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POWLESS HAS OUTSTANDING PRESEASON SHOWING
12/09/2012 - 2:44am

By Carly Szydlowski -- With three goals and four assists, including a penalty shot game winner, Rochester Knighthawks forward Johnny Powless kicked off the preseason with a bang.  The Rochester Knighthawks faced the Minnesota Swarm on Saturday, December 8th at the Blue Cross Arena.  The arena was packed, full of Knighthawks fans cheering on the 2012 World Champions as they defeated the Swarm 11-10. (Photos by Larry Palumbo)

The Knighthawks fought hard together for the win over the Swarm, as the score became tied at a few points throughout game.  Powless played a huge role in the win and at the young age of 19, he is entering just his second season in the NLL after winning the Champion’s Cup with the Knighthawks as a rookie.

He was excited to be back out there on the turf stating, “It was a lot fun playing the game and I’m just glad to be back with the boys.”

Six minutes into the first quarter, Powless scored with assists from teammates Joe Walters and Mike Kirk.  This created a great tempo for the Knighthawks as they went on to score three unanswered goals.

However, as the game went on, the Knighthawks and the Swarm continually went back and forth, with Rochester taking the lead and then Minnesota catching up.  This was a pattern throughout the game and it ended up creating some pressure on the team late in the fourth quarter.

The Knighthawks were leading the Swarm 9-7 with ten minutes left in the fourth quarter and it seemed as though they had the game locked up, until the Swarm came fighting back.  With less than five minutes to go, the Swarm offense kicked into high gear and went on to score three goals in less than two minutes and took the lead to 10-9 over the Knighthawks.

Luckily, due to the composure of the team and diligent play calling and execution, Stephen Keogh answered with the game saving goal to tie it up with 2:30 left on the clock.  Then, a penalty called on Minnesota for an illegal substitution brought Powless into the spotlight. 

With the penalty being called on the Swarm with less than two minutes remaining, the Knighthawks chose Powless to take the penalty shot.  He had the chance to not only record a hat trick for the night, but to possibly score the game winning goal.

When asked about being chosen to represent his team Powless stated, “I didn’t necessarily feel like I had the team on my back because everybody chipped in throughout the game, but I was really nervous.”

After the ball hit the back of the net, both the Knighthawks bench and the crowd went wild; it was clear Powless never had a reason to be nervous.  After a resilient comeback by the Swarm late in the fourth quarter, everyone knew Powless had just saved the game.  The defense held up and the Knighthawks went on to defeat the Minnesota Swarm in their first appearance since winning the 2012 NLL Championship.

This is exactly how any forward in the National Lacrosse League would like to see their season start.  Although this was an exhibition game, the Rochester Knighthawks team looked like they had the chemistry they exerted in their 2012 playoff run.  Powless certainly had an outstanding presence with seven points (3+4) and it will be interesting to see what he does next week in their preseason game against their rivals, the Toronto Rock.

Powless is looking forward to figuring out the game plan for their second exhibition game against the Rock, which will be played in Montreal, “We have practice tomorrow, so we will talk to the coaches, touch up what we did today and figure out what we will do next week.”

The Rochester Knighthawks and the Toronto Rock will be facing off next Saturday, December 15th at 7:30 p.m. at the Bell Centre, which is the home of the Montreal Canadiens.  The Knighthawks will look to come away with another preseason win and carry the winning mentality into the regular season when they will begin on their journey to defend the cup.


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