Thunder trounced early, late in 22-11 loss Rochester takes 4-0 lead, scores 8 of last 9 goals

March 23, 1997|By Steve Bradley | Steve Bradley,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- The Rochester Knighthawks didn't waste any time quashing the Baltimore Thunder's thin playoff hopes last night.

Rochester held Baltimore scoreless for more than 13 minutes while building an early four-goal lead en route to a record-breaking 22-11 victory over the Thunder in a Major Indoor Lacrosse League game played before 6,516 fans at the Rochester War Memorial.

The Knighthawks got eight goals and five assists from Paul Gait and six assists from goaltender Steve Dietrich as they silenced the Thunder with their transition game. Gait scored three goals in the fourth quarter as Rochester outscored the Thunder 8-1 to break the franchise record for goals in a game.

"We were on tonight," said Gait. "It was one of those games where we came mentally prepared. We all did."

Rochester also ruined Derek Collins' homecoming. Collins, a second-year goaltender who spent last season with the Knighthawks, allowed four goals on 10 shots before being replaced by J. J. Pearl at the 9: 08 mark of the first quarter.

Collins, the MILL's Player of the Month in February, entered the game with the league's second-best save percentage (75.72). Rochester (5-4) broke a two-game losing streak and stayed in the playoff chase with the win.

Bob Martino had four goals and two assists to lead the Thunder (2-7). Paul Cantabene and Tim Hormes each had two goals and two assists for Baltimore.

The Knighthawks used long outlet passes from Dietrich to generate scoring opportunities. The MILL's saves leader said he caught the Thunder off-guard.

"I've never thrown the ball much and I think Baltimore was playing a very conservative style and not expecting me to throw the ball," he said. "I can't throw very well, but any time I see Sudo [Tim Soudan], Driscy [Chris Driscoll] or Gator [Gait] hanging out around center, I'm going to launch the thing."

Rochester closed the second quarter with a 3-0 run and took a 9-4 lead at intermission after Jacobs scored from close range with four seconds left in the half.

The Knighthawks scored the first two goals of the second half to go in front 11-4 before the Thunder rattled off five straight goals in a 3: 33 span. Jeff Klodzen's power-play goal made it 11-9 at the 8: 25 mark.

Jacobs stopped the spurt with an unassisted goal at 9: 30. Glenn Norris cut the deficit to 12-10 at 10: 32 before Rochester snatched back the momentum. Dietrich stuffed Martino's breakaway attempt with three minutes left in the quarter and Driscoll scored a weak goal from long range eight seconds later to give the Knight-hawks back their three-goal cushion.

Driscoll scored a power-play goal with six seconds left in the quarter to put Rochester up 14-10 entering the final quarter.

Baltimore closes its season at Buffalo on Saturday.

NOTES: Gait's third goal gave him the Rochester record for points in a season with 53. Martino had his own cheering section after conducting a skills clinic for about 200 youths yesterday morning at his old high school, Canandaigua Academy, which is 25 miles from Rochester.

Pub Date: 3/23/97

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