NLL: Teat’s hat trick not enough as Riptide fall to Knighthawks 13-12

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Nobody expected it to take long, and it didn’t. Just four-and-a-half minutes into the first quarter, Jeff Teat made his mark on the National Lacrosse League. Teat was checked to the floor, held onto the ball as he got up and got around a defender before putting a jump shot into the net.

“I got a great up-seal, went underneath, almost fell, but you just have to keep going,” Teat said. “Thankfully, I just had enough momentum.”

Unfortunately, Teat’s eventual hat trick wasn’t enough for the New York Riptide, who fell 13-12 in overtime to the visiting Rochester Knighthawks on Saturday night at Nassau Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum on Long Island.

It was Thomas Hoggarth who spoiled Teat’s big debut, just 1:30 into the extra frame. It was a nice passing play, with Shawn Evans passing to Holden Cattoni, who passed to Hoggarth who snuck a shot right up the middle and past Gowah Abrams.

After Teat opened the scoring in the first, things picked up, and just three minutes later the score was tied 2-2. Goals from Shawn Evans and Ryland Rees had Rochester up 4-2 after the first quarter.

Scott Dominey kicked things off in the second with a bang. Panther City took Dominey from Toronto in the expansion draft, but then flipped him to New York for Dawson Theede. New York won that trade hands down; Dominey is one of the most exciting young players in the league, routinely scoring big highlight-reel transition goals for the Rock in 2019-20.

On this play, he finished off a three-on-one break, burying Bryce Tolmie’s pass past Evan Kirk.

Callum Crawford tied things at four with his first in a Riptide uniform, before the Knighthawks went on a three-goal run. Tyson Gibson and Jake Fox cut the deficit to 7-6 before the half ended.

Things stayed even in the third with each team scoring twice. Crawford tied the game at seven. Charlie Bertrand and Cory Highfield then sandwiched Dominey’s second marker, which has to be an early contender for the goal of the year.

Dominey scooped a loose ball at centre, pulled up short to leap over a defender, and with nary a look whipped a behind-the-back shot into the goal. It was the NLL’s most-viewed goal on Instagram during a night that boasted six different games.

Shawn Evans and Bertrand, with his second, extended Rochester’s lead to 11-8. Connor Kearnan and Teat, bouncing a shot five-hole, brought the Riptide back within a goal again. Thomas Hoggarth scored for Rochester, but Teat and Kearnan each scored again, late. Kearnan’s tying goal came after he dove to pot Crawford’s behind-the-back flip pass with just 2.7 seconds left.

Holden Cattoni led the Knighthawks with three goals and four assists. Thomas Hoggarth (3G), Shawn Evans (2G/5A), Charlie Bertrand (2G) and Turner Evans (1G/3A) were the offensive leaders in the game.

In addition to his three goals, Teat assisted on four others. Connor Kearnan finished with a hat trick, while Callum Crawford had a pair of goals and three assists.

It was a low-shooting game considering the number of snipers on each team. Abrams made 18 saves on 31 shots while Kirk made 24 saves on 36 shots.

As an expansion franchise in 19-20, the Riptide struggled to get wins before the season was cut short. They haven’t even had a full season on Long Island yet, but they already show great promise. Adding Callum Crawford and Connor Kearnan was a stroke of genius, drafting Jeff Teat was both lucky and strategic, and assembling a talented coaching staff and solid contributors at every position should have fans feeling hopeful this season.

This week, New York will travel to Philadelphia to face the Wings on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. before hosting Georgia on Sunday at 3 p.m. Rochester hosts Buffalo on Saturday at 7 p.m.