Buffalo Bandits Hold Off Rochester Knighthawks
by Travis Larner | NLL.com
The Buffalo Bandits (5-3) defeated the Rochester Knighthawks (5-5) 11-8 on Saturday night at the HSBC Arena in Buffalo, NY.
Both teams displayed strong defense in the first quarter. Good goaltending from Buffalo's Mike Thompson and Rochester's Matt Vinc kept the game scoreless halfway through the period until Joe Walters gave the Knighthawks a 1-0 lead with a diving shot across the crease.
Brett Bucktooth tied the game shortly thereafter. The Bandits offense took multiple shots on Vinc, recovering the rebound again and again until Bucktooth's shot finally found the back of the net.
Mark Steenhuis gave Buffalo the lead with less than a minute left in the opening quarter. After his first shot was called back on a crease violation, the transition star beat Vinc with a jump shot over his left shoulder. The goal was reviewed for a crease violation, but the original call stood.
Buffalo extended the lead with two more unanswered goals within the first 50 seconds of the second quarter; seven seconds after Chad Culp scored, Roger Vyse netted a behind-the-back shot.
The reigning Transition Player of the Week, Rochester's Jordan Hall, cut the deficit to 4-2 on the power-play. Shortly thereafter, on Buffalo's first power-play, Bucktooth scored through the five-hole of Vinc.
The Bandits took a 5-3 lead into the locker room at the half following the Knighthawks' goal by former Buffalo forward Mike Accursi with 45 seconds remaining in the second quarter.
Rochester survived a 5-on-3 man advantage early in the third quarter, but Bucktooth completed his hat-trick early in the third quarter on the power-play after the first of the two penalties expired.
Knighthawks defenseman Troy Bonterre and Bandits forward Brandon Francis then dropped the gloves for a heavyweight bout. Both men, weighing in at over 250 pounds apiece, got tangled up for the first brawl of the night.
Down 6-3, Rochester went on a three goal run to tie the game. With three Buffalo defensemen collapsing on him, Scott Campbell netted his third goal of the season, followed by a deep shot from Cody Jamieson.
With the assist on Jamieson's goal, Shawn Williams surpassed longtime Knighthawk John Grant for the most assists in franchise history with 462.
The tying goal was eventually scored by Hall. Rochester nearly took the lead at the start of the fourth quarter when Sid Smith won the opening face-off and found Campbell open cutting toward the net. However, the call was reversed when Buffalo head coach Darris Kilgour challenged Campbell's potential goal and won.
The Bandits took control of the game with five goals in the final period. Brenden Thenhaus and Steenhuis would both score within the first minute of the quarter to take an 8-6 lead.
Rochester's leading scorers were Hall (3g, 3a), Accursi (1g, 4a), and Williams (5a).
The Bandits' offense was fueled by Bucktooth (3g, 1a), Steenhuis (2g, 3a), and Vyse (2g, 3a).
Next Saturday, March 12, Buffalo hosts the Boston Blazers at 7:30pm ET, while the Knighthawks are off until March 26 when they host the Philadelphia Wings at 7:35pm ET. Both games can be seen live on the NLL Network at NLL.com.