|Watch Full Game||Empire Leaders:||Goals – Babbitt, Kline (5)|
|Assists – Garvey, LeMar (3)|
|Blocks – Babbitt, R. Drost (4)|
With the roller coasters of Coney Island providing the back drop, New York earned its first win of the season on Sunday through a decisive 21-8 victory over Montreal. The Empire defense led the way in the rout, as the eight goals allowed tied a franchise record for the fewest allowed in a full game. Jeff Babbitt made a number of highlight-reel plays in racking up five goals and four blocks, while Ryan Drost had one goal, one assist, and four blocks of his own. Conor Kline quietly amassed five goals for the offense in limited time, as the offensive unit spent much of the day on the sideline.
Coming into the matchup, the big question was how Montreal would respond on the second day of its back-to-back road trip. The Royal had earned a thrilling comeback victory in double overtime against Philadelphia the night before, but that game did not end until approximately 9:15 pm, which left little time for the team to recover before the 1:00 pm start on Sunday.
At first, it looked as if the Royal would be able to make a game of it, as the combination of somewhat windy conditions and sloppy play by both teams led to only a 3-2 Empire lead after one quarter. Following a hold for each team to open the second quarter, New York registered the first break and upwind score of the game on a short dish from Matt LeMar to Josh Alorro. Montreal managed to hold on offense once more before New York rattled off three straight points to take control of the game heading into halftime up 8-4.
After halftime, New York quickly pushed the game out of reach by notching three straight scores, and putting in ten of the first eleven goals of the second half, including a buzzer beater to end the third quarter that Babbitt caught easily among a crowd of players. Montreal did not punch in its second goal of the half until there was 4:38 left in the final quarter, as they went scoreless for over 11 minutes. The dramatic but extended game that Montreal won the night before no doubt had made an impact, and New York kept the defensive pressure up for the entire game.
With the win, New York moved to 1-1 on the season, and into an early four-way tie atop the East Division with D.C., Toronto, and Montreal.
-Six Empire players made their 2017 season debut: Josh Alorro, Tyler Haskell, Pete Kalmakis, Tim Kominos, Sam Little, and Jake Price. Alorro and Kominos played with New York in 2016, while the other four players were making their Empire debuts.
-New York was without three offensive starters from last year due to injury (Sean Keegan, Chris Kocher, and Kevin Norton), while also missing newcomer Ben Jagt due to college season commitments.