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ROCHESTER RETURNS TO EAST DIVISON FINAL
05/03/2013 - 11:04am

(May 3, 2013)… The No. 2 Rochester Knighthawks (8-8) will host the No. 4 Minnesota Swarm (7-9) in the East Division Final at The Blue Cross Arena on Saturday, May 4th at 4:00 p.m.

Head-to-Head: The Knighthawks lead the all-time series 10-5 and have never faced the Swarm in the postseason. They have a 5-2 record against the Swarm at home. The two teams did not play against each other in 2013.

Been there, done that: The Knighthawks have advanced to the division finals for the 14th time in 19 seasons. They have a 7-6 record in the division finals, and are 3-0 in the round when playing at The Blue Cross Arena. Rochester has a 9-2 all-time record at home in the playoffs.

Last Game: Rochester defeated Philadelphia 10-8, and for the second consecutive year, knocked the Wings out of the postseason in the divisional semifinal round. Dan Dawson scored a game-high four goals and six points (4+2). Dawson scored twice in the first quarter as Rochester jumped out to a 3-0 lead. The Wings clawed back to tie the game at 4-4 with consecutive goals by Drew Westervelt, but Dawson scored two of his own to close the first half with a 6-4 lead. Philadelphia’s Kevin Crowley sandwiched a pair of goals around Rochester’s seventh goal, scored by Stephen Keogh. The Wings then tied the game at 7-7 with a goal from Brendan Mundorf 21 seconds into the fourth. The Knighthawks responded with three straight from Craig Point, Paul Dawson and Mike Accursi respectively for the lead and the win. Matt Vinc made 29 saves on 37 shots.

Third time’s a charm: Rochester goaltender and 2013 MVP Matt Vinc was named the NLL Goaltender of the Year for the third time in four seasons (2010, 2011 & 2013), becoming the only goalie to win the award three times in his career. Vinc set a new league record with 662 saves in a single season and led all starting netminders with a 10.17 goals-against average and a .803 save percentage in a career-high 955:29 minutes. He joined Dallas Eliuk as the only two goalies to lead the league in saves on four occasions and also became the first Rochester goalie to record over 600 saves in a season and a save percentage over .800.

Knighthawks notes: The Knighthawks are looking to become the first team to return to the championship game since Toronto and Washington each played in back-to-back Champion’s Cups in 2010 and 2011. Only once has Rochester reached the championship game two years in a row, losing to Toronto in 1999 and 2000. The last time Rochester won the East Division Final at home, they won the Champion’s Cup (2007). Dan Dawson has scored 110 career playoff points (43+67) in only 16 games played and is 5-0 in postseason games with four or more goals. Dawson’s teams have advanced to the postseason every year since 2005 and have won three out of four division finals. Matt Vinc has played two of his best postseason games in the division finals. In 2009, he allowed a playoff-low three goals on 44 shots to lead New York 9-3 over Buffalo. In 2012, he made a postseason-high 51 saves to guide the Knighthawks to a 17-13 win over Toronto, the franchise’s first ever playoff win in the Air Canada Centre.

Not camera shy: The Rochester Knighthawks are not afraid of playing in front of a camera. Over the last two seasons, they are 5-1 in games that have been televised on the CBS Sports Network, including a 3-0 record in 2013. They will play in front of the national viewing audience for the fourth time in five weeks on Saturday.

The following Knighthawks are nearing career milestones:
• Mike Accursi (94) five points away from surpassing John Grant, Jr. (98)  for fifth all-time in posteason points and is six points shy of 100th-career playoff point;
• Accursi (24) is one game away from tying Rich Kilgour and Jim Veltman for fourth all-time in postseason games played (25);
• Accursi (56) needs two goals to pass John Grant, Jr. (57) for third all-time in postseason goals;
• Dan Dawson (67) needs six assists to pass Colin Doyle (72) for second all-time in postseason assists.

Minnesota notes: The Swarm earned a spot in the East Division Final after crossing over from the West to replace Buffalo as the fourth seed and defeating Toronto 20-11 last Sunday. Five different Minnesota players scored three or more goals. The offense was led by Ryan Benesch (3+6), Shayne Jackson (4+3), Callum Crawford (0+7), Jordan MacIntosh (4+2), Kiel Matisz (3+3), Jay Card (2+2) and Josh Gillam (3+0). It was their third 20-goal game of the season. Tyler Carlson made 54 saves on 65 shots. The Swarm were 6-of-11 on the power play and MacIntosh won 72 percent of his faceoffs. They lost to Edmonton 15-3 in the West Division Final in 2012.

Next Game: The Champion’s Cup will be held on the weekend of May 10th-12th and will be hosted by the higher seeded team.


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