Despite their best defensive performance of the season and five points from Jeff Teat, the New York Riptide dropped a hard fought, physical contest 11-8 to the undefeated Rochester Knighthawks, falling to 0-4 on the season.
Callum Crawford recorded a hat trick and Larson Sundown recorded his third consecutive multi-goal game on offense, while Damon Edwards caused three turnovers and scooped 8 loose balls, and Steven Orleman made 40 saves. The Riptide killed off 6 of their 10 shorthanded opportunities and scored just twice on seven power play opportunities.
Connor Fields opened the scoring just over a minute in for Rochester, and after that, both teams struggled to find a rhythm with many turnovers and missed shots until Ryan Smith scored a power play goal with 7:09 left to make it 2-0. Sundown finally opened the scoring for the Riptide with 2:05 remaining in the first, finishing a backhanded dunk while on a delayed penalty while the Riptide were killing off a 4 minute power play, and just over a minute later, Reilly O’Connor tied the game from a tight angle after a feed from Teat, and the teams went to the break even at 2.
The Riptide were undisciplined in the second quarter, ultimately being shorthanded five times and conceding a penalty shot. Holden Cattoni scored on a 5-on-3, and Fields scored the next three goals of the game before Sundown got his second of the game to cut the deficit to 6-3, which would be the score as the teams headed to the locker room.
Coach Dan Ladouceur praised the penalty kill, saying “I thought our man down did a decent job against that kind of offense, the way they’ve been playing… with all those special teams, it would’ve been nice to play that game 5 on 5 and have a little more freedom.”
After a delay to start the second half due to an accidental fire alarm, Rochester scored first, but Crawford nabbed his first of the day with a power play tally right on the doorstep to make it 7-4. After a Ryland Rees goal, after the whistle antics resulted in a Riptide power play, which later became a 5-on-3 where Connor Kearnan got on the board. Matt Gilray scored for Rochester during a 4-on-4 in transition, and that would be the final goal of the period, with New York going into the fourth quarter trailing 9-5.
The Riptide came out hot with Crawford scoring his second of the game just 28 seconds into the fourth on a wraparound, and then completing the hat trick 23 seconds after that with a rocket from the point. However, Ryan Smith responded for the Knighthawks shortly after to once again make it a 3 goal lead, and Holden Cattoni scored a shorthanded goal with exactly seven minutes remaining. Kearnan pulled one back with his team-leading 7th goal of the season with 1:02 left, however, this would be the last goal of the game and the Riptide lost 11-8.
Despite the lack of scoring, Crawford felt that the offense played well and were unlucky to not finish their chances, saying “The process is working, the process is there, but you need the result to go with the process.”
The Riptide return to action Saturday, January 21 when they hit the road for the first time this season to face the rival Albany FireWolves. The game will be available to watch on MSGSN 2 and ESPN+, and listen to on WRHU 88.7 FM, WRHU.org and the WRHU iPhone App. Live stats and periodic in-game updates will be available via Twitter @NewYorkRiptide.