He
had an opportunity to publically thank the fans as, in a show of
sportsmanship, Knighthawks' Cody Jamieson let Grant do the postgame
on-turf interview. Jamieson led Rochester with five goals and two
assists. Colorado moved back into sole possession of first place in the
West Division with the win. The Mammoth also earned a home playoff date
for first since the 2008 season. Rochester fell to 5-7 and into third
place in the East.
Grant was playing his first game in Rochester since the Knighthawks traded him to Colorado following the 2010 season. Gavin Prout (2+7) and Jamie Lincoln (3+2) were also instrumental in the Colorado victory. Rochester also got solid efforts from Cory Vitarelli (3+2) and Stephen Keogh (2+2).
The contest got off to a quick start with Colorado striking for two goals in the opening 3:16. Sean Pollock scored just over a minute into the game and Mat MacLeod followed two minutes later. Rochester responded with two goals by Jamison to tie the game at two all. The second of Jamison's goals was scored while Rochester was a man down. The two teams then exchanged a pair of goals over the final minutes of the first, including goals by Minnesota's Prout and Rochester's Keogh in the final 20 seconds of the period.
In the second, Colorado would take control behind a solid defensive period and some timely offense. The Mammoth held Rochester scoreless for nearly 12 minutes, while scoring three goals to push out the biggest lead of the half at 7-4. Lincoln scored twice, and Dan Coates added another goal for Colorado in the rally. Rochester was finally able to break through at the 3:02 mark when Vitarelli scored the Hawks lone goal in the period. The Mammoth lead 7-5 at the half.
The second half started with some offensive fireworks as the two
teams combined for four goals in the opening five minutes. Unfortunately
for Rochester, three of the four were scored by Colorado, and the
Mammoth would extend to a 10-6 at the 10:07 mark. The final goal of the
mini-rally was scored by Grant Jr. on a power play. The goal was his
first of the evening after dishing out six helpers early in the game.
The Knighthawks would climb back in the game behind goals from Jamison
and Keogh that cut the lead back to two goals with four minutes
remaining. Colorado then responded scoring two of three to end the
period and took a 12-9 lead to the fourth.
In the final period Rochester roared back early, scoring three goals in a 1:05 stretch to tie the game at 12. Jamieson scored back to back goals off Vitarelli assists before Johnny Powless capped the rally with his first goal of the afternoon. However, that would be the last surge from the Hawks, as they went scoreless for the rest of the game. With Blue Cross Arena rocking, Colorado was unfazed, and calmly responded with four goals of their own over the next nine minutes to reassume control.
The game against Colorado was the first of three straight against the West Division. Rochester embarks on a home-and-home series with the West Division's Calgary Roughnecks. The two-game set begins on Friday, April 6th in Calgary at 9:00 p.m. The second contest shifts to Rochester on Saturday, April 14th at 7:30 p.m.