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01/07/2014 - 5:21pm

By Travis Larner - (January 7, 2014)... Since their inception into the Major Indoor Lacrosse League in 1995, the Rochester Knighthawks have found a formidable foe in the Philadelphia Wings. Twenty years of lacrosse battles have created a historical rivalry between the two East Division opponents.
The Knighthawks’ 20th anniversary season will continue when they renew that rivalry with the Wings on Saturday, January 11th at The Blue Cross Arena at 7:30 p.m. ET. It will be the 45th regular season meeting between the two franchises. Rochester leads the all-time series 28-16.
Heading into this weekend’s matchup, the Knighthawks are 13-1 against the Wings – including the postseason – dating back to the 2009 season. Rochester had won 11 straight games until the Wings snapped the streak with a 10-8 victory on February 23, 2013.
Despite the recent success, the Knighthawks did not fare well when the rivalry began. On January 20, 1995, Gary Gait and the Wings edged twin brother Paul Gait and the Knighthawks, 18-17, in Rochester’s first loss. It was also the first time the Syracuse University standouts played against each other in the MILL. Paul was named the Championship Game MVP the year prior as a Wing.
Then in the 1995 title game, Rochester blew an 8-4 halftime advantage and lost 15-14 in overtime. Gary (6+1) netted the game-winner 51 seconds into the sudden-death period with his sixth goal of the game, besting Paul by one (5+3).
Although Philly got the best of the K-hawks in 1995, three of Rochester’s four championship seasons have gone through the Wings. In 1997, 2012 and 2013, the Knighthawks had to defeat Philadelphia in the first round of the playoffs en route to their championships.
The franchise’s all-time leading scorer, John Grant Jr., also found success against the Wings. On February 18, 2005, Grant set the Knighthawks’ record for goals in a single game with nine. He needed all of those goals; Grant’s ninth came 1:15 into overtime to give his team a 14-13 victory.
In recent years, scoring has not been a problem for the Knighthawks against the Wings. Rochester’s last three games with 20 or more goals have come against Philadelphia. On February 8, 2013, Dan Dawson paced the Knighthawks with 11 points (4+7) versus his former team. On January 14, 2012, Mike Accursi tied his career-high with 10 points (3+7) in a 22-12 win, and on March 29, 2008, it was Grant’s eight points (4+4) that led the Knighthawks over the Wings, 20-12.
Saturday’s contest will be the first of three head-to-head match-ups with the Wings in 2014. It is also Hall of Fame Night, and team founder Steve Donner will be introduced as the 12th member of the Knighthawks Hall of Fame. On the night the Class of 2010 was inducted – the class which included Paul Gait – Rochester defeated Philadelphia, 15-12.
Tickets for the January 11th game are available and can be purchased by calling the Knighthawks office at (585) 454-4295. 

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