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Game 8 Preview: Albany FireWolves vs Rochester Knighthawks

Despite the FireWolves’ three-game win streak coming to a halt, the team split last weekend’s doubleheader against the Georgia Swarm with each team winning on their own turf.  Albany is coming into the game seeking revenge after Rochester spoiled their home debut, 16-7, back in December.  The game will be on Saturday, February 12, at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester.  For full coverage, fans can tune into on My4 WNYT and ESPN Plus to watch, or 104.5 The Team ESPN Radio to listen.

The Knighthawks took it to the FireWolves in the prior matchup, marking one of their two wins so far on the season.  Coming into the weekend with a 2-5 record, Rochester currently sits in seventh place in the Eastern Division, two games behind Albany.  Since the previous matchup, Albany has acquired Ryan Benesch on offense and returned some key pieces on defense.  Rochester is coming off an 11-8 loss to the Buffalo Bandits last Saturday.

FireWolves Players to Watch:

Tony Malcom has been seemingly everywhere for the FireWolves through the team’s first seven games.  The transition man truly makes an impact on both ends of the floor and has been a key piece in Albany’s gameplan thus far.  Over the weekend doubleheader, Malcom added one goal and one assist.  His goal came on Saturday night late in the fourth quarter, essentially icing the game as the FireWolves took game two of the weekend series.  He may not light up the stat sheet every week, but his ability to push the ball in transition is unparalleled.  Look for Malcom to aggressively seek opportunities following defensive stands and create quality offensive transitions.  In the prior meeting versus the Knighthawks this season, Malcom logged two points on one goal and one assist.

Adrian Sorichetti was a massive, yet still underrated pickup for the FireWolves this offseason.  The defender is coming off a solid weekend, tallying five loose balls, two caused turnovers, and two blocked shots.  He also worked his way into an offensive role for the FireWolves, adding one goal and two assists in the two games against Georgia.  Look for Sorichetti to continue to be a menace on defense, but also continue to gradually contribute to the FireWolves offense.  The three-time NLL champion brings leadership and utility to the team, which is much needed as they look to avenge an early season loss to their inner-state foes.  In the first meeting on the season, Sorichetti blocked three Knighthawks shots.

Tanner Thomson is a name that might fly under the radar slightly due to the firepower on Albany’s offense, but don’t sleep on the young forward.  Thomson is coming off a two goal, one assist doubleheader, including capitalizing on two power play opportunities last Saturday night.  On the season, he has seven total points on three goals and four assists in just five games played.  In the earlier meeting against Rochester, Thomson added one assist, but expect him to play a more prominent role in the FireWolves offense in this weekend’s rematch.

Opposing Players to Watch:

Shawn Evans enters this matchup following a six-point performance in Rochester’s most recent game last weekend.  The forward leads the team with 30 total points on the season and also with 23 assists.  He has been a master at setting up his teammates with four of his assists on the season coming in the first matchup against the FireWolves back in December.  The Knighthawks have a host of players who can score, and Evans will be the primary guy to find them.  Lookout for Evans to setup teammates with open looks all night and do not be surprised to see him score a goal of his own either.

Holden Cattoni is a guy who the FireWolves simply could not stop in the last meeting between the two teams.  His four goals and five assist performance was by far his best game to date this season, and his 28 total points rank him third on the Knighthawks.  It seemed like every time Cattoni had the ball in his stick, Rochester was getting a quality shot on net, something that the FireWolves must shut down in this rematch.  Cattoni was held in check with just one goal and one assist in last weekend’s loss to Buffalo, but make no mistake about it, he is someone that the Albany defense must key in on in this one.

Goaltender Ryan Hartley was one half of the viral entertainment from the game between the teams back in December, meeting FireWolves backup goaltender, Ethan Woods, at midfloor to throw hands. Despite a 1-4 record for the goalie on the season, he is allowing just 10.92 goals per game with a .805 save percentage. Those numbers are definitely good enough to help keep the Knighthawks in any game and he can pose a challenge to the FireWolves offensive unit. Though Rochester lost last weekend to Buffalo, Hartley turned in a solid performance, allowing just 11 goals and making 48 saves. In the last meeting against Albany, he held the FireWolves to just seven goals in the contest.

This will be the final time the two teams meet in the regular season as Albany looks to even the score and avenge their 16-7 defeat from earlier in the year.

Fans can secure their tickets for any of the 2021-22 FireWolves games today!  For more information regarding tickets, visit www.AlbanyFireWolves.com or call/text the FireWolves front office at 518-362-4900.

The Albany FireWolves 2021-22 Inaugural Season is presented by CDPHP.

About Albany FireWolves

The Albany FireWolves is the Capital Region’s very own Professional Box Lacrosse team, playing in the National Lacrosse League out of the MVP Arena in downtown Albany, NY. For more information, contact the Albany FireWolves Front Office at (518) 362-4900 or visit AlbanyFireWolves.com

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