Bandits Hold On To Stay Perfect On The Season

Gary Groob
Lax Philly  – A Division of Edge of Philly Sports Network

The Rochester Knighthawks (2-5) looked to take down the undefeated Buffalo Bandits (6-0) in an Eastern Conference showdown at KeyBank Center.  Buffalo has outscored it’s opponents in every quarter except for the second this season. The Bandits also lead the NLL with 19 first-quarter goals. Rochester, meanwhile, has played it’s best lacrosse in the second quarter during which the Knighthawks have outscored the opposition by a 20-11 margin. Entering this game, both teams rank among the top five in shots and are currently averaging just over 52 shots per game. Additionally, both teams are unbeaten this season when leading after three quarters, including a perfect 3-0 mark for Buffalo at home and 2-0 record for Rochester when on the road.

The goalie match-up had Matt Vinc in the cage for the Bandits, and Rylan Hartley in net for the Knighthawks.

Buffalo out played Rochester throughout most of the game, but a strong fourth quarter made the game interesting.   Buffalo was able to hang on for the 11-8 win. 

To The Game…

The Bandits opened the scoring on a delayed penalty, where Tehoka Nanticoke put a shot behind the net, Kyle Buchanan (2g,2a) picked up the loose ball and dove from behind to put it in at 3:24.  Chris Cloutier (1g,2a) then increased the lead off a Dhane Smith pass 0:31 seconds later, followed by a Dhane Smith (4g,3a) goal only 0:33 seconds after that. 

The Bandits sent wave after wave of offense throughout the quarter.  If not for the stellar goaltending of Rylan Hartley, this game could’ve been a blowout early.

The Bandits increased their lead to 4-0 when Matt Spanger caught a speeding Dhane Smith with a long lead pass, who made no mistake on the finish at 8:49.  Rochester finally got on the board at when Ryland Rees (1g,0a) scored off a Shawn Evans pass at 9:16, but Dhane Smith scored his third of the quarter off a Kyle Buchanan pass at 12:44 to increase the Bandits lead to four once again.

After one quarter, Buffalo 5 Rochester 1.

Second Quarter:

Tehoka Nanticoke (1g,3a) opened the second quarter scoring shorthanded off a Dhane Smith pass at 4:11, but Curtis Knight (3g,3a) got one back for the Knighthawks when he converted a Mike Burke pass high to low at 5:00 narrowing the score to 6-2.  Kyle Buchanan then fed Chase Fraser (1g,0a), who blasted a shot top corner at 6:40, but Shawn Evans (2g,4a) converted a Curtis Knight pass at 8:09, making the score 7-3 for the Bandits. 

*Of note that goal was Shawn Evans 450th of his storied career.*

Buffalo thought they had scored again when  Connor Fields raced in for a rebound, made a few small fakes and shot the ball over Hartley’s shoulder at 10:55.  The Knighthawks challenged the play, and after a short review it was deemed that Fields toe was in the crease overturning the goal. 

Shawn Evans brought the Knighthawks within three goals when on the power play he fired a shot from the outside beating Matt Vinc at 12:37. 

At the half, Buffalo 7 Rochester 4.

Photo courtesy of NLL on Instagram

Third Quarter:

Kyle Buchanan opened the third quarter scoring increasing the Bandits lead to four when he converted a Chris Cloutier pass at 3:26.  Josh Byrne (2g,1a) added to the Buffalo lead scoring off a Tehoka Nanticoke pass at 7:06, followed by Dhane Smith with his fourth of the night shorthanded at 8:26. 

After three quarters, Buffalo 10 Rochester 4.

4th Quarter:

The Knighthawks opened the fourth with three quick goals.   Curtis Knight scored from the outside at 1:20, followed by Holdan Cattoni (1g,0a) just 0:13 seconds later.  Curtis Knight scored again on the power play at 4:19 narrowing the Buffalo lead to 10-7.  Mike Burke (1g,1a) narrowed the lead even further when he converted a Shawn Evans pass at 8:38. 

The Bandits stopped the Knighthawks four goal run when Josh Byrne converted a Connor Fields pass at 10:45, and that’s how it ended.

Final score, Buffalo 11 Rochester 8.

Photo courtesy of NLL on Instagram

The Three Stars:

1. Dhane Smith
2. Kyle Buchanan
3. Curtis Knight

  • Shots on goal 59-46 in favor of Buffalo.
  • Rochester won the faceoff battle 14-9.
  • The Knighthawks went 2 for 9 on the power play.
  • Buffalo went 0 for 7 on the power play, but scored 2 shorthanded goals.

Top Scorers:

Rochester:

  • Curtis Knight  3g, 3a
  • Shawn Evans 2g, 4a
  • Turner Evans 0g, 3a

Buffalo:

  • Dhane Smith 4g, 3a
  • Kevin Buchanan 2g, 2a
  • Tehoka Nanticoke 1g, 3a

Rochester’s next game is at home vs. the  Albany FireWolves, Saturday February 12th at 7pm.

Buffalo’s next game is Saturday February 12th at 5pm vs. the Toronto Rock at the First Ontario Centre in Hamilton, Ontario.

Gary Groob
Gary Groob

Gary Groob has been involved with Lacrosse for the majority of his life, whether playing, coaching, or covering the sport for the media.

An avid fan, with a real drive about helping to “grow the game”, Gary became part of podcasts about the game 10 years ago. Through the podcasts, Mr. Groob had an opportunity to write about lacrosse, and the rest as they say, is history.

Through many miles (flying and driving) Gary has made inroads with the National Lacrosse League, Major Series Lacrosse League, the Ontario Lacrosse Association, as well as the Arena Lacrosse League, covering the leagues, their teams, and players, working for, and in concert with all of them.

In the year 2020, Mr. Groob was made the media person for the Arena Lacrosse League, voted onto the board of directors of the Brampton Excelsiors Lacrosse Club, as well as being made administrator of the Lacrosse page “Global Lacrosse” with a membership of 9000 members in over 90 Countries. Gary was also made an administrator of Lacrosse History Past Present and Future in 2022.

Mr. Groob co-hosts a weekly Lacrosse show on Spanglish Sports World, and ZingoTV channel 250, as well as writes a weekly lacrosse column for La Portada Canada News (both in print, and online).

Mr. Groob also hosts a Lacrosse talk show and podcast for The Edge of Philly Sports Network, seen live Sunday nights at 9pm (ET), and archived on the Edge of Philly YouTube page, as well as Spotify.

Mr. Groob’s other sports interests include Hockey, Football, Boxing, Wrestling, and Baseball, competing competitively in Boxing and Wrestling for many years.

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