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01-12-2018, 12:30 AM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- The Rochester Knighthawks are the National Lacrosse Leagues newest dynasty. Craig Point scored twice to lift the Knighthawks to a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Roughnecks in a 10-minute minigame after they had forced an extra session by winning Game 2 of the home-and-home set 16-10 in the Champions Cup final Saturday. The victory makes Rochester the first team to win three consecutive titles in the 28 years of indoor pro lacrosse. "This team has come a long way," said Point. "(General manager) Curt (Styres) has built this team for so long. "Weve been together as a family for three or four years now. Its such a good feeling, just awesome, to win three in a row." Joe Walters also scored for the Knighthawks after Shawn Evans and Curtis Dickson had staked the Roughnecks to a 2-0 lead in the minigame. "We just tried to keep our composure," Point said of the two-goal hole. "Everyone knew what they had to do. Our defence had to play strong and our offence had to keep moving the ball and moving our feet. It paid off. The openings came and we capitalized on them." Rochester improved to 11-0 at home since its last playoff loss in Blue Cross Arena, way back in 2004. Evans beat goaltender Matt Vinc from in close at 2:42, Curtis Dickson made it 2-0 with an underhand rocket while running across the middle of the zone at 4:40 and, after Calgary survived a penalty against Curtis Manning, Point scored for Rochester at 7:46. Most of the 9,188 fans were on their feet shouting for a tying goal, and Walters delivered. He sped across the middle of the zone and whipped a sidearm shot that goalie Mike Poulin got a piece of but could not stop from dribbling over the goal-line at 8:37. "If I took my shirt off, itd probably be wringing wet," Styres said of the minigame. Point scored with a bounce shot what would stand as the winning goal at 9:01. "All game, the coaches were saying, Go high, put it low, and thats what I did and sure enough it went in," Point said of the biggest goal of his career. Dan Dawson had a goal disallowed with 46 seconds left but the Knighthawks didnt need it -- not after Vinc made two scintillating saves in the dying seconds. "We never once panicked," said Rochester coach Mike Hasen. "We knew wed get our opportunities and we snuck er out." Vinc lauded Points heroics that decided the championship. "Hes one of those guys who has a knack around the net," said Vinc. "Hes a pure goal scorer. You cant give him time and room. He stepped up huge." Calgary had won Game 1 by a 10-7 count at home the previous Saturday to kick off the new format. "Weve got nothing to be ashamed of," said Calgary coach Curt Malawsky after Rochester players were presented with the Champions Cup. "Our guys battled. They competed hard. Rochester was better than we were in Game 2 and the minigame could have gone either way. We were two minutes and 14 seconds away from being successful. Its a tough pill to swallow." In Game 2, Dan Dawson, Cody Jamieson and Stephen Keogh scored three goals each, Cory Vitarelli got two and Walters, Paul Dawson, Scott Self, Jon Sullivan and Point had one each for Rochester. Dickson and Jeff Shattler scored three each and Evans, Dane Dobbie, Daryl Veltman and Scott Ranger added one each for Calgary. Dan Dawsons absence due to a concussion was a contributing factor in the Game 1 loss in Calgary and the return of one the sports premier playmakers injected much-needed oomph into the offence. He didnt get a doctors OK to play until just before game time. "I couldnt get cleared for the first game and it was heartbreaking," said Dawson. "I pushed it and thank God weve got an amazing training staff and doctors who got me ready for this game." With Dawson back in the lineup, Styres was optimistic. "It was a relief," said Styres. The Roughnecks also jumped to a 2-0 lead in the full game, but the score was tied at three after one quarter. Calgary went up 6-4 but Rochester led 7-6 at halftime. Knighthawks defenceman Paul Dawson meanwhile was doing an effective job on Dobbie. The lefty was a 51-goal scorer during the regular season and had 11 more in the playoffs coming in but he wasnt getting many possessions with Dawson constantly on his right shoulder. Vitarelli, with a sensational over-the-back goal, and Paul Dawson, with an end-to-end run, struck early in the third quarter. The Knighthawks kept the pressure on, even while down a man, to get their sixth straight goal. Self made it 10-6 when he intercepted a Veltman pass in his own end while killing a penalty and ran the floor to beat Poulin on a breakaway. Calgary ended Rochesters run by scoring three times in the last five minutes of the third quarter to edge within 10-9 but Rochester went on another run to ensure the win and force the minigame. "We just werent able to seal the deal on the defensive end," Roughnecks captain Andrew McBride said after his team allowed the final three goals of the NLL season. "Its tough to swallow that one," said Evans. "A couple of bounces didnt go our way and we didnt capitalize on power plays. "When all is said and done, we played hard to the end. Unfortunately, we came up one goal short. Its tough." NOTES: Rochester had an 11-9 edge in shots on goal in the minigame, while Calgary had a 48-46 shots edge in the full game . . . Rochester finished 2014 with a 12-1 home record . . . All of Rochesters players except Walters and backup goalie Angus Goodleaf are from Ontario . . . Calgary faceoff specialist Geoff Snider remained out. Also deleted were Tor Reinholdt and Matthew Dinsdale . . . Rochester scratched Joel McCready, Jamie Batson and Derek Hopcroft . . . Hasen and Malawsky were teammates in Rochester from 1999 through 2003. 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If he has a good week he may play for Stoke next weekend, but this one is too soon for him.Meanwhile, Gareth Bale has called on Wales to be strong at home during the World Cup qualifying campaign, starting against Georgia. Gareth Bale scored twice in Wales 4-0 win over Moldova in their opening Group D fixture I think it is another big game, said the Real Madrid forward. It is the old cliche again of we are taking it one game at a time, but that is the way we have been approaching things in the past, and that is how we will continue to do it.It is a massive game for us tomorrow and our home form is going to be key to us qualifying. Watch NOW TV Watch Sky Sports for just £6.99. No contract. Wales are currently top of World Cup European Qualifying Group D after a 4-0 victory over Moldova and Thursdays 2-2 draw in Austria. Georgia sit fifth after defeats to Austria and the Republic of Ireland. Injury newsAs previously mentioned, Wales will be without Allen and he joins long-term absentee Aaron Ramsey on the treatment table. Wales head coach Chris Coleman is looking to guide his team to their second win in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup StatsWales have lost all three of their previous international clashes with Georgia, scoring just one goal and conceding eight.ddddddddddddThis will be the first meeting between the two nations since August 2008 where Georgia ran out 2-1 winners in a friendly.Wales have lost only one of their last 11 internationals played at home (W6 D4). 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