Friday night the Buffalo Bandits (9-2) defeated the Rochester Knighthawks (2-7) 16-9 and took the I-90 season series 2-1 in front of 6,672 fans at Connor & Ferris Field at The Blue Cross Arena. This was a night dedicated to the first season of Knighthawks’ lacrosse and about a dozen members of the 1995 team where in attendance.
Rochester would get the crowd going early with some early opportunities, but once a friend, now a foe Matt Vinc came up huge to keep the game scoreless in the very early stages until Austin Shanks would get the Knighthawks on the board with his first of the night. Coming into the game Shanks had scored 17 of his 25 points on home soil.
But Thomas Hogarth got the Bandits going by scoring his only two goals of the game just 1:40 apart, one being on the power play. Those goals were part of a five-goal run for the Bandits as they looked to put the game away early.
Rochester would go on their own four-goal run to tie the game, with two of the goals coming from defenders Graeme Hossack and Scott Campbell. But Jordan Durston would score his lone goal of the game and give Buffalo a 6-5 lead at the half. Buffalo’s defense kept Rochester off the board for 16:39 in the first half.
When the second half started it seemed only one team came out of the locker room. The Bandits outscored the Knighthawks 10-4 in the final 30 minutes. After exchanging goals to start the third quarter, the Bandits scored three time in 1:19 on their way to four straight to increase their lead 12-7. The fourth quarter was pretty much the same with Buffalo using a three-goal spree to increase the lead further.
The story in the fourth was not just the 41 minutes in penalties both teams combined for (including three roughing majors and a game misconduct) but also the Bandit’s defense which shut Rochester down for 15:44 of the second half. It showed the Buffalo-Rochester rivalry over the last 25 years is still as strong as ever.
The Bandits went 4/9 on the power-play, and when shorthanded they didn’t allow Rochester to capitalize on the opportunity.
Dhane Smith (2G/7A), Chase Fraser (4G/2A), Corey Small (2G/5A), Shawn Evans (3G/3A) and Chris Cloutier (2G/4A), playing in his second game with Buffalo, were all huge for the Bandits’ offense. Matt Vinc stopped 45 of 54 shots for the win.
Cody Jamieson (1G/4A) and Austin Shanks (2G/1A) led Rochester’s offense.
Rochester is back in action Saturday March 2nd when they visit the Georgia Swarm. Buffalo has a bye week as they prepare to visit Philadelphia on March 8th and then return home for the Georgia Swarm on March 9th.